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Longboarding soul-surfer Steve Addington returns to Malibu for the summer to find his cool hometown vibe corrupted. New sponsorship demands Addington to expand into Virtual Reality Video Games and Reality TV. Unwilling to participate in this new digital-reality, he chooses to spend his summer surfing his home break. But in a twist-of-fate, the waves go flat and stay flat. Out of money, his expense-accounts canceled, and betrayed by his buddies, Addington is backed into a harsh corner. He must endure the insanity that comes with no waves or give into "the Man" and his new, reality-altering machines. Aided by his manager, his mentor, his guardian angel and his summer lover, Addington has a chance of keeping his cool, but it's not going to be easy. The dude needs a wave, and there's never been a drought like this.
For more about Surfer, Dude and the Surfer, Dude Blu-ray release, see Surfer, Dude Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on January 5, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Alexie Gilmore, Jeffrey Nordling, Woody Harrelson, Scott Glenn, P.J. Byrne
Director: S.R. Bindler
» See full cast & crew
Surfer, Dude Blu-ray Review
Does 'Surfer, Dude' make waves on Blu-ray?
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, January 5, 2009
I'm a surfer, dude.
Any movie boasting a cast of Matthew McConaughey (U-571), Scott Glenn (Training Day), Woody Harrelson (Natural Born Killers), and Willie Nelson (The Dukes of Hazzard) is bound to pique the interest of moviegoers, or at least raise a few eyebrows -- until it turns out the movie is about a bummed surfer who lives only for the next wave refusing to appear on a "Big Brother" style reality television show that focuses on a house full of the world's best surfers. That basic plot is dragged out to an excruciatingly long 85 minutes, and there isn't even all that much surfing, because the evil television executives are cramping Matthew's style and preventing Mother Earth from making the waves he craves, or something. To put it mildly, Surfer, Dude is one of the more disturbing wastes of talent this side of Ishtar, though with a title like Surfer, Dude and a script that relies on the words "dude" and "bro" spoken ad infinitum, it's doubtful even some of the all-time greats -- Bogart, Stewart, Brando, or Cooper -- could save this one. Chances are they wouldn't have even bothered in the first place.
Steve "The Nature Boy" Addington (McConaughey) is a renowned surfer who lives not for money but for sun, fun, women, weed, and waves. Addington returns to his hometown of Malibu, California after a six-month world tour of some of the more exotic surfing locales to find himself the center of entertainment big shot Eddie Zarno's (Jeffrey Nordling) attention. Zarno wants Addington to be the star of both a new surfing reality television show and to offer his body and input into a new virtual reality surfing game. Though the venture promises plenty of cash, girls, and fame, Addington rejects the offer -- proclaiming himself a surfer first and an entrepreneur, well, let's say he's just a surfer, dude. When he refuses the offer, the waves disappear. Thirteen days with no waves quickly turns into 29, which becomes 42. Addington's life spins out of control, the surf junkie denied the only true happiness his life enjoys. Will a steadfast refusal to appear on the show please the surfing gods, or will Addington give in, placating Zarno and therefore ending the unending drought?
To say that Surfer, Dude oftentimes recalls the worst of Pauly Shore is an understatement. The script seems tailor-made for the star of Bio-Dome, In the Army Now, and Encino Man, and several "dudes" and "bros" almost sound like the comedian's voice has been dubbed over the film's actors. Despite its haphazard plot and none-too-exciting pacing, Surfer, Dude still manages to climb above the very worst Hollywood has to offer, though this is still cinema at its most inconsequential. Nothing much happens here; the surfer returns, his style is cramped, and the waves disappear. The film is never funny, save for a chuckle here and there at the meandering dialogue and its beach bum-style delivery, and there is no moral or meaning behind the story. In a way, it's like the reality television it portrays, though the editors forgot to cut all of the dull moments. Surfer, Dude just meanders along, following the times and trials of Steve Addington, and just sort of ends as irrelevantly as it began.
There are a few positives to be found, which is what raises the film above the level of "disaster" and merely into the realm of "forgettable." Director S.R. Bindler employs solid direction that is different and eye-catching but never distracting or artsy. He's made the movie seem to take on the look of the surfers that reside in it, appearing a bit worn and sun-baked but also relaxed and content. Meanwhile, what few city shots there are appear dark, gray, and cold, nicely contrasting with the bright sun and fun of Malibu. The film also features the occasional beautiful locale, and the few surfing scenes stand out as well-made and enjoyable enough to watch. The acting, from the four notables listed above and moving all the way down the line, is acceptable to decent, with the name-actors offering dependable enough performances and clearly enjoying the sights and sounds of the warm, sandy sets.
Surfer, Dude Blu-ray, Video Quality
Surfer, Dude crashes onto Blu-ray with a nice looking 1080p transfer framed inside a 1.85:1 window. The first thing viewers will notice is the grainy and somewhat blown out look the film employs. Colors never appear overly vivid despite the bright, hot look, coming off as more natural in appearance. Despite offering a fairly nice film-like transfer, there is little to become excited about with this one. Still, it definitely offers fine detail and clarity, besting even the finest in standard definition programming. The various scruffy, long-haired surfers look like they just got off an all-day stay on the beach; all the fine detail from facial hair to their golden locks transfer nicely to high definition, and while flesh tones veer towards the orange and golden side of the scale, it's to be expected of a film about the California surfing scene. Detail in clothing is nice, too; a woven hat worn by Woody Harrelson's character offers realistic texture, pleasing colors, and rich detail. Background details are also sharp and clear. Much of the background detail, like walls covered in graffiti, for example, are infinitely clear (and mostly readable, as the case may be). Surfer, Dude offers another quality high definition video transfer from Starz.
Surfer, Dude Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Surfer, Dude is presented on Blu-ray with a lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. This mix features a nice, lively presence when playing back various music; the opening beats playing over the credits work the front speakers nicely, with heavy, almost tribal, beats emanating from the front left and right channels, with solid support from the subwoofer and the back channels. No matter the music, from the aforementioned percussion-heavy beats to a hard-rock song heard during a virtual reality demonstration, the soundtrack bursts forth with nice vigor and clarity. However, the track doesn't offer much in the way of a rear-channel presence, save for a bit of carry over when music plays. The front speakers handle most of he soundtrack's ambience, leaving listeners feeling detached and hardly engulfed during the experience. Nevertheless, it's sufficient enough, and this dialogue-heavy film never falters in conveying each syllable efficiently through the center channel. While nothing to get too excited about, Surfer, Dude does feature a suitable and clear listen on Blu-ray.
Surfer, Dude Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Surfer, Dude serves up a few supplements for this Blu-ray release. Headlining the package is a commentary track with actor Matthew McConaughey. In between long moments of dead air, McConaughey does manage to offer some interesting comments in a laid-back, friendly manner, almost commenting in-character with the same lackadaisical approach the character employs in the film. Surfer, Dude: The Real Story (480p, 24:48) looks at the seven-year journey that went into the making of this picture, featuring interviews with plenty of cast and crew members and eventually taking a brief look at various days of the shoot. Next up is The Complete 'Surfer, Dude' 12-Webisode Series (480p, 24:35) that provides rapid-fire vignettes that feature additional interview clips and behind-the-scenes footage. Also included are several deleted scenes (480p, 11:17). 1080p trailers for Surfer, Dude, Traitor, Righteous Kill, and Dead Space: Downfall are next. Rounding out the supplements on disc one is BD-Live (Blu-ray profile 2.0) functionality. Disc two of this set contains a digital copy of the film that, as is the case with Starz releases, is not Mac compatible.
Surfer, Dude Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Surfer, Dude is far from horrible cinema -- but then again it's failure to nail down a basic and coherent structure lends to it something of a pseudo-documentary feel that more follows the characters than tells a story. There are a few things to like here, but the negatives overshadow them. Surfer, Dude seems more like some vanity project than anything else, a means to an end to a nice paid vacation with the occasional interruption to shoot a scene. At least the folks who made the film seemed to have a good time, and there is no knocking a good, extended beach party. Starz presents Surfer, Dude on Blu-ray as a fairly average package, with solid video and audio presentations and an acceptable, but ultimately underwhelming, supplemental section. Those in search of fine surfing programming on Blu-ray should consider Step Into Liquid before Surfer, Dude, though this offering is just good enough to warrant a rental for the curious.
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Surfer, Dude Blu-ray, News and Updates
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The fifth quarter has officially started, and while for the most part studios are enjoying some well-deserved time off, Paramount has come out swinging with five hits from their extensive catalog. Today they are releasing 'Days of Thunder', 'Event Horizon', 'Ghost', ...
• Surfer Dude Specs Revealed - November 13, 2008
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment has revealed the technical specs and special features for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Surfer, Dude', which is due to hit store shelves on December 30th, day-and-date with the DVD release. For this Matthew McConaughey film, video ...
• Extras Revealed for Surfer, Dude - October 17, 2008
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment has announced some of the special features for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Surfer, Dude', which is due to hit store shelves on December 30th, day-and-date with the DVD release. Technical specs are still yet to be released, but ...
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