The opening monologue says it all. Well, maybe it slurs it all.
But there’s a very clear message hidden in the haze of Randal’s Budweiser drawl, which starts 22 seconds in if you’re too busy or attention defunct or out of Adderall and can’t wait through the opening credits. Anybody who knows anything about communication — insert shameless plug for where I earned my degree here — will stress that it’s about what you say and how you say it.
It ain’t made up to look some like little put together production where yeah these guys are hot and they hang out and they play guitar — we ain’t got none of that.
“To look some like little” is not a typo. It’s verbatim. But what Randal’s speech lacks in structure, it makes up for in significance. There’s something very compelling about that rasp. Something that feels different and maybe even important, like it’d be worth seeing through. It’s like the first time you hear Dylan and it actually resonates — except in this case, Dylan is too drunk to know who Woody Guthrie is and is probably homeless but not in the chic Greenwich Village kind of way. The fact that it rolls straight into a fast and loud Circle Jerks song adds to the effect.
The next 80 minutes consist of surfing and lifestyle footage that prove the voice you just heard doesn’t belong to a liar. Instead of guys strumming away on on the bow of a ship at sunset, you get guys lighting themselves on fire, diving into trashcans, throwing things at other things, breaking things with other things, boobs, being too drunk to utilize spoken word, bodyboarding down drainage ditches, etcetera. Instead of seeing the world’s elite weave through perfectly blue Indo barrels, you see a mix of pros and average guys doing chop hops in the dirty brown water outside of a sleezy Atlantic City casino. The entire film was different — maybe even important — and I took it upon myself to see it through.
I watched The Decline Of Surfing Civilization and other old …Lost movies religiously throughout my adolescence. With time, I became old enough to convince morally corrupt (but not quite depraved) strangers to buy me beer and I drank it. If I drank too much of it I would do things like light my hair on fire, boobs, tackle garbage cans or take my clothes off. Was it smart? No. Vain? Yeah. Reckless? Sure. Advisable? Never. I could have invested my time and effort into healthier, more productive pursuits. Most kids probably should…but I had fun.
Tons of it. I was pre-disposed to becoming a degenerate. The combination of my nature and my nurture brought that upon me, not …Lost movies. However, those movies showed me that there was more to surfing than long hair and guitar playing. Just like Bob Dylan showed people there was more to music than the fucking Beach Boys. Those movies opened my eyes, they showed me the light (or the darkness) and I chased it. I’m grateful for that.
I grateful because you know what I’m doing on Saturday morning? Going to a workshop on how to make stained glass art with my girlfriend, whom I love and live with. Oceanside. 9 AM. Don’t be late. I don’t think that would have been possible if I hadn’t gotten those wild years out of my system, if I was 13 and tried to mend myself to fit the mold of the Endless Summer just because I was 13 and wanted to be a surfer and that’s just what surfers do. I’m grateful for the fact that I tried riding a bodyboard down a flight of stairs because now I know what that’s like and I know that I don’t need to do that anymore. And now I’m settled. That desire is dead. In a roundabout sort of way, …Lost movies helped me arrive here. In a roundabout way, I thank that voice.
As for the chop hops? Yeah, I guess I still do those. Maybe every silver lining does have a touch of grey. —Brendan Buckley