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10th Anniversary: A SERIOUS MAN

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Entries in Patrick Swayze (3)

Wednesday
Oct092019

Soundtracking: Ghost

by Chris Feil

A convergence of the romantic, the spooky, and the outright earnest happened in the early 90s with Ghost, most notably immortalized through song through the ripe feeling of The Righteous Brothers’ version of “Unchained Melody”. It was the kind of megasmash that only this era could have produced, and the kind of instantly classic movie moment that distills the era. But for the past thirty years, the sight of Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in clay-mate-tion has been burned into our minds and our cultural loins in ways few musical scenes can equally measure.

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Thursday
Jul092015

Women's Pictures - Kathryn Bigelow's Point Break

I have a confession to make: people have been telling me for years to watch Point Break, and I always blew them off. "Sure it's a great genre film," I thought, "but the genre is action and the film is about bank robbing surfers." Oh, Anne Marie. You did not give bank robbing surfers (who also skydive, by the way) enough credit. After having watched it (twice in a row), I confess that Point Break is quite possibly the perfect early 90s action flick: that brief bridge between the buffed up ridiculousness of 80s action movies, and the self-serious grittiness of later 90s action films.

It's a space and genre that Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron (who were married in 1989 and divorced in 1991, the same year Point Break came out) occupied gleefully. Point Break was a collaboration between the two writer/directors (though because of Writer's Guild rules, neither's name appears in the writing credits). Together, they created a spectacle-driven, tightly-plotted action movie that manages to both poke fun at, and take advantage of, the hyper-macho tropes of the genre. Action was, after all, the genre of Stallone and Schwarzenegger's muscles, as well as Willis and Gibson's swagger. A lot has been written about movie masculinity and homoeroticism in action films, but I believe that what makes Point Break so good, beyond the adrenaline-high sports scenes and the tense action, is the way director Kathryn Bigelow examines (with a thankfully very thorough lens) the men in her film.

Point Break is a film that improbably can have its beef-cake and eat it too.

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Tuesday
Jul122011

20th Anniversary: POINT BREAK (1991)

By the time Point Break emerged in the summer of 1991 I was already a fan of Kathryn Bigelow having obsessed over Near Dark (1987) on VHS in, I think, 1990? I was not disappointed since Point Break has at least a couple of sequences in it that made good on Near Dark's terrifying bar massacre for the sheer "finger lickin' good" adrenaline that pumps through them. When I think of great action direction the foot chase sequence in Point Break always comes to mind if I don't get stuck in James Cameron oeuvre. With the recent rebirth of both Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) and Cameron (Avatar) perhaps there is hope for action cinema still?

Online searches for Point Break screencaps reveal yet again the dearth of movie images online from the early 90s (just before the internet took over, natch) so we can't marvel at Kathryn Bigelow's generous attention to Keanu Reeve's wetsuit ass or the way his wet bangs cling so perfectly to his forehead in slow motion as if entire action sequences were shot as frame-by-frame meticulously as any frozen fashion shoot meant to be blown up on billboards everywhere.

I asked Team Film Experience to share their most vivid memories of the one arguable classic in the pretty-FBI-agent-meets-new-age-bankrobbing-surfer-guru genre. Shut up! It is so a genre.

Kurt (Cinema de Gym): Collectively, my most vivid memory of Point Break is definitely the skydiving scenes. In my teens, I went through a phase where I was totally obsessed with extreme sports and extreme sports movies, perhaps because extreme sports don't exactly require the same hand-to-eye coordination of regular sports, which I extremely lacked. Point Break was one of my big, masculine extreme sports movies, along with Airborne and Drop Zone, the Wesley Snipes skydiving movie. I totally had it my head that I would skydive as soon as humanly possible, especially since my dad had done it back in the day. My thoughts have since...changed. Now I can't imagine just jumping out of an airplane. Maybe if I magically ended up in Point Break 2...

Editor's Note: If we get 150 new subscribers today (see sidebar for TFE's budget to 'dream a little bigger darling') Nathaniel will personally foot the bill to convince Kurt to skydive and share the video for your viewing pleasure. Kurt is very handsome so wouldn't you love to see him terrified and screaming in the clouds as he plummets to possible death?!? If we reach 300 paid subscribers this week (the goal) Nathaniel, whose father has also sky-dived and who is also terrified at the thought of leaping from a plane, will do it with him. Editor's Note Pt 2: The Film Experience accepts no responsibility if anyone dies while trying this.

Craig (Take Three): What I remember most is Kathryn Bigelow showing 99% of her action-filmmaker peers of the time exactly how action cinema is done 100% of the time. 

Michael (Unsung Heroes): All my strongest memories of Point Break involve Nick Frost's anguished Keanu interpretation in the movie Hot Fuzz, so methinks I may be due for a refresher viewing of Bigelow's surf/heist opus.

JA from My New Plaid Pants: I've been meaning to revisit it but I was never a big Point Break fan as a kid. Even back then surfer talk set my nerves on edge. But the first thing I think of is that post-coitus shot of Keanu and Lori Petty in bed where she's about a hundred thousand percent butcher than he is. He looked like a pretty porcelain doll and she was this motorcycle mama that was just gonna pick him up and smash him on the floor.

Ha! I love that image, too. Whatever happened to Lori Petty? Ah well. At least she'll always have the early 90s see also: A League of Their Own and Tank Girl.

P.S. Team TFE is looking for a couple of new members to gear up for Oscar season. If you consider yourself a fine writer who is able to get interesting fun points across in short bloggy doses (no current blog is necessary if you have samples), understand TFE's voice (i.e. you "get" and enjoy the site) and live in a major market (and can thus get to screenings or festivals), contact Nathaniel at film experience (at) gmail (dot) com.