Johnny Tsunami (1999 TV Movie)
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The fact remains, Johnny Tsunami managed to interweave every possible story line/ tale of adversity/ racial conflict that engulfed the era in which this film was released. It tackled problems of parents being too controlling, young love, as well as radical grandparents who serf. Honestly, what more you could ask you in a film/ work of art? One may argue, in fact, I will be that one to do so, that this film was the greatest film of our generation. You may think I am jumping the gun on this one (or, Jumping Ship, in Disney Chanel Original Movie language), but frankly, I feel that we all connected with Johnny's struggle against the mountain, while struggling against his inner demons as well. This film is amazing, outstanding, and swell. A must see. No... not just a a must, rather, it is a must live and experience.
But Johnny's parents played by Yuji Okumoto and Mary Page Keller are going to be moving to Vermont where Johnny is going to get to go to a fashionable prep school because Okumoto is going to teach computer programming.
The free and easy life of Hawaii contrasts with the snobbery he finds among all the young yuppies of the future. And while Johnny finds he's managed to adapt his surfing skills to snowboarding, the ruling elite in the school are skiers as headed by an especially snotty young preppie in Zachary Bostrum.
It's a Disney Channel production so don't expect the best in the way of acting, but Johnny Tsunami has two very good things going for it. Nice location photography both in Hawaii and Vermont and very good chemistry between Brandon Baker and Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa as the junior and senior Tsunamis. Their scenes together are really something special.
Johnny Tsunami proved to be one of the most popular of Disney features, warranting a sequel, Johnny Kapahala, Back on Board with most of the same cast. I've always maintained Hawaii is so beautiful it's almost impossible to make a bad picture there. At least I've seen very few of them.
Look also for a good performance by Gregory Itzin as the headmaster of the prep school whose attitudes are most reflected by the student body.
"Which side will he choose?????"
This movie, as well as the question above, teaches us a lesson about how we should live life and what type of friends we should have. It almost reminds me of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken:"
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I; I had taken the road less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."
"Johnny Tsunami" is just like that. Watch it!
Johnny goes from shredding raging monsters down at pipeline with Jake to workin' the hill with Sam all with wonderful transitions and excellent story lines. I wouldn't want to give too much away, but he even gets the girl.
Johnny:"How come you never told me you could snowboard grandpa?" Grandpa:"How come you never asked?"