Ideology III

film 2 of 5

Endless Summer

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 9, 2015

Endless Summer is obviously pretty grotesque on the sensitivity front. Paradoxically that very obliviousness is the very best thing about the movie. These boys are anthropological knuckleheads on the subject of West Africans, but the ethnographic value of their self-portrait is practically incalculable. Dumb surfer-Americans? Absolutely. Ugly? Not exactly. Not even! They’re young! Also, how fun that they’ve managed to document so many actual, substantial things at the same time they jack-ass their way through their delightful nincompoop of a movie.

Some of the more egregious ideological boners, by the way, come as a result of having to shoot the whole thing silent. Shoot it really well, by the way: this is absolutely terrific, actually inspiring 16mm photography. Anyway, they had to fill their soundtrack somehow. Give a microphone to a callow, self-absorbed youth—and what’s the big deal? It’s developmentally normal!—and callow self-absorption may very well result.

Careful, though. Though there’s much here to tsk about, this surfer odyssey, this blithe native ode to youth and the pursuit of pleasure, is really quite precious. It may be that children are the most inappropriate thing that you can expose to children. Until childish shifts over into childlike, at which point I am recalling that you’ve got the Kingdom of Heaven. Overall, a very sweet artifact.