North Shore (1987)
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If you live on O'ahu, or are visiting, and you find yourself in Waikiki on a Sunday when the waves are flat, come visit me at Hope Chapel-South Shore (at the Waikiki Community Center) - The entire pastoral staff surfs, along with most of the congregation. It is wonderful to hear God's word taught with surf illustrations.
Having some of the world's best surfers before surfing and extreme sports became so "hip" makes this movie pure class. Hearing Occy say, "Hey Alex come jump in with us," in his Aussie-talk is priceless.
I first saw this movie on HBO when I was a grommet in '88 or so. Since three copies have been snaked by those who live life like Burkhardt. Fortunately this past weekend I finally found a new copy. By the way this film could be the reason Gabrielle Reese chose to marry Laird.
Here at imdb we treat friends no better, so see this film. Am I going to tell you that you must see this? If I have to.
As a fan I love every second of this movie. I have watched it at least twice a year since my cousin gave my dad a worn out VHS copy from the video store she worked at. It was so warn out that at time's parts of it were almost ruined. There were audio issues and video artifacts all attributed to the state of the VHS tape. But, we loved it anyway.
My dad surfed. I surfed. We'd watch it I the dead of winter when there were no waves and no surfing to be done. We'd usually watch it again just before going surfing for the first time each season. North Shore became a family tradition and we used lines from it all the time. "No body listens to Turtle" became our way of saying that no one listened to our advice and suffered because of it. We called tourist kooks. We called ourselves Soul Surfers.
When my dad passed away a few years ago I went searching for the VHS copy, popped it in my VCR and it broke. Luckily I was able to track down the DVD. I loved to commentary and cast interviews. Watching it late the night I finally received it felt like my dad was there beside me, reciting our favorite lines with me again. If I am in a bad mood, all I have to do is pop in the DVD and I start feeling better.
It's got that cheesy 80's feel to it, but it works. Some of the cinematography are mind blowing, especially considering the budget and technology of the time. Nia Peeples looks amazing as Kiani (this was her first major role, BTW). Gregory Harrison made chandler come alive. An no one except John Philbin could have played Turtle. Throw in a cast of some of the greatest Pro surfers of the time (and some that qualify as greatest of all time), and it's got exactly what in needs to become a cult classic. Which it undoubtedly is, or else it would never have made the transition to DVD.
As a former film student and (still) wannabe writer/director I know this movie has faults. Yes, the Hui are played up. But, name one stereotype that isn't in a movie? We need the Hui to help drive the love story aspect and for that to happen they have to be bad ass dues with even worse attitudes. Some of the acting, by the non-actors (aka the pro surfers turned actors), was horrible. Some of the techniques used were dated and ruined certain scenes. For example, after Kiani and Rick leave the fashion shoot and go to another beach and it suddenly goes from full dark to 'daylight'.
Some of the dialog is terrible. But, then again some of the one liners are incredibly funny and highly memorable.
The plot has been criticized by many on here, and I honestly question how much attention they paid to the movie. Rick goes from Arizona to Hawaii to surf the 'season'. He does not have any thoughts about entering a surfing competition when he first arrives. It is only after he starts learning how to 'big wave surf' from Chandler and being notice by he Professor that he starts thinking of entering the contest. Even at the end of the competition he's laughing as he's about to be eliminated because "I never thought I'd make it this far." It's hard not to judge this movie by modern standards. It's also hard not to judge this movie by it's contemporaries and the standards of that time. But, considering the budget, it's not terrible.
All in all I give this a 7/10. We former film student half wont let me give it the 10/10 my fan half wants me to give it. It's worth checking out for those who have never seen it and worth a review by those who have panned it. My best advice to enjoying North Shore is to not look at it with the eye of a critic, but instead let the 80's cheesy cult, campy warmth envelope you. Hang loose, haole...
This was NOT a surfing movie. This was a coming-of-age film. Rick is green in almost every sense of the word. By the end of the film, he has learned a bit about life, love, and himself.
The crown jewel of the movie, by far, is John Philbin's portrayal of the character of Turtle. He defies any stereotypical characterizations. He is real. He's an underdog from L.A., just trying to make his way and take life day by day. He cares about others and responds to caring from others. How often do you see a surfer portrayed this way? Nia Peeples portrayed the Hawaiian girl-next-door to perfection. She loved her family, loved horses, and her boyfriend too. Like something out of a Tom Petty song.
I loved the movie. Cheesiness is artistic in and of itself. Two thumbs up.
If you do enjoy obscure 80s movies and surfing adventures, then I would highly recommend checking out North Shore. Despite the surf-styled Romeo and Juliet and sports movie cliché, this movie has a lot to offer as far as a likable cast (especially John Philbin), tremendous action sequences, and a slick soundtrack to make it what I consider to be one of the best non-documentary surf movies.
Adorable Matt Adler plays Rick Kane, a recent high school grad fresh from the wave tanks of Arizona, who uses his winnings from a small contest to travel to the famous North Shore to surf the season. As he explains to his mom, who cautions that he has a scholarship awaiting him at a New York art school, that he has to find out now just how good of a surfer he could be. But, he's a cocky little novice, thinking he is just going to show up on the beaches and make himself famous. Things are much different than he expects and he's in for sort of a rude awakening.
When he arrives in Hawaii, he almost immediately encounters trouble, getting his stuff stolen by a gang of protective locals (featuring pro-surfer Gerry Lopez as Vince). As a result, Kane befriends surfboard shaper Turtle (John Philbin is perhaps the best character, and certainly the funniest, in the whole film), and his boss, Chandler (Gregory Harrison), who agrees to put him up at his place if Kane helps him redesign his company logo. With Chandler's sort of wise guidance, Kane gets some valuable guidance, which helps him among the locals and most importantly, with his surfing, as Chandler teaches him that old soul-surfer style. In the end, Kane becomes a good enough surfer to compete in the famous, but dangerous, Pipeline World Classic against some of the pros he idolizes (especially Lance Burkhart, played by pro-surfer Laird Hamilton).
The thing I enjoyed most when I had first seen this movie was the excellent photography. For those who had seen the movie on the old cable channel, Encore, the movie was accompanied with a sort of making-of documentary which explained all of the novel cinematography techniques used here. I have not yet seen the special features of the DVD to see if this was added, but nonetheless, it worked brilliantly, and you can really appreciate the surfing, even if you don't surf. The footage of Hawaii, too, is stunning.
Second, the relatively unknown cast has a lot of appeal. Matt Adler, who previously played Louis in 'Teen Wolf' or Jeff Freeman in 'Flight of the Navigator' (roles that he may be better remembered in) plays the lead, Rick Kane. Nia Peeples replaced another actress mid-shooting for the role of Rick's love interest, Kiani. Gregory Harrison, sort of hamming it up at moments, plays Chandler, Rick's mentor. But the best of all is John Philbin as the hilarious, good-natured Turtle. Also look for pro-surfers Laird Hamilton as Lance Burkhart, Gerry Lopez as Vince Moaloka, Robbie Page as Alex Rogers, Mark Occhilupo as Occy, and many others (especially in the Pipeline contest at the end).
And, finally, you have a pretty good soundtrack (of hard-to-find songs, unless you search hard on peer-to-peer networks) featuring Killing Joke, Chris Issak, Black Uhru, and my personal favorite, Australian rock band 'Gangajang' (their video for "Sounds of Then" can briefly be seen when Rick first goes to Burkhart's house with Alex and Occy).
They left it open for a sequel (Kane, at the end, says "Hey, I'll be back), but nothing ever came of it.
Aside from some of the slang, it's not even that dated. Overall, if you can get past some of the corniness and cliché, it may likely be one that you can watch over and over again.
Seriously, this movie has a as much in common with real surfing as TOP GUN has was real military life. The acting is terrible, the music is worse, the cinematography is iffy at best and OH MY GOD what was Laird Hanilton thinking?! WOW!!! DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE!!! IT SUCKS!!! If you want a REAL surf flick, see RIDING GIANTS. Hell, watch SURF'S UP instead of this. Seriously. Sucks. Sucks bad. Sucks REAL bad. Brah. ;)
PS: Had to change my summery from "WTF?!" to wtf because, apparently, we are supposed to whisper on this site. NO YELLING!!! (shhhhhh!) ;D
Bland formulaic surf stuff. The Hawaiian waves outperform everyone with the notable exception of bleached blond John Philbin (as Turtle). Mr. Adler's surfing nemesis, Laird Hamilton (as Lance Burkhart), looks great in his Halloween party body paint. Mr. Harrison ages exceptionally well. And, pretty Ms. Peeples handles the romantic distaff cast practically by herself. The DVD extras are relatively generous, with "alternate ending" and "deleted scenes" that could make you wince.
**** North Shore (8/14/87) William Phelps ~ Matt Adler, John Philbin, Gregory Harrison, Nia Peeples
The major enjoyment I get from this film is seeing truly excellent performances by a stack of genuinely legendary surfers, especially Gerry Lopez, deservedly known as Mister Pipeline, and one of history's great watermen. Gregory Harrison's beard came in handy, as it allowed us to watch Ken Bradshaw in his place in the water. I get a big laugh out of Laird Hamilton, who was clearly in a state of severe discomfort in front of the camera. Watching this after repeated viewings of Riding Giants is especially funny, because he is now completely at ease with being filmed and interviewed. I guess he put on poise and self-confidence along with those 30 or 40 pounds of muscle. Occy is a gas, the prototypical fun Aussie, and a natural performer. There's also a twinge of sadness at seeing the late, great Mark Foo in his prime.
Even if you don't surf, you'll find this entertaining. I agree with the previous reviewers who opine that it has a lot more in common with Beach Blanket movies than reality, but it is fun to watch.
Winning a surfing tourney in a wave tank in Arizona, Rick takes his $500 prize and puts off going to art school to "ride the big waves of the north shore." Upon arrival, his buddy, a seedy strip bar owner, forgets that he told Rick he could stay with him. Luckily he meets up with a couple of Aussie surfers who take him to the north shore.
When the surfing finally commences, we see how much of a barney rick really is. "Twinnie? No one rides twinnie in Hawaii. He must think he's still on the mainland or something." So, his skills sucks and a local gang, the hui, robs him. With no place to stay and little else to speak of, Rick befriends a local, Turtle, who introduces him to his boss, Chandler, an old school soul surfer.
Offering Rick his hospitality, Chandler teaches Rick how to surf for the soul, downplaying the younger attitude of competition. Rick's skills progress in and out of the water and the hilarity ensues.
On Rick's journey, he meets Chandler, who's "one of the best surfboard shapers in Hawaii, possibly the world." Chandler gives Rick the idea that surfing is for the "Soul" not "Hot-dogging".
This movie inspired me to be a "soul" surfer. And, now almost 20 years later, I still call "North Shore" on of my most favorite movies of all-time.