Dane Reynolds’ Loaded is magnificent, and rights all sorts of wrongs from Slow Dance, Dane’s last movie. If you can still catch it on MLP’s website, do it, if not, buy it in whatever form the film takes when it’s made available. Loaded is what surf movies should be and what they largely used to be, a refreshing change from the overly-wrought art house pieces we’ve come to expect from top-flight surf filmmakers over the last decade or so. It gets everything right. Let this list of things you should know about Loaded convince you:
1) It’s blessed with a wonderful cast of surfers. Dane, obviously, but also Taylor Knox (!), Andrew Doheny, Nat Young, Craig Anderson, and Noa Deane. Dane and T. Knox are the stars, as they should be in every surf movie for the rest of time.
2) It starts with Taylor Knox. This was a great idea. His rail work sets the foundation for the entire 23-minute film, and gets you amped right from the get-go.
3) Great, great music. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d hear Radiohead’s “Fitter Happier” computer-voiced narrator laid over a surf segment, but it works, without being morose or navel-gazing. Probably because it’s sandwiched between tracks from Black Flag, Alex Chilton, and loopy electronica.
4) Real-time footage. 99 percent of the shots are in regular-life speed, with maybe two waves in slo-mo. Thank you Dane.
5) The surfing, with the exception of the last segment at Cloudbreak, is in good waves, but they’re also normal waves. The kinds of waves you’ve probably surfed this winter a few times. Indo is great and all, but Christ it’s boring. I want to watch surfing I can relate to, and that counts out boat trips.
6) You forgot how good Dane surfs. We all did, I think. His relevancy seems to be slipping away, but who cares? Remember when it became almost general consensus that he was the Best Surfer on Earth? Then Kelly won another tittle, John John came into his own, and we kinda felt weird about bestowing Dane with that status? Don’t feel weird about it. He’s the best. Without question.
7) Dane needs a new kind of surfboard. I don’t even know what it would look like, but he turns so hard that his boards almost seem like impediments to his progress.
8) There is a Taylor Knox air segment. How great is that? He doesn’t land any.
9) In a couple years, we’ll all be using full-deck traction again. Like Droid.
10) Loaded will make you go surfing. I had so much work to do this morning. But by the time the movie was over I had my wetsuit halfway on and was out the door. Sorry, boss.