July 12 marked the 29th anniversary of the theatrical release of “Point Break,” Kathryn Bigelow’s surfing bank robbers action movie that ushered in a new era of action movies in 1991, and ushered in Keanu Reeves as one of the ultimate sex symbols of the ’90s.
Bigelow married lyrical male melodrama to adrenaline-pumping action sports and created an undeniable classic that not only holds up, it seems to age like a fine wine. It’s a heart-pounding, deeply sensual, thrilling plunge into the Pacific, so rent “Point Break” for a $3.99 rental on all digital platforms, or stream it on Direct TV or Sling.
Since it is mid-July and we’re all craving relief from the heat, how about a slate of surfing movies?
Bigelow cast a couple of professional surfers to play Patrick Swayze’s Ex-Presidents gang in “Point Break,” and one of them, John Philbin, also costarred in the 1987 made-for-TV surfing classic “North Shore,” about an Arizona guy who chases his surfing dreams in Hawaii. It’s definitely got that cheesy ’80s it factor, but who couldn’t use a little dose of nostalgia right now? Rent it for $3.99 on all digital platforms.
Or throw it back even further to John Milius’ 1978 film “Big Wednesday” ($2.99 rental on digital platforms).
Co-written with Dennis Aaberg and inspired by their own days of surfing Malibu, the film follows three friends who lead wildly different lives during the turbulent years of the mid-to late ’60s to early ’70s, and reunite 10 years later.
It stars Jan-Michael Vincent, Gary Busey and William Katt as the trio of wave-riding pals.
If you want less narrative and more wave action to vibe out to, check out the classic surfing documentary “The Endless Summer,” which is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video, free to stream on Kanopy (with a library card) and free with ads on Tubi.
Released in 1966, filmmaker Bruce Brown followed surfers Mike Hynson and Robert August on a surfing trip around the world (this might also scratch that travel itch that’s been squashed by COVID-19). The 1994 sequel, “The Endless Summer II,” in which Brown retraces the steps with surfers Pat O’Connell and Robert “Wingnut” Weaver, is available in full on YouTube.
Brown’s son, Dana, also directed a great new generation surf doc, “Step into Liquid,” released in 2003. That’s available to rent for $3.99 on digital platforms.
If this is all feeling a bit dude-heavy, girls can get in on the action too. 2002’s “Blue Crush,” directed by John Stockwell, is kind of a stone-cold classic, and stars Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez and Sanoe Lake as a trio of hard-charging surfer gals in Hawaii.
Very refreshing and available for a $3.99 on digital platforms or with a Direct TV subscription. If you combine the perennial summer stalwarts of surfing, sharks and seagulls, you get Jaume Collet-Serra’s lean, mean, Blake Lively-starring thriller “The Shallows,” which is way better than it has any right to be (on FXNow or DirectTV subs or $2.99 digital rental).
For the kids, try the 2007 animated feature “Surf’s Up” (on Starz, Direct TV or $2.99 online), about a penguin surfing world championship, and featuring the voices of Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges and Zooey Deschanel.