DVD Movie Review of “Chasing Mavericks”

I am standing in front of the Redbox machine glassy-eyed and disheveled; I have the head cold from hell. All I want to do is get a tape and drive home. I press the button; a disc drops to the bottom of the machine, and I pick it up. Perhaps I am running a fever and feeling a little delirious: I just rented a surfing movie titled Surfing Macericks.

Surfing Mavericks, directed by Curtis Hansen and Michael Apted, follows your typical Kung Fu or Karate Kid formula except this time the medium is water. The movie is based on the true story of California surfers Jay Moriarity (Johnny Weston) and his mentor Rick “Frosty” Hesson (Gerard Butler), who chases what is called “mavericks” in the lexicon of surfing terminology. (Mavericks are the huge waves caused by El Nino in the Pacific Ocean, which can top 50 feet at times.)

The story takes place in the coastal waters near Santa Cruz and begins in I987 when Frosty, who is surfing at the time, rescues young Jay from drowning after he has been knocked into the water by a huge wave while standing on the rocks. From the start, it is clear that Jay is enamored with the thought of conquering the waves, but Frosty, who is cold as ice (I guess that’s why his name is Frosty), will have none of it.

We zip seven years forward and Jay is now a teenager working in a pizza parlor, but who still deeply desires to conquer a maverick. Along with his listless job he must take care of his depressed and alcoholic mother. Frosty, who just happens to live across the street, is aware of the situation and after discussing the surfing situation with Jay’s mother, gets her permission to teach him: Young Grasshopper, get ready to meet a maverick.

Believe it or not, this is a good movie: it is deep enough to inspire some thought, yet not shallow enough to drown itself. The shining star of the film is the California coastline and the monstrous waves which are graphically shown crashing the shore. What is truly remarkable is that anybody would attempt to stand atop a behemoth 5-story powerhouse of force. Rent the movie for an afternoon of entertainment.

My Rating: 3 of 5 Mavericks.