Chasing Mavericks (2012) vs. North Shore (1987)

October 26, 2012 Sarah Harding

Earnest young hero struggles to master a sport and is aided by a gruff and/or reluctant mentor. Yeah, we’ve seen it before, again and again, from Rocky to Hoosiers to Karate Kid. But there must be something we love about the formula, right? Something that speaks to the human spirit, embodied in a young athlete trying to rise above his limitations to achieve something greater than anyone thought possible.

Here, the sport is surfing, which means each of these two competing films, Chasing Mavericks, which premieres this weekend, and 1987’s semi-cult-classic North Shore, has the opportunity to inspire and humble us with nature’s awesome beauty. Of course, it’s just as likely that each might drive non-sports fans like me crazy by drowning us in a tidal wave of movie clichés. […]

Couples Retreat (2009) -vs- Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

October 14, 2009 Bryce Zabel

Broken couples going to island paradises to repair their damaged relationships, or try to, ought to be funny. Sex, sun, surf, drinking, dancing, music. And in the case of both of these films, throw in actress Kristen Bell and you should have a real party. Well, you’re half right.

One of these films (either Couples Retreat or the previous year’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall) is an honest-to-God attempt to make a film that just happened to shoot mostly in a tropical paradise. The other is a film that looks like it had the same party-energy behind it as an old Burt Reynolds buddy-fest where the main goal is to go someplace fun, shoot a film and stay up nights getting crazy and drinking too much. Which is to say that one of them works and the other doesn’t.
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