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Directed by Doug Pray.
Written by Doug Pray.
Release Year:  2008
Review Date:  6/11/08


So, here's the movie--legendary surfer guy has nine kids, likes to walk around naked at 85 years old, went through women like water for years before settling down, and likes to wax poetic about eating pussy.  (Yes, the movie has a two- or three-minute segment where our "hero" talks about eating pussy.  Trust me, even though the movie is generally blah, this will be a wake-up call even if you are fading while watching this movie!)

Now, in the separate worlds of surfing documentaries, fucked-up family documentaries, sex-talk documentaries or old-people documentaries, "Surfwise" is not very good at any of these genres...worse, it's not that good as a standalone feature doc that combines sex-loving, fucked-up-family, old people-loving surfers.  Its energy comes solely from the wacko Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz, a man who clearly would be fun to live as, or even like, but outside of our man "Doc", we don't get much from our supporting cast (mainly interviews with the other family members) and even at 93 minutes, it is interminably long, sad because that is actually a short run time but so little is going on, you can't wait to hop out of the theater.

Surfing footage--essentially non-existent.  Surfing legend interview confirmations--plentiful, but the movie really doesn't need to establish Doc's greatness on the waves...this is a family comedy/drama profile, so all we need to do is see him in his element.  The family members that aren't Doc--boring.  Naturally, many of them have not hung out together for years, so all of this is just a build-up to a big family reunion at the end...blah.

Why the hell did I go see this movie?  Because my buddy Yac and I love seeing movies, and we collectively blew it in watching this film.  Even now, two days later, nothing noteworthy comes to mind about it and I will waste no more time talking about it!!!

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09