125 user 4 critic

SPF-18 (2017)

1:20 | Trailer
18-year-old Penny Cooper spent years pining for Johnny Sanders Jr., but when a mysterious musician shows up on the beach, Penny is torn.


Alex Israel


Alex Israel (story by), Michael Berk (story by) | 1 more credit »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Carson Meyer ... Penny Cooper
Noah Centineo ... Johnny Sanders Jr.
Bianca A. Santos ... Camilla Barnes (as Bianca Santos)
Jackson White ... Ash Baker
Sean Russel Herman ... Steve Galmarini
Rosanna Arquette ... Faye Cooper
Molly Ringwald ... Linda Sanders
Goldie Hawn ... Narrator
Gregory Harris Gregory Harris ... Jeff
J.D. Hinton ... Eliot Webb (as James David Hinton)
Julianna Robinson ... Eliot's Assistant
Juan Monsalvez ... Carlos
Victoria Bruno ... Touristy Teen
Steven Cox ... Surfer Bro
Keanu Reeves ... Self - Keanu Reeves
Learn more

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Five high school grads on the cusp of adulthood have their summer of discovery while surfing and house-sitting at Keanu Reeves' elegant beach house. Penny seeks to finally lose her virginity with Johnny. Johnny, in the wake of his father's death, wants to make a choice between art school and surfing. Cousin Camilla wants to be taken seriously. Country singer-guitarist Ash wants to be himself. Suspended surfer Steve wants to find his place on the beach. Written by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Don't Get Burned


Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual material, nudity, language and some drug references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Writer and director Alex Israel managed to secure the rights to the track "Hungry like the wolf" by Duran Duran as he had just produced artwork for their 2015 album "Paper Gods". Israel met Duran Duran through his friend China Chow (who serves as a producer on the film.) See more »


When Sundown Records are watching the YouTube video the gang made, the assistant of Eliot Webb (Sundown Records executive) reports that they had to "close down comments" on the video. This would not be possible as they did not post it on their own YouTube account and would not have access to Penny Coopers. See more »


Penny Cooper: [about her modified swimsuit] You sure it doesn't look too much like a tiger tried to undress me?
See more »


References The Matrix (1999) See more »


Written by Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet
Performed by Yazoo
See more »

User Reviews

In defense of SPF-18: On the perils of creativity
4 November 2017 | by SpookyUserSee all my reviews

SPF-18 is a bad movie but not bad in the same way Fast and the Furious; Geostorm or any other mainstream movie is bad, it's bad almost exclusively because making movies is hard and this is the first movie Alex Israel has made.

In fact, I almost feel empathetic toward Alex Israel, the film now hitting Netflix is going to result in a barrage of negative reviews and some really amazing negative reviews like the one above mine. We might even see this movie join the ranks of "Troll 2" or any other "so bad it's good movie." Yet, when I watched this movie it had a strangely positive effect on me. I think this is because I watched SPF-18 while taking a break editing my own short movie. In fact, it was exactly after I had finished the first cut of my movie and felt nauseous after seeing how unwatchable it was. Taking a break watching a "nice" movie - I thought - might make it easier to edit and distract me from the the reality of what I had made. Instead what I watched was SPF-18.

During the movie there was a lot going on in my brain, the first scene played with the main character doing a type of Vlog or whatever and I thought the movie was shaping up to be interesting. Then the film proper started. I noticed the bad acting first, as it's the most noticeable, and to begin with I considered stopping the movie - but instead I continued watching it. As the movie played, I started just feeling bad for Alex Israel. I thought of what went into making my own movie; how hard it was trying to find good actors; how long it took to film; how high the hopes we had going in were and how mediocre and quite frankly unwatchable the results were. All this while watching the cringe delivery of lines frankensteined together with drone footage made me imagine Alex Israel on set trying to explain each character's motivation in the hot sun, when probably he was unsure himself; the millions of takes it took to get a shot of a Jeep turning off the road that was ultimately for a scene that turned out to be so unnecessary i'm surprised it even came up as an idea. But most of what I was thinking is that Alex Israel knows SPF-18 isn't good, just like I know the movie I'm currently editing isn't good. Not only that, anyone watching the final cut of SPF-18 knows it's not good. The actors, the grip and Pamela Anderson doing her completely necessary cameo - they all know it's bad.

And yet here we are watching this movie on Netflix. This is certainly not what Alex Israel imagined in his brain when thinking of the movie and I can feel that deep deep deep down the movie has some goodness in it. If the script had better dialogue, if the acting was better we might have been watching something like Garden State, instead of what the film now is. But that's not what happened and this is what we are ultimately left to judge the movie by. What we are left with, while probably not what Alex Israel wanted, had a profoundly positive effect on me. As soon as SPF-18 was over I went back to editing feeling invigorated, for one reason alone: However bad my movie was, it wasn't going to be SPF-18 bad. I felt permission to suck. To a further extent, I, like Alex Israel, am going to make tons of bad movies before I make a good one. This is ultimately why making movies or choosing any creative pursuit is hard. Not because it's hard to technically make the film - though that too - but rather because it's hard to make bad things when you know that they are bad during the production of the bad thing. The slow and tortuous dynamic of making something bad and then getting a little bit better and then making something bad again but being a little bit better is how art works. You only get better by sharing it with the world. While there are certainly savants who have made perfect movies on their first try - that is not an accurate picture of how ordinary art is made. David Bayles and Ted Orland highlight this extremely well in their book "Art and Fear." Ordinary art is a skill that you get better at by getting humiliated most of the time. This message of "Art and Fear" and others like it, is hard to remember on it's own and it certainly is easier to remember when you are in between projects and harder to convince yourself of in the process of them. But to me SPF-18 provides the perfect reminder of "Art and Fear", "The War of Art" and others like them. Pressfield puts it best in this single sentence:

"It's better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot."

SPF-18 is exactly what Pressfield meant by that line. Being in the arena is not pretty, but it's worth it, because eventually; after getting knocked down enough times you will have made something worth making.

I look forward to Alex Israel's next movie because I know that it will be better than this and, perhaps, in a couple years we might be looking back on Israel as a talented director.

In the meantime I'm going to get back to editing my movie and perhaps, in the future sometime, watch SPF-18 and read this review again - when I need reminding of this message and how crucial it is to any creative endeavour.

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Release Date:

29 September 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

SPF-18 See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Alex Israel See more »
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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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