Editor’s Note: Alex Explains Surf Movies is a new series where The Inertia Associate (Canadian) Editor Alex Haro breaks down historic moments in surf cinema scene by scene and adds a little twist all his own. Beginning with this gem from North Shore, expect more color commentary and classic surf film nostalgia in the future.
Out of all of the terrible acting in the movie North Shore, Mark Occhilupo’s is my favorite. Even when he’s just standing around, it’s bad. He’s bad at standing around. It’s something to do with his eyes, I think. Maybe he’s trying to be flirty or something, but there are a lot of scenes where he cuts his eyes to the left or right and dips his chin slightly. It could, if you were squinting and had a blanket over your head, be misconstrued as a seductive look. But without the blanket and fully open eyes, it looks like he’s about to sneeze or, perhaps, he just dropped a hammer on his foot and is trying desperately to keep it a secret. And keep in mind, that’s when he’s not even talking.
It’s when he opens his mouth that things get really weird. The first time it’s really noticeable – and, coincidentally, this is also the first time he does his patented eye cut/chin tilt – is when he, Rick, and Alex Rogers are in the Jeep together, going to steal some hot sugar. Rick has just found out that Occy is actually Occy, and clearly developed a man-crush. Occy realizes the man-crush and is flattered but desperately embarrassed. Not wanting to embarrass Rick, he quickly changes the subject, with what is one of history’s worst-acted lines:
“Alex, up ahead!”
How, you ask, could that be so hard to act out? I don’t know either, but it’s bad. It’s as though someone else said it, only they used his mouth. If I could find you a Youtube clip of just that single line, I would. But I can’t, so you’ll have to find it yourself… or just click here and scroll ahead to around seven minutes. You’re welcome.
The scene quickly moves past a few angry sugar farmers brandishing machetes and into Laird’s (Lance Burkhart’s) house. Occy is sitting in a hot tub filled with beautiful ’80s women, clad only in high-hipped bikinis and hair mousse when Rick wants to go and look at the ocean, as it’s his first night away from the wave pool. Occy remembers their previous man-connection in the sugar field and quickly acts on his desire for male companionship in a hot tub already filled with gorgeous women. He stands up, women draped off his shoulders. It appears that he’s not, in fact, in a hot tub filled with water, but with canola oil.
“Alex, come jump in with us!” he calls through his greasy shimmer, clearly wanting Rick to come jump in with him. At this point, Rick ignores him, his previous man-crush forgotten. He runs down to the ocean, leaving Occy alone (except for the greasy ’80s woman clinging to his shoulder) in his tub full of oil.
At this point, I always wish for a behind-the-scenes option. In my mind, I see Occy slightly embarrassed and trying to hide it.
“He must not have heard me,” he’d say to the woman, sheepishly shuffling his feet in the tub.
Then he’d drink too much. When Rick comes back from the ocean, he’d thoroughly weird Rick out, giving him too many forced high-fives and close talking.
Rick eventually tells Occy to take it easy, in a firm but polite manner. This upsets the Occster, who is not used to rejection. So he yells at the woman in the hot tub for some unassociated reason – something about breakfast cereal cartoons and last week’s hot tub party. Then he throws up in the bathtub and passes out with no pants on. Alex Rogers draws on his face with a Sharpie marker, and they all take Polaroids with him.
Rick and Occy see each other a few days later at Rocky Rights, and everything’s totally cool.