The skating sequence in the movie is awesome fast paced action and the rest of the movie is a good example of what it's like to go through the burden of changing schools and coping with peer pressure. An all-around great movie. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000. As a teen, this was always one of the unheard of movies I watched many times for some reason. It's great! Even though I don't care for the sport.
All the usual beats are hit in this one. He loses the girl and has to get her back. He has to stand up for himself. Like I said... you've seen it before.
The main guy gets a little annoying due to his surf speak that comes off a little strong here and there but there is some sunlight in the form of Seth Green and Jack Black.
It's a fun flick though. I've seen it tons of times and enjoy it each viewing.
What's worth noting here is appearances by a couple of actors who would stick around for a long time. Notably, Jack Black (playing a high school kid) and Seth Green (extra pale, and with long hair..almost a pretty-boy Danny Cooksy...or I guess like a more mothered, grown up version of Danny in Diff'rent Strokes). Honorable mention, Brittney Powell later did a photo shoot for playboy. Shane McDermott, on the other hand, would see this as his crowning achievement in his screen acting career.
Why do so many people like this movie? That's obvious. It has a very high intangible nostalgia factor, mainly because of the unique cast. Edie McClurg plays the perfect psycho overprotective Aunt and Seth Green was an obvious choice for a weird uncoordinated cousin. Combine all the surfing, roller blading, hockey, bad rock music, and dated hair cuts you could ask for and you have all of the ingredients for a successful 90's family movie.
Why didn't I explode with joy and give this movie a really good review? That's because it really is just an average movie. Sure it's got the names to make it stand the test of time (Jack Black) but really that isn't enough on it's own to make this movie more than the sum of it's parts. The biggest factor in the equation for me personally was the exemplified stereotypes of the school's social caste system and peoples of the mid-west in general. They practically made Cincinnati look like Siberia. Which didn't make any sense to me because he would've moved there in the Summer time if here was there only 9 weeks before school started. Also, I felt like the writers missed a real opportunity to take advantage of casting Seth Green by neglecting to develop his character's internal struggle with social brevity. Sure the man bumbles around women, everyone has been there, but if he is such a social outcast why doesn't he do any geeky social outcast things? All he does is hang out in the basement and put stickers on the wall.
Another character duo which was underutilized was the Chris Conrad and Jack Black duo. Immediately they hate this new surfer kid from LA for all of the stereotypical reasons. What I didn't understand is why they were so 2-dimensional. It's like someone wrote down "Chris and Jack hate Mitchell but after Mitchell does something they respect they're best friends" on a character description and then didn't give them another thought.
One of the other things I struggled with was the idea that a 16 year old kid isn't responsible enough to live at home with minimal supervision. Why did they have to ship him off to Ohio? It's not like he was a trouble maker. Moreover, since when did all of the schools in Australia disappear? Abandoning Mitchell was just a dick move.
I guess I should talk about Mitchell as well. He is the quintessential surfer kid. When he ain't surf'n he's wish'n he was surf'n. When he's not wish'n he was surf'n he is roller blading around 90's style everywhere he goes. For the most part I understand his motif. I don't really understand the "never fight" mentality. If someone disrespects you and your woman, fight back. It's not ok to let people get away with whatever they want just because you don't condone violence. If dropping someone's pants is the funniest thing you've ever seen then you have a problem. Most of the time I just thought that Mitchell was blissfully laid back when he should've been on guard. In my mind the biggest question mark surrounding Mitchell is WHERE THE HELL DID HE LEARN HOW TO PLAY HOCKEY? He admits that he's never seen a hockey game so how does he know how to stick handle and score? That's like saying you can immediately kick ass at Lacrosse because you're good at running. It just doesn't compute.
What did I like about this movie? For me the best part was the over the top fashion show Seth Green put on to the tune of I'm Too Sexy by Right Said Fred. I realize that Mitchell's laughter was fake but mine was real. Other than that I thought that the camera work on the final race was nothing short of outstanding. They used very good angles all around. The tracking shot used on the bridge is a striking way to show both the speed and the desperation the kids experienced towards the end of the race.
What was the most baffling part of this movie? Seth Green's sudden sex appeal. It's like he went from zero to hero by failing in public repeatedly. He never changed but somehow after Mitchell's Popeye speech Seth "looks" different to the ladies. I guess it could also have something to do with the fact that Seth stood up for his girl in the diner but all he did was get shoved around so that can't be it right? Whatever the logic was I didn't get it.
Why does the end of this movie suck? It sucks because even though Mitchell and Seth come out on top he still has to move back to LA in a few months. So no matter how good his life gets in Ohio it's all fleeting anyway; which was his whole point in the first place. If anyone is a sucker it's Mitchelll for caring so much about something that he's recognizes isn't worth the effort.
Should you watch this movie? If you like Seth Green, yes you should. If you like 90's teen movies, yes you should. If you're name is not on that list you can skip this one because by the end the movie is very average.
Seth Green though... this is not your greatest moment...and I am completely talking about your hairdo.