Chasing Mavericks review

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Chasing Mavericks green light Gerard Butler Jonny Weston

This gentle father-son(ish) tale about an expert surfer and his teen apprentice is a rare “family” movie that isn’t preachy or insipid.
I’m “biast” (pro): big fan of Gerard Butler despite his attempts to put me off

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Clearly it’s a sign from somewhere that this 2012 movie hits DVD in the U.K. just as Apple releases the latest Mac OS, 10.9, code-named Mavericks. Just what is Mavericks, anyway? It’s a deadly — literally — surf area in Northern California that Apple has borrowed to name its software and that inspired real-life 1990s daredevil teenaged surfer Jay Moriarity. In this biographical drama, 15-year-old Jay (Jonny Weston) convinces his neighbor, veteran surfer Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler: Olympus Has Fallen), to teach him how to take on and survive Mavericks. How dedicated to authenticity is this film? Butler, doing his own surf stunts, was almost killed by Mavericks, that’s how. The surfing stuff looks pretty cool, but I’m no fan of any sports, except as they reveal aspects of the human spirit, and this gentle film does a nice, unassuming job of highlighting a boy’s need for adult male mentorship by creating an appealing relationship between enthusiastic Jay and gruff Frosty, and without ever indicting Jay’s overworked and overstressed single mom (Elisabeth Shue [House at the End of the Street], always a joy to see). And while this is clearly intended to be “inspirational” — read: Christian — and “family” — read: inoffensive — there’s little preachy or insipid here. See, it can be done.

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Wed, Nov 06, 2013 1:23pm

Despite my dislike of Gerard Butler in so many things, I will probably watch this. Love watching surfing. Would also like to do it, but I’m too old now to start.

Tue, Jan 14, 2014 10:32pm

Ooooooookay. I saw this on DVD the other day. So glad I got it out of the library as it had all the depth of an ABC After School Special. Every plot ‘twist’, every character introduction, everything that drives the story was telegraphed or was such a cliche that Loverman and I would turn and tell each other what was coming up. The only good bits were watching the surfing. I’d have given this a red light with the caveat of “really good surfing scenes”.