Chasing Mavericks Review [Spoilers]

Amanda Doughty ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

Gerard Butler and Jonny Weston in “Chasing Mavericks.” Photo courtesy of FOX and Walden Media.
If there is one thing this movie taught me, it is that real life is not scripted like a movie. There were several moments when I was like “why is this even happening it has nothing to do with the plot,” then I remembered it was based on a true story.
The film centers around 15 year old Jay Moriarty (played by Jonny Weston), a surfing prodigy with an alcoholic mother and an absent father. Ever since he was yanked out of the water by his surfer neighbor, Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler), Jay has loved surfing, and idolized his neighbor. One day, Jay follows Frosty to the water and sees Frosty surfing thirty-foot waves. Being the daredevil that he is, Jay decides he wants to surf them too. It takes some persuasion from his wife, but Frosty eventually agrees to teach him how to “survive” that wave. This training process, and the father-son-like relationship formed in the process, is the focus of this movie, while touching upon how it affects Jay’s relationship with his friends and love interest Kim (Leven Rambin).
Despite being a relatively interesting story, the movie has several faults. One of these faults is how they do not really explain the aspects of surfing in the movie. For example, they never actually say that the giant waves are called Mavericks. Thus, when they stop calling them “giant waves” and start calling them “mavericks,” the movie gets a little confusing until you figure that aspect out. A person who knows little about surfing would have a little bit of a hard time understanding what they were saying at parts.
Another issue is the acting. At times, it’s so bad that the movie is barely watchable. This particularly applies to Weston. Weston’s nasally voice makes him incredibly hard to take seriously, and his face never really only has two expressions: a pouty/angry face, and a happy/confused face. I truly believe that this boy was only cast because he looked the part. Next time, focus on getting a good actor. His love interest, played by Leven Rambin, is not much better. Whether she’s doing a happy, flirty scene with Weston, or a deeper scene with Butler towards the end, she is not convincing. Granted, some of this has to do with the writing that at some times was terribly corny, however they still could have done a lot more.
The one saving grace to the acting is Gerard Butler. Butler plays the mentor role well, and is pretty captivating in the more vulnerable scenes. But even he has moments where his acting is not very good, especially when he’s trying to be angry. He is, however, the catalyst of the overall best scene in the movie, which comes at the very end at Jay’s funeral seven years after the mavericks incident. At the funeral, Frosty throws water in the air yelling “To Jay!” and all the others do the same. It was simple, and very touching. In fact, I feel that I would not have liked the movie much at all if this scene had not been included. It was the most authentic scene acting-wise, and really saved the movie. Without it, this movie would have been just another overly cheesy story of an underdog with a dream.
See It: If you really like surfing, extreme stunts, or inspiring true stories.
Don’t See It: If you can’t handle bad acting.

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