The Inertia for Good Editor
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The Inertia

What’s your favorite line from Point Break? If your gut instinct is to blurt out “Utah! Get me two!” then you and I may not get along. Fight me. It’s a throwaway line in a three-decades-old film that I still fail to understand why or how it became the go-to quote in a very quotable story. Citing it as your favorite line in the film is, in my opinion, as shallow of an appreciation for it all as saying Thriller is your favorite Michael Jackson song or Stayin’ Alive is your favorite Bee Gees hit (Baby Be Mine and a toss-up between Night Fever and How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, respectively, if you care. I’m just turning up the snob meter here).

Don’t agree “Utah! Get me two” is possibly the most overrated movie quote ever? It wasn’t even in the script. And yes, there’s beauty in improvised moments but this one should really just be chalked up to the fact that anything born of Gary Busey’s stream of consciousness always has entertainment value. The man is a walking non-sequitur, which is what makes Gary Busey Gary Busey, but that alone shouldn’t make an offhanded request for sandwiches the film’s most memorable moment.  My point is that from a storytelling perspective, Pappas’ hunger did nothing to drive the action. And it’s not even that funny or awe-inspiring that Pappas wanted to double fist his meatball subs. It’s a distraction from the bigger picture which, I’d argue, is why and how the film’s hung onto its cult following so well. Yet somehow, the line just kinda caught on, people started quoting it, and never really stopped to ask if it’s really worth overlooking the deep well of wisdom the rest of the film tried to showcase.

Is your blood boiling yet? Hold my beer, my rationale will probably irritate you more — at least at this point, that’s kind of what I’m hoping for, considering how far these heels are dug in. So here are a handful of lines that are irrefutably better, more significant, and more entertaining than the one many people recite only because it’s the one they actually remember.

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“Little hand says it’s time to rock and roll.”

My honest to goodness personal favorite. It encapsulates everything that’s so intriguing about Bodhi. And the dichotomy of his eventual relationship with Johnny Utah is really what the entire story is about. Apply it to the instance in which Hollywood later repurposed the same script and turned it into Fast and the Furious and you still have the exact same allegory: an outsider is looking for purpose and belonging, which they find in the pursuit of something new and adventurous. A wiser, enlightened person already engrained in that exciting, new, adventurous thing becomes the embodiment of everything the protagonist wishes they were.

Bodhi drops this one in the starting blocks of the film. It’s a tone-setter for who and what the guy is: always ready for something wild.

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“Surfing’s the source, man. Swear to God.”

Let’s go back for some context here. Johnny Utah’s an accomplished athlete who likely went through every moment in life leading up to this chapter as top dog. I’m not really using a broad brush to paint this one; any star quarterback at The Ohio State University didn’t get there without sitting at the top of the totem pole from the moment he started playing organized sports, all the way through high school, and onto that fateful Rose Bowl performance…

Since you’re reading this on a publication heavily focused on surf, I’ll assume you partake in at least the occasional pursuit of barrels as well. I’ll make the next assumption that we agree surfing is quite possibly one of the most humbling, challenging pursuits imaginable. You’ve probably even heard your fair share of accomplished athletes argue their superior balance and coordination should make them naturals on a surfboard, rolled your eyes, and thought “Somebody’s about to get a wake-up call…”

Johnny Utah is this guy. And here he is getting schooled by a little kid, warned that what he’s about to take up will literally consume his life.

Preach on, little dude.

Vaya con Dios, brah.”

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So, so very cringe-worthy in its delivery yet poetic when it’s still on the page.

“Go with God.”

“If you want the ultimate, you’ve got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It’s not tragic to die doing what you love.”

Ahhh, dipping into Bodhi’s well of wisdom. If the guy were a real-life person today he’d be the kind of viral inspirational speaker you actually like and appreciate because he’s sincere, not just posting staged photos with out-of-context faux-inspirational captions.

This is probably the largest nugget of perspective Bodhi dropped on us all. You don’t get anything in life worth having without sacrifice. Check. And in a world that makes it really easy to waste each day away, is it really so terrible to fall on your face and fail if that failure came from wholeheartedly going for what you wanted? Checkmate.

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“I caught my first tube today…sir.”

An actual monumental moment in all our lives. And when you’re getting yelled at by your boss, just as Johnny Utah was in this scene, the simple reminder that you had some quality cover-up time — or even just a few waves before work — is enough to keep us all from sweating the small stuff.

“That’s ahh, that’s a surfboard all right. Looks like a ’57 Chevy I used to have.”

We’re all kooks. We can just hope to become not so blatant about it as time goes by. Does any other interaction display the gap in awareness between Johnny’s Luke to Bodhi’s Obi Wan than this snarky one-liner? It’s such a perfect snapshot and probably a flashback to all our early days of surfing rolled into one conversation, rocking out of a surf shop thinking you’re in, new board in hand, only to be put in check by the first person to see it.

“Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.”

Ugh, this one makes me cringe too but as a very literal application to surfing and life, it’s spot on. Bodhi, swinging in with more wisdom, yet again.

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“Should I go on this one? It looks like it might close o–” There’s never enough time to even finish that thought before you get sucked over the falls and then pile-driven into the sand.

Ok, well I just wrote a thousand words in a one-sided argument that’s only going to make people shout “Utah! Get me two!” even more…

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