The 80's was a particularly odd time in film, but the decade provided us with unforgettable masterpieces as well as mind numbing teen films that are forever wedged in my brain. Some teen films are forever viewed as classics from the funny 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' to the ofter over dramatic 'The Breakfast Club', but not there are those that pop into your head that make you think 'oh yeah I vaguely remember that'.
'White Water Summer' is one of those films that if you see once you're not likely to forget. My first and what I thought to be last viewing was at the drive-in as a kid. My folks hated the movie and complained throughout the entire thing so I really didn't get much of a chance to enjoy it. Still even without them playing Siskel and Ebert I doubt I would've like it anyways.
'White Water Summer' starts with a monologue by Sean Astin who introduces the story about his trek into the wilderness. Cut to a seemingly much younger Sean Astin, he is a city kid in New York who's parents are thinking of sending him off to camp. Kevin Bacon is showing his folks a slide show of a tour he gives for urban kids where he takes them into the wilderness and to camp.
Now call me a worry wart, but the idea of letting my young son go off into the wild with some guy who spends all his time with young boys kind of sounds a little creepy to me. Maybe the father liked the idea of sending his child off so he can snort coke with low dollar whores.
The movie then has Kevin taking the boys into the woods showing them how to be men which involves canoeing, rock climbing, and group peeing. Sean is the constant thorn in his side being afraid of the elements and basically being a rebellious pain in the ass. Kevin wants to provide the children with life lessons about the wilderness and thankfully it doesn't involve anal. Still he pushes the kids into overcoming their fears and respecting nature as well as being all manly and stuff.
Sean decides to rebel against Kevin's tactics and after being left hung from a huge rock he decides to mutiny against what he feels is draconian leadership. The boys then follow in an almost 'Lord of the Flies' fashion until the Baconator gets injured trying to save his ship if you will. It's up to Sean to save the day and of course he does so like a man.
The movie ends on a strange note as the director seems to feel they ran out of film and tries to finish it as quickly as possible. Still the movie does have it's high points as some of the wilderness and white water sequences are really well shot. Kevin Bacon plays a great bad guy and does well with the material given.
'White Water Summer' has all the elements of a bad 80s movie. Foul mouthed kids, horrid pacing, dialogue that makes little sense, and terribly bad music being played constantly. The people that wrote the music for these films really need to feel the suffering they have plagued upon audiences. The songs in this film were something like a cross between Kenny Loggins and Huey Lewis and the News and were thrown in at the most inappropriate times.
Thanks to Greg for having me watch this again and review it....I think.
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"Most stunning is how abruptly the film ends, but I suppose that’s to be expected when a production simply runs out of money." - Scott Weinberg