Last dip into irreverence before I’m slapped full-on in the face by football season …
So I’m strolling through the aisles at Hollywood Video about a week ago and I’ve got three movies picked out — which does me absolutely no good because the deal at HV is that you get 2 for $2 — which means it will do me absolutely no good to rent three movies. Sure I’ll get the first two at a buck apiece, but then they’ll stick me for three bucks on the third one. It’s asinine to not rent in pairs. So I’m like … comedy? No, I want an action movie. And as soon as I walk into the Action Section there’s Keanu and Patrick just, like, staring at me, saying “RENT ME, BRO!” and of course I do, because the movie is directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who just made The Hurt Locker, which I think is gonna get a best picture Oscar nomination. But I digress.
About halfway through the first screening of Point Break (yes, I watched it more than once) I realized I was watching one of the greatest sports movies of all time, and that I’d seen it so many times (another movie my Uncle Kevin took me to as a youngster) and never realized what I was watching. You may have watched it many, many times before like I have and not realized this — and you’re welcome for me bringing it to your attention — because it operates on so many different, kick-ass levels. And here’s something to consider — Matthew Broderick turned down the Keanu role and Johnny Depp auditioned for it but got turned down. Could’ve been a completely different movie. Worse if Broderick had taken the part and as far as Depp … I’m sure it would have been just as good.
First, there’s the surfing. This, at its base, makes PB a sports movie because surfing is one of the movie’s central themes. There’s five or six great scenes of them on the waves. Then there’s Keanu’s character — Johnny Utah — a former Rose Bowl-winning quarterback at Ohio State who got hurt in his final game, a win over USC, and had to settle for a career as a hotshot FBI agent (“My knee got bent back 90 degrees the wrong way. Two years of surgery. Missed my window.”) That football scene on the beach where Keanu has to throw the ball — he trained with the UCLA quarterback coaches — is pure testosterone. When Johnny Utah tracks down Bodhi (Swayze) and tackles him into the water … man! (Don’t you know who this is, Roach? This is Johnny Utah, quarterback for Ohio State)
And then there’s Bodhi. Swayze at his best. He’s an extreme-sports icon before they were really labeled extreme sports. He surfs. He skydives. He plays football on the beach. Then he enlightens. Pure joy to watch, no doubt.
And hey, you don’t have to believe me, go rent the movie for yourself. You’ll see. Go to HV and rent 2 it’ll only cost you a buck.
How does it rank in my best sports movies of all-time? Here you go: 1. North Dallas Forty 2. Point Break 3. Bull Durham 4. He Got Game 5. Caddyshack.