Why can’t Hollywood do surfing right?


No hard feelings, That Jennifer Lawrence’s latest rom-comdespite the fact that the action takes place in Montauk (surf area) and the budget is 45 million dollars (more than John Wick: Chapter Two), somehow managed to completely miss the mark by depicting surfing at least somewhat realistically. You might think that with $45 million to create a story without any crazy special effects or doubles, they would have to spend a couple thousand on a surf consultant or even any random surfer returning from the Terrace sandbanks.

Instead, the film follows 32-year-old Uber driver “Maddie” (Jennifer Lawrence) as he tries to date 19-year-old “Percy” (Andrew Feldman) after he finds a Craigslist ad his parents posted asking for help. . boosting his son’s confidence levels by pretending to like him romantically – surfing is treated as a subplot.

Surfers and surfboards are strategically placed from scene to scene. Brand new, unwaxed, leashless shortboards are shown stored in bright sunlight on a board rack on Maddie’s front lawn. Does Maddie surf? She never talks about surfing, drives a sedan with no trunk, and speeds along the flat beach as she drives Percy to the ocean.

To make matters worse, one of the main characters, Jim, is supposed to be a surfer, played by a believable-looking man who surfs. Scott McArthur. Points given that he drives a van, but points are written for the fact that nothing happened. V van. No wax, no leashes, no wetsuits, no trays for soaking boots… nothing. In his big surfing scene, the waves are completely flat as he walks along the boardwalk back to Maddie and his wife Sarah. The three get into some playful argument and Sarah tells him to get back in the water. Jim Mopili carries his shortboard back into the dead ocean and paddles away.

I don’t blame the director Gena Stupnitsky, for including surfing in the story. Movie is After all, the story takes place in Montauk. This adds a layer of realism. People who live near the ocean where there are many surfing spots will surf. But would it be so difficult to try to portray it with any accuracy? It’s much better to give up surfing entirely than to expect audiences to believe that lifelong Montauk surfers are a bunch of weirdos. Balaram Stack, who won the 2022 Pipe Masters, grew up on Long Island. There are good surfers in New York!

Unfortunately, there is a long history of mainstream cinema capitalizing on surf culture without the added realism or involvement of actual surfers. Except Big Wednesday a mainstream surf movie that gets surfing pretty much right, Tthere have been many attempts and failed attempts to depict surfing here. In particular, the film Surfer, Dude released in 2008 starring Matthew McConaughey.

Although Matthew is easy on the eyes and even boasts his long, surf-blonde hair from trailer alone, one would assume this is a tough watch. Drawing on just about every stupid surfing cliché (calling everyone “dude” or “bro”) and set in none other than Malibu, McConaughey speaks in a slow, stupid drawl the entire time while answering the question, “What do you do?” » ” with the ridiculous answer “surfer!” Even professional surfers would have a hard time saying that this is their full-time job, and I can’t think of anyone, surfer or otherwise, who has said to someone, “You’re taking me down hard,” with a straight face and no common sense. . irony.

The straw on the camel’s back comes from a shot of McConaughey looking out at the ocean and saying, “The report says surf, it looks like a lake,” as if A, the report says surf, no other information needed, and B, Malibu always more like a lake (okay, I’m kidding, but seriously dude, go somewhere else if you want to get wet).

Of course, I understand that these are Hollywood films, not documentaries, and these are paid actors, not professional surfers, but I’d like to know how difficult it can be to fact-check surfing lingo here and there. Damn it, there’s a whole Encyclopedia of Surfing is dedicated to providing everyone with enough knowledge to learn the basics of surf culture and then some after reading a couple of articles. There are surf magazines, surf movies and surfers everywhere: you’re filming a movie in Malibu but can’t listen to real surfers talk for five minutes?

And if you think I’m being dramatic, think about the depiction of other sports compared to the depiction of surfing. No one would think of casting a character as a baseball player and then sending him on set wearing hiking boots. Or make your character a professional swimmer and dress him in a bikini. Details matter; it’s distracting when something is so obviously wrong. Surfers like me spend the entire film focusing on the weird details of the set rather than the storyline.

Saving grace for Surfer, Dude in that it features Willie Nelson. But as for No hard feelings? Without special guests, I’m not sure it will go ahead. I can ignore the strange sexual attitude of a 32 year old woman dating a 19 year old for money. But leaving your CI Mid in the hot sun for an entire summer? This is unforgivable.

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