| posted on July 22, 2010

Summer is here and that means surf trips. For me, a surf trip equals lots of movie viewing. Either on a long ass flight to Indo or a long ass haul to Baja, movies are a part of the equation. Here’s a list of (in my opinion) great flicks that perhaps you haven’t seen to help you get through the long journey. You can only count license plates for so long.

1) THIS IS SPINAL TAP – The greatest rock band in the world is captured in a downward spiral in this, the most profound mockumentary, err, rockumentary, ever made. The satire is deep, all the way down to the original music for the film, which pokes at traditional metal power chords and inane lyrics. Toe tapping ryhmes such as “big bottoms, big bottoms, talk about mud flaps my girls got ‘em” and “girl your sweet but your just four feet and you still have your baby teeth” exemplify the two hours of fun on tap. During a 10-year college “experience” I would often wake up, bake some brownies, skip class and ‘Tap into America.’ I’m a better person because of it. Turn this one up to eleven.

2) SURF WISE – The only recent release on my list, this documentary of and about the famous Paskowitz surfing clan examines the deeply rooted value system of Dorian Paskowitz, the family’s patriarch. Surf docs thematically tend to fall into the “isn’t surfing great” abyss –and understandably so. SURFWISE examines the consequences of a man’s stubborn and tenacious drive to follow his own heart, and in the process the hearts of his children are scattered. Yeah, the family makes up at the end, but I don’t buy it. Dad is still dad.

3) MAN ON FIRE – This is a dark film filled with plenty of revenge and ass kicking. Denzel Washington is former American operative turned unemployable, loner alcoholic. Old buddy Christopher Walken dials Denzel into a job as a bodyguard for a young girl whose parents are wealthy Mexico City socialite/politicos. A father daughter bond occurs between the two. Denzel uncovers some dirty secrets and in the process chops off some fingers, firebombs a car, and basically goes postal all over Mexico City’s underworld scumbags. What’s not too love?

4) THE DIRTY DOZEN – After viewing this film I promise you one thing: you will ‘write-in’ Lee Marvin for President in November of 2008, and again in 2012. Never mind that he’s dead. Marvin takes a group of murderers, con artists, bi-polar nut jobs, and other jailbird ne’er-do-wells under his wing for a dangerous mission into Nazi Germany. Lee Marvin is great actor, although I’m not so sure he’s really acting. What you see is what you get. He was born with a cigar and whiskey sour. Plus, as an added bonus, you get Kojak with hair, Charles Bronson and Jim Brown. This flick will make you proud of our federal corrections system.

5) APOCALYPSE NOW – Okay, here’s the deal with this one: you have to watch it on a big screen and you need surround sound. I know, most surf trips movie viewing is done on an iPod or portable DVD player. Not good enough for AP NOW. Do yourself a favor, turn the lights off, the sound up and do not allow for interruptions. This one is insane, and I don’t just mean the theme of the movie. You may need an Ambien afterwards.

6) HAIL, HAIL ROCK AND ROLL – This is a documentary showcasing the legendary guitarist/musician Chuck Berry’s 60th birthday party concert at the Fox theater in St. Louis. On stage you get Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Etta James and many others including Berry himself. The concert is great, but it is the behind-the-scenes interviews with Richards, Bruce Springsteen, Bo Diddley and others that really crystallize the man behind the guitar.

I’ll be leaving for INDO soon and need some movie suggestions. I’ve packed the USUAL SUSPECTS but need some more ideas. Please, leave the obvious ones like GLADIATOR and ZOOLANDER out of the equation. Thanks.