24 Mar
Beautiful shot of water falling on Brussel sprouts

Blue Crush

“I want a girl to be on the cover of Surf magazine. It would be great if that girl were me, but any girl would do.”

– Anne Marie


The Setup

André here. I’ll be honest, I have no idea why we’re watching this movie. Apparently it’s very meaningful to Leanna or something because she’s been trying to get us to watch it for a year now. I hate sports movies so I’ve been resisting as much as possible. Growing up, I watched a lot of sports movies which really burnt me out on the genre; suffice to say, I’m not too thrilled about watching another high school sports movie. I know all the major beats for these movies and the prospect of watching Blue Crush spend an hour and a half building up to “the big game” in the same way every sports movie does honestly sounds excruciating.

But we watched it anyway. Here’s how it went down.

The Meal

Once André got it in his head that Blue Crush was a sports movie, we couldn’t get him to let it go. Rather than continue to fight him and roll our eyes, we ran with it. We aimed to make a game day feast, but one with some nutritional value rather than your usual potatoes six ways, a pound of cheese, and a side of brownies.

To start, we whipped up some roasted Brussels sprouts with apple, chile, and walnuts and some cheddar cheese. We’re all on the Brussels sprouts train, and we’ve come to think of them as a welcome bar snack for when you’re out with your buddies watching “the game” at your favorite bar. Or at least, we imagine that would be the case if we had buddies and if we watched “the game.”

The Brussels sprouts paired nicely with Ben’s recommended spicy, beer-can chicken recipe. We’re pretty sure chicken is the primary game day protein, but this particular dish allows you to feed the whole team. The sauce you make with it has just the right amount of kick but the chicken is moist and delicious on its own too. Really, you should find the time to make this recipe as it is something special.

To close it all out, we prepared a skillet cookie with a twist. Ben is observing a month without added sugar, so we did our best to respect his unsweetened wishes and made a peanut butter cookie made with chickpeas and maple syrup. It wasn’t entirely guilt-free considering we did put chocolate chips in it and topped it with ice cream, but it was ultimately still satisfying and left us with room for a drink. Admittedly, it did have us all wondering how good a fully loaded skillet cookie with all of the sugar would have tasted.

The Drink

We feel pretty confident that beer is the quintessential game day drink, but we didn’t get in this game to take pictures of beer. We drink cocktails (said in a similar fashion to the Hershire Farms tagline “Go Meat”). In this case, we drink a beer-based cocktail. We’re pretty happy that we stumbled upon this recipe because it was a good one, and it’s perfect for the warmer weather that is on its way.

The Hop, Skip, and Go Naked is a combination of an IPA, lemon vodka, and grapefruit juice sweetened with a lemon-lime simple syrup. It hits all the right citrus notes while the IPA adds just enough hoppy-ness to cut through the fruity-ness. We’ll definitely be having one (or two or three) of these again.

The Rules

😵  Drink whenever someone stands up on their board.

🏄‍♀️  Drink whenever someone wipes out.

💭 Drink whenever Anne Marie has a flashback.

The Movie

Blue Crush was…hm… Blue Crush was different. At times it felt like a straight up extreme sports movie, where you just watch a bunch of really cool extreme stunts. The fact that much of the surfing footage was actually shot at a surf competition adds to this effect. However, Blue Crush was definitely much more stunt-light and plot-heavy than any other extreme sports movie we’ve watched. Notably, there was an actual, fictional plot stringing surf scenes together.

This plot was typical of any sports movie: there’s the big event coming up that the athlete hero has been training for her whole life, but then a distraction comes along, this time in the form of a basic-ass man, and the athlete nearly loses sight of the prize until a parent, friend, mentor, or coach gets her to get her head on straight. We’ve seen it all before and Blue Crush didn’t really do anything new in that regard.

Blue Crush was different from many sports movies in that it focused on a female athlete, and didn’t revel in self-importance for choosing to do so. There was one heavy-handed moment where Anne Marie, the hero, talks about how nice it would be to see a woman on the cover of Surf magazine, but other than that, Blue Crush just let Anne Marie be Anne Marie. And that film actually works really well as a feminist piece. The movie features a woman who ends up placing her personal goals above her relationship, and a man who is happy to step back and support her when she makes that decision. It features a woman who is working hard to support a child on her own, and a group of female friends who support her in her caregiving and in pursuing her athletic goals. While we had heard bits and pieces of something like this (thank you, Tumblr), it was a pleasant surprise upon actually watching the film.

So overall, while Blue Crush wasn’t the most action packed extreme sports movie, and it didn’t have an especially original script, and the romance itself was a bummer, it still has some redeeming qualities. Blue Crush did a better job at writing three-dimensional women than many movies today, passes the Bechdel-Wallace test with flying colors, and wraps it in a relatively interesting extreme sports angle. So, we still say it’s worth a watch, in spite of its flaws.


The Reviews

Andre: Hang 5. I could dip my toe into this movie, but I couldn’t really commit. Audio issues are abundant in Blue Crush, which really took me out of it. And once I was taken out of it, I had a hard time getting back in because I didn’t find the writing or the cinematography engaging at all. Audio issues aside, I don’t think it was an especially bad movie, it just felt a little run-of-the-mill to me.

Leanna: Double overhead. That’s a surfing reference, so don’t worry if you’re not sure what that means. It’s somewhere between single overhead and triple overhead, if it helps. The point is that this movie is not without its faults, but I was shocked at how well it held up compared to other movies I loved in high school and have rewatched recently (looking at you, Mean Girls). The shots of everyone surfing are truly beautiful and definitely make you tense up when you’re not sure if someone is going to make it out of a wave before it closes in on them. The friendship and camaraderie between the main ladies feels genuine, and it’s just really believable and fun watching them banter on-screen. My favorite part, though, was how Michelle Rodriguez’s character could very well be Letty of the Fast and Furious during her amnesia stage, which makes Blue Crush a pretty decent spinoff within the Fast and Furious universe.

Ben: 75%. Blue Crush is an interesting one to review in that you can see the more interesting film hiding in it and in the hands of a little more avant-garde director could have really been a classic that would still be referenced today. As is though, it is an interesting extreme sports film wrapped up with a nice message of empowerment for women that is ultimately dragged down by the romance in it. The romance came off as your typical cheesy rom-com style that was really at odds with how the rest of the film seemed to portray itself. I ultimately would have like to see the romance option dropped, or edited slightly to turn the film into a Lesbian classic, but there was enough other potential elements of tension and character conflict that the film could have brought up. The surfing itself was beautiful, and the film allowed it to develop at the pace it needed and gave each of those scenes room to breath. You can tell there was a team that really wanted to do right by surfing or at least a non-surfers interpretation of surfing. Blue Crush is a film I will speak highly about, even if I don’t go back to watch it in the near term.

Continuing our trend of donating to organizations we believe in, this week we are donating to Skate Like A Girl, a non-profit that focuses on promoting female empowerment and leadership through skateboarding. Hard to think of a better organization to make a donation to in honor of Blue Crush.