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Hollywood Don’t Surf!

More bitchin' than brilliant, low-budget docu employs primo film clips and gnarly interviews.

More bitchin’ than brilliant, Sam George and Greg MacGillivray’s low-budget docu “Hollywood Don’t Surf!” employs primo film clips and gnarly interviews (Quentin Tarantino, dude!) to trace the choppy history of surfing cinema from “Gidget” and “The Endless Summer” to “Point Break” and “Blue Crush.” Awesomely, it focuses most on “Big Wednesday,” surfer-shooter John Milius’s $6 million bomb-turned-cult classic from 1978. Hailed by Tarantino as the “poet laureate of the (’70s) movie brats,” Milius doesn’t get nearly his full due here, but the pic makes waves nonetheless. Channel-surfing cineastes will be wicked stoked to catch the stunt-double-laden docu on the smallscreen.

Steven Spielberg turns up here, remembering that he and George Lucas traded blockbuster box office points with Milius, and that it “worked out less well for some of us.” He also recalls having declined Milius’ surfing invite in ’75, fearing shark retaliation for “Jaws.” Scarier still are stories of Milius’ shoot on the fly-ridden beaches of El Salvador — during wartime — and contempo images of ravaged-looking “Big Wednesday” star Jan-Michael Vincent. The docu justly likens Milius’ last-wave epic to Peckinpah’s “The Wild Bunch” — one with horses, the other with well-waxed boards.

Hollywood Don’t Surf!

  • Production: A MacGillivray Freeman Films production. Produced by Greg MacGillivray, Lincoln Forrest Phipps, Chris Kobin. Executive producer, William S. Price III. Directed by Greg MacGillivray, Sam George. Written by George.
  • Crew: Camera (color, HD), Brad Ohlund, Shaun MacGillivray, Greg MacGillivray, Kevin Roberts, Robert Walker; editor, Dale Beldin; music, Steve Wood; sound, Ken Teaney. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Cannes Classics), May 15, 2010. Running time: 81 MIN.
  • With: With: John Milius, Jan-Michael Vincent, Gary Busey, William Katt, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Stacy Peralta, Peter Townend, Lee Purcell, Robert Englund, Greg MacGillivray, Nia Peeples, Pamela Anderson, Laird Hamilton, Greg Noll, Frankie Avalon, Kathy Kohner.