What does Point Break--you know, that bank robbing surfing movie starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze from the ’90s?–have in common with Spice World and Clueless? It’s MUFF approved.
Before you start accusing us of using inappropriate language and the like, let us explain. This Thursday, Point Break is being shown as part of the MUFF–that’s Monthly Underground Female Films–Society, a monthly screening series held at Toronto’s Royal Cinema and meant to celebrate movies for and/or by women. The first two films screened (Spice World and Clueless) were no-brainers for MUFF, what with their female leads and general *GIRL POWER!*-ness. But this latest film kinda is one too.
We got a chance to talk with MUFF Society founder Siân Melton this week and she has so many reasons–female empowerment-related and otherwise!–for why she picked Point Break as the third screening in her ongoing series. Let’s all grab a meatball sub (that’s Gary Busey’s meal of choice in this out-of-control movie, BTW) and hop on board for serious, somewhat philosophical talk about why you need to surf the Point Break wave this Galentine’s Day, either with Melton and her MUFF (tee hee!) or with your pals at home.
It’s directed by the First Lady of Cinema, Kathryn Bigelow!
This is the one thing that people really don’t seem to know about Point Break. While we think of Bigelow, the first woman in history to win an Oscar for Best Director, as a war-torn movie maker thanks to Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker, this movie, with its male leads and bromantic themes, was actually her breakthrough film. And that’s something kinda spectacular and right in line with MUFF’s priorities.
“The fact that Kathryn Bigelow made an action movie in the ’90s, I think that deserves attention and credibility, even if two female characters don’t talk to each other and I’m pretty sure it’s just Gary Busey and a sandwich,” Melton explains, with a laugh, to Cinefilles. “The back-end of it–the directing, the writing, the producing–can make a film even if it might not be feminist in the story. And that’s kind of what Point Break is to me. I wanna show people that this movie that you don’t think a girl directed was directed by a girl.”
“I get the importance of showing strong and realistic female roles. Geena Davis said it really well when she said that in the movies, you can make a woman a doctor, she can be the president, and it will inspire young girls. Like, ‘If Geena Davis can be president, I can be too.’ But at the same time, ‘If Kathryn Bigelow can make an action movie, so can I!'”
Kathyrn knows when to be serious … and when to be fun!
You might be able to tell this from the very premise of Point Break (undercover cop played by Keanu tries to infiltrate a surfer gang that may be robbing banks in–wait for it!–dead president masks), but it’s not straight-faced at all. And yet, it also is. And this is thanks to Bigelow’s signature style, which she had down even in her early days as a filmmaker.
“I found myself watching more Kathryn Bigelow movies recently, especially her older ones, and she has this ability to make something so outrageous, yet so serious,” Melton says. “Even though you could describe the plot of Point Break to someone and be like, ‘This sounds ridiculous,’ it’s not when you’re watching it.
“I watched Strange Days around New Years and … same thing. It’s kind of a crazy premise, but watching it there’s so much adrenaline and action. Or Near Dark. Cowboy vampires? You’re like, ‘That’s amazing!’ but when you watch it, it’s a straight horror movie. There’s also comedy in it, but it’s also horrifying.”
Kathyrn understands how to move tha dudes.
Not in that way, ya pervs! Truth is, Bigelow is an expert in making action-packed sequences starring men that are exciting, ridiculous AND emotionally stirring (ya know, unlike a lot of other male-directed action scenes), and Point Break proves that. Take the “iconic chase scene,” for example.
“At one point Bodhi throws a dog at Johnny Utah and he catches it and Keanu like punts a dog!” Melton recalls. “And then they’re on fire and they’re running through doors of people’s homes. And it just ends on a shooting. It’s so good!”
It, like Kathryn and surfers, doesn’t age!
Can you believe that Bigelow is almost 60 years old? We can’t either, but clearly she’s got some fountain of youth stored in her backyard, and has been using it–on herself and her work!–since she made Point Break back in 1991. And although some of her recent films, particularly Zero Dark Thirty, may represent a certain period, this particular flick has a quality that crosses the boundaries of space and time by just being itself.
“It doesn’t feel dated,” Melton says of Point Break. “I think surfing is so timeless. Surfer guys they look the same no matter what year it is!”
It’s just a freaking blast to watch, especially with a crowd of ladies (or dudes, or whomever).
Whether or not you’re into Bigelow’s overall directing style, you’ll likely enjoy watching Point Break in a group scenario like the MUFF Society. It’s one of those movies that’s perfect for gutting with equally game friends, as you laugh both at and with some of the amazing scenes and classically quotable lines (see above).
Melton explains, “I love outrageous movies. I especially love outrageous movies you can laugh at and I love going to what people would normally hate to go see in a movie theatre just to hear everyone laughing and having a good time. Olympus Has Fallen was one of my favourite movies a couple years ago. I just saw it so many times and shouted things at the screen. I feel like Point Break is kind like that, where you get so into it.”
Oh, we’re going to get into it. Just let us go grab a quick wave, sub and a bunch of fellow MUFF enthusiasts first.
Check out the MUFF Society’s screening of Point Break this Thursday, February 12, at Toronto’s Royal Cinema. Doors open at 8:15 p.m. and the screening starts at 8:45 p.m. Be sure to arrive early to take advantage of fun photo and prize package ops!