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A BROKEDOWN MELODY (a J!-ENT Surfing DVD Review)

October 31, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

“Absolutely beautiful!  One of the best surf films to feature awesome cinematography all on 16MM but also a surfing film with substance and just all out enjoyment of surfing not just from popular surfers featured on this film but the people from those countries that embrace the surf life but in their own way.  Awesome!”

FILM: A BROKEDOWN MELODY

FILM RELEASE DATE: 2004

DISTRIBUTED BY: Woodshed Films

RATED: NOT RATED

DURATION: 55 minutes, EXTRA FEATURES: 45 minutes

Directed by Chris Malloy

Produced by Emmet Malloy and Tim Lynch

Co-Producer: Kelly Slater

Creative Director: Dusty Lynn

Director of Photography: Dave Homcy

Edited by Clark Eddy, Dustin Lynn

Art Direction: Dave Lively and Chris Malloy

A Film by Chris and Emmet Malloy

Starring:

Mark Cunningham

Jack Johnson

Gerry Lopez

Rob Machado

Kelly Slater

A BROKEDOWN MELODY follows swell through South America, Polynesia and Jamaica documenting in 16mm film the surfing of Kelly Slater, Gerry Lopez, Jack Johnson, Mike Todd, Mark Cunningham, C.J. Hobgood, The Wilmots, The Malloys and Rob Machado.

Music from Jack Johnson, Eddy Vedder, Beta Band, Kings of Convenience, Doug Martsch, Kruder and Dorfmeister, Astor Piazzola, Mikey Einziger, Johnny Osbourne, M. Ward, Matt Costa, Culver City Dub Collective, Todd Hanigan, Xocoyotzin Moraza and more.

THE TRAILER:

I remember purchasing this video and just stoked about watching popular surfers such as Kelly Slater to legend Gerry Lopez and also to see singer/surfer Jack Kohnson and many others together in a surfing film.   Oh, and my favorite surfer Tom Curren also stars in this film and many others who are not mentioned on the back cover.

Granted, you see many surfers from different surfing companies in various films but this one, rarely are you going to see a surfing film with Kelly Slater, Gerry Lopez, Jack Johnson, Rob Machado and a few others together like this.

But what I enjoyed this film is just the incredible videography that I’ve watched it so many times over the years because it’s not so much about watching these legendary surfers surf, it’s about the environment, the life and embracing the location and the people in the area.

Watching the surf team from Jamaica to these kids using broken boards to surf to the Jamaican Surf Team, that was just so cool to see.  Overall, this film was truly a cool surfing experience with one of the coolest visual experiences of a surf film that I’ve seen (and I’ve watched many surfing films).

I don’t know if I would call it a classic but I really enjoyed the film, it wasn’t so much in your face but it was about substance and surfing as a way of life and the people who live in South America, Polynesia and Jamaica.  So, all in all, I truly digged “A BROKEDOWN MELODY”.

VIDEO:

For a surfing film, I felt the video on 16mm was just a fantastic way to document this film.  The colors looked vibrant and just overall, it had a look that wasn’t to crispy clear, had that edge and noise with some of the dust that you would expect to see.  Visually, the colors and overall look were very cool!

AUDIO:

Although this film is more of a surfing/documentary style and a lot of dialogue, the focus on audio is primarily the cool music by Jack Johnson, Eddie Vedder and many other talents.  Music definitely gave a great ambience throughout the film.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

This DVD comes with several special features.  Extra surf segments is pretty much nearly 27-minutes worth of extra footage.  This extra footage are just in par with the actual film, I’m guessing was cut out for pacing reasons but still watching the cut footage is actually better than a lot of stand-alone DVD’s that are twice as long.

For “Moonshine Videos”, you get the music videos for Ben Harper’s “With My Own Two Hands” and “Diamonds on the Inside” and you get the “Taylor” outtakes which is a short segment featuring actor Ben Stiller pretending to talk surf lingo with two guys.

For “Surf Aid International”, pretty much a five minute segment about what the organization is about and how it helps people in other countries that are less fortunate and how they bring doctors to help people affected by malaria.  Pretty much focusing on a guy named Dave who is a doctor who was surfing in another country and went to a nearby village to see how he can help people in the village and learned that they really needed his help.  He quit his high paying job, sold his house to help the villagers and use low-cost vaccines and education to help the villages.

“A BROKEDOWN MELODY” is just a fantastic film.  Not too long and not boring at all.  It’s just visually appealing and the various cuts and editing featuring the beautiful waves, the landscapes and the people from that live near the area just enjoying the surf along with the surfers was just incredible to see.

So, pretty much, I felt that I got more for my money with this surfing DVD.

Surfers looking for aerials or big wave surfing, this is not the video you are looking for.  For surfers that just want to enjoy surfers like Kelly Slater, Tom Curren, Gerry Lopez, Jack Johnson and others surfing in South America, Polynesia and Jamaica and just enjoy the overall scenery and to hear not just from the surfers about the experience but also the villagers, you don’t really see that in a surfing film.

Definitely worth owning!

FIVE SUMMER STORIES (a J!-ENT Surfing DVD Review)

October 23, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

A look back at surfing past during a time of the Vietnam War, President Nixon and a change in the world of surfing, surfbreaks, women in surfing, the growing popularity of skateboarding.  For any surfing DVD that is worth having in your collection, this one is a true classic and a must own!

FILM:  Five Summer Stories

YEAR OF FILM: 1972

DISTRIBUTED BY: Surfing Video Network

RATED: NOT RATED

DURATION: 1:29:38

Directed by Greg MacGillivray

Written by Jim Freeman, Greg MacGillivray

Produced by Jim Freeman, Greg MacGillivray

Music by Honk

Cinematography by Bud Browne, Jim Freeman, Greg MacGilllivray

Starring:

Eddie Aikau

Sam Hawk

Gerry Lopez

David Nuuhiwa

Corky Carroll

Shaun Tomson

Heralded as “the finest surf movie ever made,” Five Summer Stories is a cultural icon, a time capsule from a watershed era when the world was at a critical crossroads and its reflection was clear in the emerging sport/art of surfing.

Against a backdrop of the Vietnam War and the Nixon years, Five Summer Stories was the culmination of the joint surf-film careers of Jim Freeman and Greg MacGillivray.  Code named “The Last Surfing Movie” during production, the movie portrays a young, outlaw sport at a strategic point of its creative evolution-and at an historic crux in time.  Now you, too, can do what the audience of the 1970s did-you can hoot and scream and go crazy-all in the privacy of your own home.

THE LAST SURFING MOVIE – “Five Summer Stories” is Greg MacGillivray and Jim Freeman’s last surfing film.  It is the culmination of a ten year celebration in celluloid that includes the classics “Free and Easy, Waves of Change and The Sunshine Sea”.  In Five Summer Stories”, Greg and Jim give us five plus exciting, controversial and beautiful stories about surfing.  From these stories comes a perspective on surfing that warns of the future while it warms the present.  SUMMER: NOT A SEASON BUT A STATE OF MIND.

I’ve heard so much about Jim Freeman and Greg MacGillivray’s (the founder of IMAX) film “Five Summer Stories” (and “Sunshine Sea”) many times from fellow surfers and before it was released in DVD, I’ll admit seeing the VHS at various surf shop for years but I always found myself using the money towards surf wax or new board shorts because what people were selling were these expensive limited edition signed sets and so I passed.

Flash forward many years later and it’s been gnawing in the back of my mind that I still haven’t seen the film yet and so, I drove to my local surf shop and picked up “Five Summer Stories” on DVD.

I’ve heard about how this film was one of the first major budget films as it was the first film on stereo, it was the first film that paid a surfer (Gerry Lopez) for appearing in the film and how this film literally packed theaters who just loved the surfing, seeing popular surfers from the 70′s and also from the past just showing off their passion and also music by the Beach Boys and Honk.

Having watched the DVD again for I don’t know how many times since I bought it, I figured that I might as well type up a review on my thoughts of the film.

The film is titled “Five Summer Stories” and features various stories somewhat broken down in five categories.  The first story titled ” A Hawaiian Odyssey” featuring Hawaii in 1972 and various surfers in Hawaii at various locations such as the North Shore, Sunset, Waikiki.  From shots of the various activities in the 1970′s, from people in Hawaii at events, to ladies in bikinis and even a young Laird Hamilton at the age of 10.

Chapter 1 3/8 would feature the surfing scene in the 1950′s and 1960′s with the popularity of surf films, surf shops, knee boarding, Duke and the big surfers at that time.  Micky Dora, Nat Young, Midget Farrelly, Corky Carroll, David Nuuhiwa and more.

Chapter 2 titled “Different Drummers” features major surfers commenting on up and coming surfers of the early 70s.  Also, an interesting segment with Corky Carrol with a mic taped to his body while surfing.

Chapter 2 1/2 is titled “Magic Rolling Board” and this featured the popularity of skateboarding during the 70′s.  This was pretty fun to see the various stunts that people would pull off and the crazy fandom at that time.

Chapter 2 3/4 is titled “Contest Weight”.  This would focus on various surfing competitions in the 70′s.

Chapter 3 titled “Women in Motion” features popular women surfing from 1958 through the early 1970s.  It was great to see women such as Lynne Boyer, Linda Benson, Joyce Hoffman and others who revolutionized surfing.

Chapter 3 1/4 features Shaun Tomson and 3 1/2 is titled “Bright Stars” and features two surfers.

Chapter 4 features a combination of surfing and old school animation.  Chapter 4 3/4 titled “Is Surfing Closed Out” and this one features popular surf breaks and its changes from the 60′s to 1995 (new footage).

Chapter 5 is titled “Heaven’s Gift to Man: Tunnel of Love” which features a combination of surfing and animation.  Focusing on surfers riding the tube.

VIDEO:

Considering the film was released in 1972, many scenes looked pretty well done and the video looks like it held up quite well through the years.  The problem is that I don’t know how much was added in newer footage versus what was shown in the 1970′s.  But all in all, the older footage looks pretty good on DVD.

AUDIO:

A lot of music and narration.  A lot of people who grew up in the 70′s have always talked about the awesome soundtrack and people who have seen the original film have said the film version of the DVD has its music replaced (half of the Beach Boys music replaced).  So, again…not having seen the original 70′s film, I don’t know how much music was changed from the original to this present DVD version.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

There are no special features but there is a 1:29 minute prologue asking people “What were you doing in 1972?”.  Prologue was misspelled as prologe but very minor quirp.

Personally, I can see why this movie is a classic and I definitely agree it is a time capsule for surfing past.  There are so many cutscenes, surfing and a bit of humor and fun included in this film and for a film created in 1972, I can tell you that the footage looks much better than a lot of surfing DVD’s and VHS I own from the 80s and 90s.

For me, I enjoy watching legends like Gerry Lopez and even seeing Corky Carroll just ripping and just having fun on the waves.  There are so many legendary surfers on this film and of course, many of them were in their teens or twenties at the time, so it was cool to see them surf.

I actually enjoy humorous cut scenes and footage that may not seem as much to others but yeah, sing Bill Hamilton and little Laird surfing at the age of 10 and 11 was pretty cool because that little kid has grown up to become one of the best big wave surfers of all time.

I’ve read some reviews about how the DVD version of the film does not have the original music as the original film and it truly was a bummer to them.  I have not seen the original film with the original Beach Boys soundtrack, so I am not affected.  But I supposed I can understand in someways when I watch a DVD for a television show and the music was changed because they don’t have the music rights for the DVD releases and yeah, if you don’t like the music which replaced the original, yeah, I can see that really dampening the experience for some.

Also, I noticed that the original film clocks in at 94 minutes, while this DVD version clocks in at 89:38.  So, five minutes maybe were cut?  Not sure.  I do know that near the end, we see 1995 footage, so not sure if the film was re-edited to celebrate its 25th Anniversary or what.

But all in all, this film is one of the few surfing DVD’s that I can say is worth owning.  I enjoyed watching the classic 70s footage and the fact that the film tried to introduced so many parts to it, all in all, it was fun.  Was it better than “Endless Summer”, I’m more biased towards “Endless Summer” but overall, “Five Summer Stories” was just fun to watch and having it in my collection definitely has me stoked!

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