Special thanks to Pt. Break scholar emeritus David W. Briggs for calling this one out this a.m.
If you’re expecting a link-bait piece about the amazingness of Keanu and Swayze and that unclaimed piece of meat in Baja that turned out to be Rosie, well, fine — you got me. But there’s a lot more to Point Break. Lots. We got a lot. We got a lot.
I lined up and gladly paid my $4 matinee price at Rowland Plaza 25 years to the effing day only to two hours later emerge with the ultimate conundrum, do I dedicate myself to a life of crime or law enforcement — or surfing …or Lori Petty?
The answer, as we all know a quarter century later, never really came. But man, L.A. has changed a lot during that time. The air got dirty and the sex got clean.
Above all things, this we know: Point Break is a source. It’ll change your life.
Below, 25 more stupefying, mystifying mind-bending, life-altering things to know about Point Break on its quarter century anniversary…Sex with gods, you can’t beat that!
- Ridley Scott was originally going to direct Point Break in 1987 but since there are no oceans we know of in space, he passed.
- After Scott came and went, James Cameron and then-wife director Kathryn Bigelow teamed up for Point Break. Bigelow, it should be noted, has probably made the three biggest bad-ass-for-hungover-dudes movies of the last quarter century (Point Break, The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty). Since there is no Lifetime for men (no, Spike doesn’t count), I’m nominating Bigelow to be program director so guys can have their movie marathon Sundays with titles like, “I only sent her 30 texts in a row — where is she?” “Just because she’s your Uber driver doesn’t mean she’s into you” and “Maybe I could bang Jennifer Love Hewitt present-day”. Bigelow directed Near Dark and Blue Steel before Point Break — also worth looking for on VHS.
- Producer Rick King read in LA Weekly that Los Angeles was the robbery capital of America and thought up a story about a F.B.I. agent infiltrating a surf gang, earning a “Story by” credit on the film. King hired W. Peter Iliff (Prayer for the Rollerboys, Patriot Games… apparently Iliff only writes movies that start with the letter p) to cook up Point Break for only six grand. Iliff waited tables during the day and wrote at night.
- Everyone turned down Johnny Utah: Matthew Broderick and Charlie Sheen were the top choices to play the QB turned F.B.I. AGENT! followed by Val Kilmer and Willem Dafoe (who turned it down) and Johnny Depp (who was still scissorhandsing). But on Bigelow’s insistence, Keanu got the part. Swayze also auditioned for Utah but was given Bodhi. Whoa.
- Bojesse Christopher as Grommet was gone too soon in the original — only to come back as F.B.I. Department Director #3 in the redux. Is that saying that he really survived (we never did watch him fully die) only to join up with the feds?
- Speaking of Bojesse: Christopher and John Philbin (Nathaniel, “Lawyers don’t surf”) were at one time pro surfers. They also acted, sorta.
- Johnny Utah = Joe Montana. That’s what screenwriter Iliff said when he was looking for a quarterback name: Average Joe first name, Mountain West state for the surname. Look for the Tommy Arizona Story to hit theaters this time next summer.
- That’s not actual Swayze during the foot chase. As badass in all things ever as Swayze was, he was off doing press for Ghost when the Venice backyard pentathlon was shot. Scott Wilder, his stunt double, was the man in the Reagan mask that day.
- To make up for the chase scene, Swayze really skydived (sky…dove?) himself: Bodhi yelling “Adios amigo!” and bailing out of the plane is real (Swayze made 55 jumps in his lifetime and more than 30 for the shoot.) Most of the rest of the skydiving scenes were shot using a crane.
- Swayze didn’t stop with the stunts in the air. He didn’t use a stunt double for the surfing scenes nor did he use one for the bank robberies, fight scenes or car chases. Basically one Swayze = about 40 dudes on a movie set.
- Casting Anthony Kiedis as a surfer from the bad-guy surfer gang that makes Tom Sizemore want to tear out his hair was definitely not a waste of time. But Keanu and Kiedis were not the only Red Hot Chili Pepper/Reeves pairing of 1991. Keanu also starred in My Own Private Idaho with bassist Flea.
- Stunt coordinator Glenn Wilder and Bigelow insisted all actors do their own fighting and enlisted everyone in fight school. Kiedis was the only actor who missed the weekend training sessions which is why he was one-punch KO’d in his only fight scene.
- When Johnny tells partner Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) that Bodhi ate at Patrick’s Roadhouse earlier that day, that’s not only a real restaurant but producers confessed it was also a reference to Patrick Swayze’s greatest film of all time, Road House (1989).
- When Bodhi is introduced to Johnny, he says Utah’s surfboard reminds him of a ’57 Chevy he used to have. Swayze-tastic drove (and knocked the fuck out of a window of) a ’57 Chevy in Dirty Dancing (1987).
- The early scenes of Johnny Utah flailing are legit as Keanu picked up surfing for the film. He still surfs to this day.
- Keanu, Swayze and Petty all trained with pro surfer Dennis Jarvis on Kauai for a few months before production. Jarvis said, “Patrick said he’d been on a board a couple of times, Keanu definitely had not surfed before, and Lori had never been in the ocean in her life.”
- Swayze cracked four ribs one day during a surfing sequence. He told nobody.
- Keanu also shadowed members from the Los Angeles division of the F.B.I. and trained with quarterback coaches from UCLA so the beach football game (the same spot of the beach soccer game from The Karate Kid btw) would be authentic. He no longer beach quarterbacks, however.
- The girl dancing with Bodhi at his house party is the same chick from Billy Idol’s ‘Cradle of Love’ video from The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (Dice!) original motion picture soundtrack.
- Swayze once said he and Bodhi shared that “Wild Man Edge.” Attention Swayze estate, if you release a Wild Man Edge fragrance, I’m buying.
- The Fast and Furious franchise, which with its seventh installment last year passed the $4 billion gross mark, owes everything to Point Break.
- Bodhi…does not live. James Cameron during his T-2 commentary track puts all rumors to rest and says that Bodhi, indeed, swims with the fishes for eternity after getting the ride of a lifetime during the 50-year storm.
- The one surfing stunt Swayze did not complete was that final wave, which went to big wave rider Darrick Doerner.
- Gary Busey said Swayze would not leave him alone about skydiving during production. After they wrapped the pair went skydiving together. Though both allegedly had their own chute.
…And now, this: