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Thicker Than Water (2000)

Thicker Than Water is a 2000 documentary surf film directed by singer/songwriter Jack Johnson and his film school friend Chris Malloy. It shows surfing footage from different locations like... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Raimana Boucher Raimana Boucher
Saxon Boucher Saxon Boucher
Timmy Curran Timmy Curran
Shane Dorian
Brad Gerlach
Conan Hayes Conan Hayes
Jack Johnson
Noah Johnson Noah Johnson
Taylor Knox Taylor Knox
Rob Machado
Chris Malloy Chris Malloy
Dan Malloy
Emmett Malloy Emmett Malloy
Keith Malloy Keith Malloy
Kelly Slater


Thicker Than Water is a 2000 documentary surf film directed by singer/songwriter Jack Johnson and his film school friend Chris Malloy. It shows surfing footage from different locations like Australia, Indonesia, Hawaii, India, and Ireland in combination with a wide range of styles of guitar music. Surfers in the film include Kelly Slater and Shane Dorian. Written by Panda

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Plot Keywords:

surfing | See All (1) »









Release Date:

1 January 2000 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Australia See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Poor Specimen Productions See more »
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User Reviews

Cowbell? Nope. This feature needed more Waves.
11 October 2007 | by film-criticSee all my reviews

All should know that I am a huge fan of surfing movies. From "Endless Summer" to "Riding Giants" and even the small "Billabong Odyssey", I have been there to watch the greats catch some of the greatest waves in history – and be there with a camera. It is phenomenal to watch these small men ride creations of nature. It is these types of movies that make you want to grab a board, learn to surf, and fly to Hawaii just to experience the North Shore. These films evoke a sense of excitement, the push you to the limits, and make your jaw drop to the floor. Having seen most of the more recent surf films, I was on the hunt for a new palate of cinematography. I wanted to explore the next level in the surfing genre, sadly, what I experienced was a little over-hyped surfing documentary called "Thicker than Water". Helmed by the musically inclined Jack Johnson, I was prepared for some great surf, amazing music, and people that I would never forget as I continue my quest as a pho-surfer. Alas, that wasn't the case with this movie. I have no idea where the hype seems to be, if maybe only for the purist of surfers, but what I experienced was an amateurish feature, with no opportunity for involvement, and a sound that seemed like scraps off the dinner table. Nothing was worth enjoying, and for me, this 45-minute feature took nearly three days to watch.

I must admit, the concept for this film was good. I liked the idea of friends out surfing these remote spots of the world, seeing through their eyes places I may never see in my existence, but what I didn't need was rush images of people with no introduction, sappy tunes, and upper-class individuals rubbing it in my face the wealth of their parents. This wasn't a film about surfing, while there was plenty of it in the film, but instead an opportunity for these guys piggy-back on Mr. Johnson's career in hopes of making a cult surf film. "Thicker than Water" eventually turned out to be nothing more than a couple of guys surfing the baby pool at each exotic location. When I watch a movie like this, I hope to see tremendous waves that show me how impressive these guys are with their trade. I wanted to have my jaw drop on the floor with excitement over what maneuver I would see next, or how big Mother Nature would get for the next surfer, but it never happened. For 45-minutes we went to remote locations with no name (could someone tell me where they went – please!), with surfers with no name (could someone give me some history on these athlete's – please!), and pathetic waves. Am I being too negative on this film? Nope, if 45-minutes of a sport that I loved bored me, than something definitely wasn't working.

Arg. As I read the mostly positive reviews of this film, I am puzzled. What was it that drew most of the audience in? As I read words like "beautiful cinematography" and "unusual and exotic music", I just get completely puzzled. Did I miss something? Am I not as big of a fan as I once thought I was? Are there fans that could sit through this more than once? While I think most will say "yes" after reading this critical review, I just don't think I can honestly say that I enjoyed any part of this film – outside of the audio commentary. The commentary provided me with the missing puzzle pieces that this film horribly missed. It provided a voice, a direction, and a focus that the original 45-minute feature lacked. I needed this guidance. I wanted to hear the story of these guys told through any means necessary. The sporadic filming, the graininess of the view, and the overall ambiance of "Thicker than Water" was so diluted that watching kids on a raft in a wave pool would have been more entertaining.

Overall, I cannot suggest this film to anyone except those needing a good night's sleep. The music, while I am a fan of Jack Johnson's work, is not the caliber you would come to expect from him, the film itself is pointless and excessively random with horrid dubs and inconsistent A to B direction. I love surfing films, but this one lacks the draw and power of the others mentioned. Not that I need all the flash, I don't mind a pure film about surfing, but give me names, give me places, give me stories. All of these features are what make up a true surfing documentary. We need words (actually ANYTHING) to go with the waves. In "Thicker than Water" the waves were just not enough.

Grade: * out of *****

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