Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Blue Crush

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, teen partying, language and a fight

Reviewed by: Jonathan Rothgeb
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Teen Sports Romance Adventure
Length:
1 hr. 44 min.
Year of Release:
2002
Kate Bosworth in “Blue Crush”

Starring: Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Matthew Davis, Mika Boorem, Sanoe Lake | Directed by: John Stockwell | Produced by: Brian Grazer, Karen Kehela | Written by: John Stockwell, Lizzy Weiss | Distributor: Universal

In the 60’s and early 70’s surfing movies were all the rage. Who can forget Bobby and Annette doing the twist while the surf crashed against the beach in the background. Even Elvis got into the swing of things in “Blue Hawaii”. Writer/Director John Stockwell has tried to bring the old genre to an X generation audience by juicing up the sex, adding the drugs and alcohol, throwing in profanity, and topping it all off with some pretty spectacular surfing shots.

The story circles around a “new generation” type family where the mother has run out leaving her young daughters, Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) and Penny (Mika Boorem), to fend for themselves. We are never really given the details of the separation except to mention that she was a man-hungry alcoholic who cared more about her good times than her offspring. The older daughter who is no longer in school, splits her parenting duties with a job as a maid and of course struggling to become a pro surfer chick.

Reality has little to do with this movie’s premise. We are shown a degrading family where a young woman is forced to take on the role of mother, and yet that is given second place to her dreams of surfing, finding a man, and having a good time. The younger sister Penny is little more than one of the nation’s lost children, looking for the next party where she can get drunk and sleep with the next guy available. Throughout the entire movie pre-adolescent sex and drinking is shown as acceptable and little consideration has been put into who the audience of this film really is: teens.

The film is full of great surfing shots and beautiful footage of Hawaii. I have never seen a movie with quite so much information given as to what really goes into training for a surfing event. Unfortunately, this great footage is not supported by quality acting or a well written plot. Throughout the film both Anne Marie and Penny are supported by their friends and roommates Edna (Michelle Rodriguez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake), showing a modicum of family support. Rodriguez (of “Resident Evil” fame) does a good performance as Anne Marie’s most avid fan and supporter. Matthew Davis is weak as Anne Marie’s NFL quarterback love interest.

Again, Hollywood has provided an impressionable, adolesent audience with just the right point of view to send them spiralling out into a world that will drag them into the gutter. I John 2:15-17 admonishes us not to love the things of this world for these things are passing away but to instead love the Father and abide in him. It’s okay to have dreams and goals, to fight for what you believe in, and even have fun doing it, but you can do all those things while still living in God’s perfect will. We need to encourage our children to live upright lives and support them in choices that coincide with what God tells us in His Word.

Honestly, I cannot recommend this movie to anyone on any level. If surfing is what you are into may I recommend a trip to your local video store where you can rent a good docudrama on the subject.

Viewer Comments
John Stockwell is a smart director with a good head for character and a few surprises up his aloha shirt sleeves. They aren’t in the story of young surfer, Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth, looking more California girl than Hawaii local), a girl crashing the boys club in an extreme surfing competition on the Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore.

A “near drowning incident three years ago” crashes through Anne Marie’s dreams and batters her psyche in visceral flashbacks that all but paralyzes her in the water (the repeated head hitting coral image echoes with a wincing, meaty “thwat”), she retreats into her Cinderella vacation romance.

A charming young NFL star (Matthew Davis) is a smooth number playing the modest boy next door living large on pro-sports money, but her fairy tale gets a cold splash of reality. Abandoned by their single mom, who is off on another romantic fling, Anne Marie and rebellious little sister Penny (Mika Boorem, who looks awfully pale for a surf bum in training) form a makeshift family with childhood beach buddies Eden (Michelle Rodriguez, full of attitude and sass and loyalty) and Lena (real life Hawaii local Sanoe Lake).

No, they don’t sound like local wahines, but then the heavy accents and colorful vocabulary of Hawaiian pidgin would require subtitles. These aren’t your usual movie surfer girls: Bosworth (a former equestrian champ), Rodriguez and Lake ride their own boards and carry themselves with the physicality of athletes, while their working-girl characters toil in the unglamorous service industry and share a girls-club camaraderie the likes of which the movies haven’t seen in ages.
—Sean Axmaker
Negative—Having had the privilege of sitting on the beach at Makaha and Pipeline last February and watching them film some of the actual surfing in spectacular waves, I was really looking forward to the release of this movie. It does indeed feature great surfing footage for the uninitiated (especially the underwater shots!), but also bathes the audience with a lousy message on lifestyle choices (with a lot of skin shots thrown in).

Surfers are portrayed as fairly crass, violent, party animals, and that’s an okay part of their lifestyle! Sex with a guy on a second date is shown as the dating norm. As a dedicated surfer who has taught a lot of young people to surf, I’m so glad I did not take any of my proteges to this flick—too many negative messages to go with the one positive message: “get back on the horse you just fell off,” have courage, etc.

I wish the script writers had used the medium of surfing to show excellent role models for our lives. If you want to create a “female empowerment” movie, take the moral high road!
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Scott Wessling
Positive—Overall the movie was pretty good. There was nothing really offensive that you wouldn’t see at a normal beach. Overall, I would see it again.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Steve Jones, age 20
Comments from young people
Neutral—Overall, “Blue Crush” was a decent movie. It had great surfing clips set in beautiful hawaii. It is very thrilling to watch the dangerous and awe inspiring, powerful waves, as the surfers were totally at their mercy. However, there is a lack of intelligible plot and theme.

I do object to the fact that the movie portrays that it is normal to have sex after only knowing someone for a short time. However, I don’t think that the movie is very explicit and revealing in those scenes, it is only the negative message that it portrays that I object to. I do disagree with this webpage’s using the term “generation X.” It overwhelmingly refers to this present age of youth in a negative way. I think that it is wrong to do so.

This generation has been down laden with too many negative stero-types and the last place they need it is from the christian community. I have seen so much promise and hope from this generation. Also I don’t look at the family situation in this film in a negative way. Broken families today are really more common than we think they are. It reaches out to this generation.

It shows the struggles that a child goes through in result of a divorce and an un-loving family. I would have liked to seen a higher moral standard in the kids as a result of the unmoral parents though. I overall think that this is more of a positive thing than a negative, because it honestly portrays divorce in a negative way and it shows the children trying not to make the same mistakes as their parents did.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Tim, age 17
Neutral—I thought this movie was a pretty good movie. I didn’t think it was very bad. I thought s few things were a little, I guess you could say offensive. Not too many tho! I thought it was a good movie. The only part I didn’t like too much was when the girl hits her head on the rock.
My Ratings: [Average / 2½]
—Tara, age 14
Negative—This movie was a “girl power,” “fight male domination” themed movie with bad acting.
My Ratings: [Average / 2]
—Anon., age 14
Neutral—This movie was pretty good, but it did have a few things in it that bothered me because they went against my Christian morals. There was one scene of premarital sex. But it only showed them kissing, and then it showed her wrapped in a sheet the following morning. The language was offensive, but it could have been worse. I really liked the storyline though, and it sent a good message to people. It told you to never give up on something just because it’s hard to achieve.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Maribeth Wood, age 14
Negative—I was very skeptical about seeing Blue Crush and it was exactly how I thought it was going to be. 60% surf, 40% sleeze. That 40% made it not worth my time. I know that the rating is PG-13, but I know that I wouldn’t want my 13 year old brother watching this garbage. The surf part of it was awesome. You see underwater views of the water that are incredible! But the language, sex, and waaayy too much cleavage was too much for me. The plot of the movie was ankle deep and all and all the movie drowned.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 3½]
—Kaley, age 15
Neutral—The best part of this movie was the awesome surfing shots taken from helicopters and jet skis (I surf, so I definitely appreciated these), but the movie was lacking in other, more important ways. The script and acting weren’t too great, and it seemed like the director was just trying to fit everything in way too short a time period. Looking at this movie from a Christian view, I didn’t find it majorly offensive. There was some language, teen smoking and drinking, and premarital sex (although it didn’t show anything more than kissing in that scene).

I found that the most objectionable part of the movie was the skimpy clothing. Nothing but skin the whole way! There were also a few “bottom shots” with attention drawn to the females in a negative way. Overall, I think the surfing scene was idealized in a way that made the smoking, drinking, and even the romance very unrealistic. If not for anything else, see this movie for the great surfing!
My Ratings: [Average / 3½]
—Megan, age 15
Positive—It was a good movie some things were offensive but over-all it was a good teen movie.
My Ratings: [Average / 3½]
—Kathryn Smith, age 13
Negative—I went to see this movie with one of my friends who LOVES surfing. Looking at the movie through that aspect, it was great! However, in my view, this movie was not a wholesome one.

A couple things I didn’t enjoy… the main girl (Anne) meets a guy, and without even knowing him (hardly) has sex with him, and to top it off-she has a younger sister who is 14… and two other main friends. She gets home and they all start nagging her for questions about her “night out” with the guy, and her sister keeps saying stuff like “hoochie mama, did you get it on?” Not exactly that… but close.

Her younger sister is 14… Anne is a terrible role-model for her by going to parties and having sex, but yet she gets frustrated because she finds her sister attending a drinking party with an older guy… all she wants is her sister to go to college… how is she EVER going to want to go to college when her sister is setting such a bad example? That’s just one thing out of the many things I noticed about this movie… Unless you’re WAY into surfing… I wouldn’t recommend this one.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
—Sarah, age 16
Neutral—The best part about this movie was the surf scenes. It was gorgeous to look at the turquoise blue water of the Hawaiian beaches, and the camera shots made one feel as if they were really swimming in the ocean, watching the surfers. (The camera work didn’t make you feel queasy, though).

The worst part of the film was the morals of the main characters. Financially broke Anne Marie Chadwick and her two best friends love to surf, and Anne Marie mentions she will never try college [Spoiler: she ends up not having to—after proving herself a fantastic surfer, she gets a great assignment as the next Billabong girl].

Anne Marie figures her intelligent but wayward younger sister will go to college herself. The viewer has to sympathize with Anne Marie—her mother abandoned her, and Anne Marie almost drowned three years ago surfing. But Anne Marie also has sex with a guy about two days after she meets him. He’s a pretty nice guy in the end and all, but of course she shouldn’t have gotten sexually involved.

The point of the movie is about proving oneself—Anne Marie is confused about who she is and what she wants. I didn’t think that this was a girl empowerment movie exactly—there are plenty of scenes in which guy surfers are incredibly discouraging to her ambition to be one of the best in the sport, sure, but in the end it was more about if she had the courage and confidence to really take on the waves that had almost killed her before.

Any person, male or female, can have struggles proving themselves to just themselves, too. I thought it was a good movie, just some of the morals of the characters were lacking.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Cathy, age 15