Friday, August 08, 2008

Surf Fridays!

Mark Richards
photo by Dan Merkel

Shaun Thomson with Mark Richards and crew
Photo by Dan Merkel

Bustin' Down The Door is a new surf documentary directed by Jeremy Gosch, that takes its name from an article written for Surfer mag in 1975 by Rabbit Bartholomew. That article really pissed off the Hawaiians and North Shore locals and started a revolution that forever went down in surfing history.

On the way home from Maui last summer, we stopped at the Honolulu airport for a layover and since we were really sad about leaving, I bought Jay the book, Eddie Would Go. He read it in two days and loved it. One of his favorite parts in the book was about the huge rift back in 1970's, with the Hawaiian surfers and the Aussie surfers, and how Eddie Aikau and his family helped heal that rift. That is just a bit of what this film is about.

I love the review of this film written by Bill Sharp, former editor of Surfing Magazine:

There have been thousands of documentaries made around the sport of surfing over the years, but Bustin' Down the Door may contain the best-told story of them all.

The film chronicles a tumultuous two-year period of competitive and cultural clashes in the mid-Seventies in surfing's mecca - Hawaii's North Shore of Oahu - as a small crew of Australians and South Africans push to invent a "professional sport" based on their audacious wave riding and outsized personalities. How that revolution lead to the birth of professional surfing and ultimately to today's multi-billion dollar surf industry is well known, yet the inside story of the personal struggle, sacrifice and heartbreak which fueled that epoch has remained a quieter, dirtier secret.

Framed around the emerging careers of World Champions-to-be Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, Shaun Thomson and Mark Richards and their contemporaries, Bustin' Down the Door covers the wave-riding component beautifully in front-lit, sunny glory. But the film soon takes a turnoff down a very dark backroad, where the success and brash promotions of the newcomers runs face-first into a fist of local Hawaiian pride. Seawater, surfboards and stoke are replaced by blood, shotguns and terror as the conflict comes to a head in Wild West fashion. The depth of their predicament and how they ultimately work their way out of it plays across the screen in far more dramatic fashion than any of the wipeouts at giant Waimea Bay. The emotional interviews as these icons of the sport reveal their personal tragedies and how surfing helped save them may do something unheard of in a surf-film: bring a tear to the eye of the viewer.

With an amazing period soundtrack featuring the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Queen and more, and narration by actor Ed Norton, BDTD has plenty of the sort of Hollywood glitz that has propelled films like Dogtown and Z-Boyz or Riding Giants to popular acclaim. But it also has a much deeper human message than any of those films about what can happen when you chase your dream, both good and bad.

It should be made into law that every spoiled-brat pro surfer being paid a single dollar in sponsorship should be duct-taped to a chair and forced to watch this film until he fully understands the debt he owes to these pioneers who busted down the door on behalf of a future generation.

Anyone else is more than likely to be very happy to wait in line and pay full price for a ticket to Bustin' Down the Door, because they may very well walk away feeling it was the most valuable entertainment by a documentary film in years.

The film opened July 25th. Head over to BDTD's MySpace page to see more trailers and where it's playing. Looks like the folks in Del Mar & Santa Ana, CA get to see it tonight as well as Virginia Beach, Ocean City, MD and Ocean City, NJ! Have a great weekend everyone, and let me know if you see this movie!


Check out Jack Johnson & G. Love doing Madonna's 'Holiday'.


Michael S-A said...

Since I got choked up by "Blue Crush," sounds like this one will finish me off. Added to my Netflix queue. Guess I'll have to wait to Jan '09 when it comes out on DVD.

Ryan said...

Ahhh... surf fridays. Nice post Jamie. Love the Glove/Jack bonus. Speaking of tunes... I landed a copy of the Mattson2 album... Ive heard some of their music (not live) around the net... and it doesn't compare to how GOOD they sound on their disc... its a GREAT album.

randy said...

I saw this last week at the Bridge in SF. This is a fantastic movie that covers alot of surfing history that I didn't know much about. Very well done.

Ana said...

Great post, Jamie. I absolutely love that JJ & GL cover of Holiday! Thanks for sharing that! And for the tip on the Eddie Would Go book...I bet Matt would like it, too.

Michael Singman-Aste said...

Jamie, I'm home sick today and finally watched this documentary on Netflix instant viewing. Very interesting and cool. Thanks for recommending it.