opinion

I Want the Fun Back

Attention surf movie auteurs: watch Metal Neck and learn

| posted on August 15, 2013
Unserious poolside fun with Metal Jimmy.

Unserious poolside fun with Metal Jimmy.

Remember surf movies in the ‘90s? The golden age for surf videos on the small screen. Yes, yes, of course, Taylor Steele’s Poor Specimen empire rose to dominance in celluloid’s last-gasp decade, but as well-done as Steele’s movies were, I don’t remember watching them all that often. But I absolutely destroyed my VHS tapes from the …Lost crew by watching and rewinding On The Road With Spike over and over and over again. Josh Pomer’s The Kill series made me want to move to Santa Cruz. And Jesse Schluntz’s TearDevils trilogy inspired more desperate afternoon blown-out surf sessions in my life than any other movie ever made. The performance level of the surfing in these lo-fi schlockfests was typically nowhere near what the New School was pulling off in Steele’s Momentum-era work—but so what? These movies made me laugh, they had great soundtracks, and they made surfing look so damn fun.

I hadn’t realized how much I missed movies like that until I watched Metal Neck. Filmed by Matt Tromberg and featuring Droid, Creed McTaggart, Ford Archbold, and “Metal” Jimmy Pitts, Metal Neck is a refreshing dip into the waters of not giving a fuck. It is a salve for the pain of enduring overwrought surf “films” that are often artistically interesting, I guess, but are an absolute chore to watch. Metal Neck offers no slow-mo shots of twisting aerials. A delightful dearth of single maneuver rapid-fire cut scenes. No pensive stares out of an airplane window. No lengthy voiceovers pondering the meaning of surfing, or art, or travel, or anything. This is how it should be. I don’t want to be questioning the meaning of anything at all while enjoying a surf movie. I do, however, want to watch a fat, drunk Metal Jimmy twirling fire sticks on the beach. I don’t need more French pop on surf movie soundtracks. I do need more Pink Floyd, Devo, and Twisted Sister. And more Droid. I need more of Droid’s surfing in my life. Metal Neck, God bless it, provides.

Now then, surf filmmakers, watch Metal Neck. Better yet, watch TearDevils, take notes, and remember: surf movies are supposed to be fun. They are supposed to make the viewer want to surf. I like that Ford Archbold probably wouldn’t make it out of a ‘QS heat. His surfing is interesting, it’s certainly unique, and it’s something I can relate to. Watching a surf movie and thinking to yourself, “Hey, I think I could do that turn—that could be me,” and, “Hey, that looks like the beach down the street,” is pretty damn cool. There’s a reason, after all, that amateur porn is so popular. Surf porn could use a bit more amateurism every once in a while too.

Surfing—and by extension, surf movies—has the tendency to take itself way too seriously. I’m bored of serious. Give me Ozzy Osbourne cameos, milk vomiting, and Metal Jimmy. Give me relatable surfing. Metal on the soundtrack is awesome. Pranks are heartily welcomed. Give me back the fun.

  • d

    lol straight shot at “slow dance” with the voiceover comment…. mctaggart can ride a barrel but ford archbold is a jOKE

  • http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lposz3cocr1qep8ay.gif gannysesh

    Sweet. Will watch.

    The Kill movies, though, were biting Poor Specimen pretty hard. Each one seemed to come out six months after a Momentum movie, and (in addition to all the great SC footage) looked like b-roll Steele footage, and used the exact same format.

    How about Above and Beyond, by Tony Roberts?

    And the Alexis Usher flicks, like Good N Plenty II (featured a super baked Chris Brown giving a tour of his house). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQBy0O7GC4w

  • Smudedogg

    Josh Pomer is the man. Love the guy. But The Kill series should not be held up as a how to for surf movies.

  • mayweather

    Eh. Who the fuck wants to hear the same old music all the time. Turn on your favorite shitty local Jack FM over the soundtrack if you want. Rock out to Tom Petty for the billionth time.

  • nettwench14

    That is badass. I can’t believe he made it out of that first tube – how was that possible? Yes, I LOVE it! I want to see people going for it and destroying themselves – now that is FUN!!!

  • Jpres

    Yes!!! Seriously- this film is a step in the right direction. Surf media take some tips from Thrasher Magazine and stop pumping the dainty-wank-hipster schtick. The great surfing in Slow Dance was ruined by the over the top pretentious wannabe art flick-backed by int’l clothing conglomerate.

  • rw

    Yeah, and when every surf movie is then made exactly like this, you’ll want the other way back. Or you could just watch Pump.

  • pete

    Not Quite RUNMAN but a valiant attempt

  • fraaancis

    Uh ya, hey wheres my shirt, I’m goin ta get some more beer~ then share….

  • FCPZ

    That flick was fun and rad. Finally a flick that doesn’t just feature a bunch of stinkbug sloppy fly out “airs” set to the tune of some 17 year old Norweigan yodeling to some haphazardly played glockenspiels. Some serious tubes and hacks and for Christ’s sake…thanks for showing the paddle-ins! Best flick I’ve seen in a while set to some music with some cajones.

    • choo

      I dug the paddle ins too—I want to see even earlier in the set-up, me too meee tooo man–good call.

  • Dave

    The performance in the …Lost videos were unreal. Chris Ward and Corey Lopez were ripping all kinds of waves beyond what some of the New School could do. Some of the waves in those vids made my eyes bulge. But I do agree about everything else you said, esp. about the funny sh-t that went down.

    • Jeff Machado

      …Lost vids/web series are still some of the best features out there. Ward Stories was incredible and Gone to Cabo is full on shit-show bliss.

  • Dave

    Does anyone even buy surf vids anymore? Youtube got everything you need!

  • waldrorf

    So… a surf film that talks about the “meaning of surfing, art, or travel” and is artistically interesting is a “chore to watch” while a fat, drunk, milk vomiting, Metal Jimmy is appealing?
    Maybe it’s just me, but I think surfers need to leave this unevolved mentality behind and aspire to more than what this movie portrays..

    “You are the result of 4 billion years of successful evolution…Fucking act like it.”

    • SouthernCaliforniaRocks22

      Did you even watch the movie? You have to read about surf, art, and
      travel in droid’s part. No one is fat, drunk, or vomiting or anything
      like that. This movie is rad… Metal’s part is the sickest part…
      Keep rocking!!! :) <3

  • FiveSixDuece

    Its just nice seeing someone paddle for a wave, then subsequently drop in on said wave.. Too many flicks these days start the clip at the bottom turn! No Bueno! Metal Neck is like Trail Mix.. You got some Punk rock here, ripping there, jamming here.. and getting weird Everywhere! Kind of like the crowds of Newps. Keep shredding boys! Yew!

  • Zoloft

    Didn’t they get the memo? It’s not cool to actually not care anymore. Taking this shit too far will make us all depressed. Just look around.

  • Diego Kuri

    Great video, Great! article! I read it before watching the video and it got me all pumped up , I totally agree with you dude, we need more fun! thanks for the video!! Im out going surfing.

  • Joe

    How dare you call Metal Jimmy fat and drunk.

  • Mik

    seriously, since when have surf movies been all that serious, anyway?

    Filthy Habits 2 is number one on my top 10, followed by Trilogy, Sipping Jetstreams, and Slowdance. None of these are remotely serious, other than the actual surfing or waves.

    I’d add in Highline but i can’t get past vuvuzela driven opening soundtrack, that is as annoying as the opening to Metalneck. The problem with trying to be too hip or clever or whatever in a surf flick is that it’s always one and done. I dont want to see or hear something lame (tangental) twice. Good surfing I can watch forever.

    To me, the death knell is a surf flick that starts with the main surfer’s childhood. This includes Bobby Martinez, Clay Marzo, Julian Wilson, Kelly Slater, on out. Yeah, I like knowing something about a great surfer, but I’d rather know something that teaches me about how to surf better, or about board design, or about the culture of the area being filmed. Childhood trophies or family b/g? put it in the extras section. If I’m interested I’ll go there. But believe me, I buy surf films to study the surfing or the traveling info. Exclusively.