Remembering Oregon-Shot ‘Point Break’ On Its 30th Anniversary
When our seniors say, “Remember queer history,” what they mean is: Breaking point where Patrick Swayze looks Keanu Reeves in the eye and says ‘You want me so badly it’s like acid in your mouth’ before jumping out of a plane.
Directed by a pre-Injured locker Catherine Bigelow, Breaking point is a high octane bro opus which bursts at the seams with a delicious camp. Reeves plays Johnny Utah, a football star turned FBI agent. Swayze, in a Reagan mask, runs down a living dog in Reeves to escape capture. Gary Busey is here. For the strangers, here’s the gist: Special Agent Utah hits LA to hunt down and thwart a network of incredibly successful bank robbers. They turn out to be a gang of surfers led by the charismatic Bodhi of Swayze, from whom an undercover Utah learns to surf (and love?).
Less often discussed than Breaking point’The homoerotic undertones are the fact that part of the California-focused film was shot in Oregon. Most notably his closing scene, where Cannon Beach’s Ecola State Park replaces Australia, and Utah and Bodhi have a soggy showdown.
In honor of the film’s 30th anniversary (it hit theaters on July 12, 1991), I called my good friend Zach, who recently learned to surf while living in Australia, and asked him to m ‘help break down the film’s ending. Zach has never seen Breaking point, but he briefly held the world record for the fastest kilometer while juggling (here’s a video on that). He’s also my only friend who surfs, I think.
Here is how it went.
CONNECT: Have you ever seen the movie Breaking point before?
What do you think it is?
I think it’s – I know it’s about surfing. Do I know this is happening in Australia? And I know there’s sexy stuff going on. And that’s all.
How long have you been surfing?
I learned to surf in Australia, and have been surfing for about a year now.
Do you consider yourself a surf expert?
[At this point, we synced up our video to 1:50:14, counted down from three, and hit play. I put myself on mute. Zach was free to respond to what he saw. He mostly kept quiet, except to laugh from the depths of his diaphragm and say “no one would surf in these conditions, they wouldn’t even think about it” at the first shot of the massive wave that Patrick Swayze eventually surfs, and to say “ohhhhhhh yeah” when Reeves tells Swayze to “vaya con díos.” We reconvened when the credits began.]
Okay, now that we’ve seen the end of the movie, how about Breaking point is about?
Therefore Breaking point is about a man running after someone. I’m gonna go with an FBI agent, or a cop. And he’s chasing a surfer who has committed crimes. And he finds it because he knew he would be in a big swell.
What do you think of the fact that the legal name of the FBI agent is Johnny Utah?
I’m obsessed with it.
Do you think this scene was shot in Australia?
100 percent no. The beach and the waves are also shot in different places. (*He’s right about it, waves were pulled on various beaches in Oahu, Hawai’i)
How do you know it’s not Australia?
I think I knew it wasn’t before, so I’m using an educated guess. But also, the beaches of Australia, which [situation where it’s] the woods then the beach, I’ve never seen it exist anywhere in Australia. It just doesn’t exist anywhere other than the Oregon coast, where I believe this movie was shot.
OK yeah, so it was shot in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Most of the movie is set and set in California, but in the end they make it to Australia and inexplicably choose to do Cannon Beach Australia.
I feel like this movie was made for Californians, so they were like, “We need a place that looks foreign, but we are do not going to go to Australia. So they went to Oregon.
How did this clip mimic your surfing experience in Australia?
In zero ways.
Did someone ever say “Vaya con díos” to you right before you go out and catch a wave?
No, but I said that to someone else, outside of the context of surfing, and for that, I’m ashamed.
Based on the clip we just saw, would you say that Keanu and Patrick in this movie have more or less sexual tension than you and I have in real life?
Hmmmmmmm. Just wrestling in the water – we’ve never done that, so it’s a cut above for sure.
Who is the Patrick and who is the Keanu?
I think I am the Keanu, but I want to be the Patrick, and you are the Patrick, but you want to be the Keanu.
It’s really insightful. OK, so you briefly held the world record for the fastest mile while juggling. At one point in this movie, in a scene we haven’t seen, Patrick Swayze picks up a live dog and throws him at Keanu Reeves to escape capture. Considering your history with lipping objects in the air halfway, do you think you could pull it off?
No, I don’t think I would do that to a dog.
All right but could you?
Can I physically throw a dog?
Yeah, halfway through.
I would like to think I could.
Do you think this movie ends well?
I feel like he did, because he died doing what he loved. But he’s dead, so it’s sad. And they couldn’t fuck. At least that I know? Maybe they did that throughout the movie, but we haven’t seen any of that yet. So in that sense, no. Blossoming, yes, but in a modern movie there would have been more gay sex at the end. (* He’s wrong: there is no gay sex in the terrible 2015 3D remake with Edgar Rámirez)
Okay, that’s all I got for you. Thanks for doing this.
Thank you for hosting me. Imagine that your favorite painter asks you to participate in his painting. This is how I feel right now.
You are my Mona Lisa.