The Top Six of 2013 vol. 1: “Wrapped Up In Books”

According to my goodreads.com profile, here are some interesting facts about me as a reader:

  • I’ve listed as many books as I can remember reading, and my grand total is 286.
  • I currently have 150 titles on my “to-read” list.
  • Thus far, I have read 51 books in 2013, even though my original goal was 50.  Here’s to crushing it.
  • From a perspective that is slightly more impressive—or tragically sad, depending on how one decides to look at it—I’ve read 15,018 pages of words this year.
  • I read three biographies/memoirs this year.  They were about Tina Fey, Simon Pegg, and Vladimir Putin.  I’m sure there is a connection here, though I have yet to discover it.

As I’m rather proud of myself for reading 51 books (15,018 pages), here is my top six booklist for 2013.

DISCLAIMER: Three of the books on this list were not published in 2013, but I happened to read and enjoy them in 2013 which means they may as well have been published this year.  Plus, it’s my list, so I can do what I want.  Bitches.

the troop1. The Troop by Nick Cutter (2014): In addition to being one of the most grisly, shocking, and emotionally wracking books that I have ever read, I acquired and read an advanced copy of this book at the San Diego Comic-Con this year—which is pretty badass because it’s not slated for release until February of 2014.  I read the entire book in installments while waiting in various lines for various panels, and I think I finished it right before we went in to see a Neil Gaiman discuss his charming British books with his charming British accent.  Subsequently, I’d like to apologize to those people in my vicinity who had to endure the noises of shock and revulsion that I was prone to making during this time.

 Succinctly, The Troop can be summed up as a modern retelling of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies by way of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later.  It recounts the details of the worst scouting trip ever as five fourteen-year old boys are stranded on an island off the coast of Newfoundland with a parasitic worm that may or may not have already infected them.  As the book unfolds and the boys’ wills are pitted against the elements and each other, their true characters come dangerously close to the surface.

Cutter’s ability to force the reader into some truly terrifying and gruesome moments is what I both love and kinda hate about this book.  There were moments when I had to stop reading because the words on the page were succeeding in making me nauseous.  I’m not a lightweight, either.  I grew up on a steady diet of 80’s splatter flicks, and The Troop still managed to get under my skin—gross pun intended.  Any author that can manipulate language so accurately that it actually makes me queasy is worthy of my respect.

shock value2. Shock Value by Jason Zinoman (2012): Speaking of 80’s splatter flicks, Shock Value chronicles the golden age of horror movies in glorious and well-documented detail.  Throughout the pages of Shock Value, Zinoman takes a closer look at how directors like John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, and George Romero took a previously impotent and stale genre like horror and used it as a medium to channel America’s dark and dirty subconscious circa 1970.

Horror films have always been a big part of my life—despite the fact that I would often be on the verge of tears if I ever wandered into the horror section of my local video store as a young lad—so getting a behind-the-scenes look at the people and stories behind films like The Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, along with their cultural significance, was nerdy good fun.

Shock Value shows that though these films are violent and unsettling, they were actually great avenues for progressive thinking.  Duane Jones, the protagonist in Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, set a new precedent for African Americans in film, and movies such as Alien, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street obliterated many of the stereotypes that were assigned to women in horror and sci-fi.

Though it’s getting harder to assign any cultural value to today’s horror films, anyone who says that the horror genre is one dimensional needs to only read this book.

locke and key3. Locke & Key vol 5: Clockworks by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (2013): My enthusiasm for comic books and graphic novels has waned in my old age, but Locke & Key is one of those titles that makes me remember how powerful comic books can be.  I started reading this series back in August of this year, and I’ve steadily consumed all of them—most recently obtaining an advance copy of volume six which isn’t due out until next year.

Volume five happened to be my favorite installment, but the whole series is amazing.  Without giving too much away, Locke & Key is about the Locke family and their ancestral home on the fictional island of Lovecraft, Massachusetts.  After the Locke patriarch is done in by a deranged high school student, and the family relocates to Lovecraft, the three Locke children start discovering a series of keys that offer abilities such as opening a person’s head and fiddling with their thoughts or leaving one’s body behind to traverse the world as a ghost.

Hill and Rodriguez are a great team, and the story often feels brutally real despite its more fantastical elements.  The story spans several hundred years, and it touts one of the best lists of supporting characters ever.  A finely crafted story that has been illustrated by a gifted artist is what makes comic books cool, and Locke & Key excels on every level.

Imagine4. Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer (2012): I don’t read much nonfiction, but every so often, when I force myself to read a book that doesn’t involve monsters or space battles, I find that my mind has been sufficiently blown.  Reading Jonah Lehrer’s work about the processes and practices that enhance a person’s creativity was one of those milestones at which I can say, “There was my life before reading this book and my life after reading this book.”

I liked how Imagine didn’t claim ownership to the secret of creativity, but rather explored various companies and organizations that maximize the creativity of their members (think Google, Pixar, and the pub outside of Oxford where Tolkien and Lewis founded the Inklings) in an attempt to figure out the best environment for a creative mind.

This was especially interesting to me as an English teacher, because encouraging students to be creative is a big part of what I hope to accomplish every day.  You’d think it would be easy to tell a student, “Here is pen and paper.  Make something happen,” but it’s not.  This book helped me make the process of teaching creativity a lot easier.

It’s a great source of information for anyone who seeks to cultivate creativity in any shape.  For example, David Byrne from The Talking Heads finds that riding his bike through unfamiliar parts of New York City is a great way to get his creative juices flowing.  The mere mental picture is enough to inspire creativity.

eleanor and park5. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (2013): The real tragedy about this book is that so many high school libraries refuse to carry it because of its content.  Not only is this insane to me—it’s no more shocking than the misadventures of Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter—but I strongly believe that every teenager in America needs to read this book right at this very moment.

Not only is this a perfect love story for anyone who considers themselves a geek—there’s a superb moment in which Park makes a Boba Fett reference come across as heart-swellingly romantic—but the titular characters feel like actual high school students.

Rowell’s characterization of high schoolers differs from the likes of say, John Green, but in the right way.  The characters in a John Green novel fire volleys of witty repartee back and forth with the grace and precision of a Quentin Tarantino film.  Though that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it does tend to make his characters seem more contrived.  Rainbow Rowell, on the other hand, makes more use of what the characters don’t say—which is a much more realistic vision of high school romance.  Because, let’s face it, when teenagers are in love, they don’t know what the hell they’re doing.

Alif the Unseen6. Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson (2013): One of the reasons that I like to read books is because occasionally, I stumble across something that shows me something new about the world—something that has always been there, but it’s just taken me awhile to notice.  Alif the Unseen tells the story of a teenage hacker in a militaristic Middle Eastern country who finds himself caught up in a mind-bending adventure that blends old-school magic with new-school tech savvy.  I know very little about life in the Middle East, but G. Willow Wilson’s novel provided a window into that culture by way of fantasy and mythology—which made the unfamiliar environment instantly accessible.

I enjoyed this book so much because it showed me that people in different parts of the world often have the same problems, doubts, and questions about love and authority that I do.  Alif the Unseen gets bonus points for creating that cultural bridge and introducing me to the morally ambiguous creature known as Vikram the Vampire at the same time.

Stay tuned for volume 2 of this epic list of lists.  HINT: it will be about video games.

Ruminations From the Real World

In real life, I’m an English teacher.  I recently started my fifth year teaching, and I still get the jibblies before actually meeting my students for the first time.  To cope with said jibblies, I wrote this article for The Educator’s Room.  If you’ve ever had to teach a class or interact with a group of adolescents for an extended period of time, you might find solace in the fact that it makes everyone other than Ron Swanson nervous.

English: Primary School in "open air"...

Don’t let that fancy hat fool you.  This fat dude is terrified of his students like the rest of us.

Comic-Con 2013

There are a lot of places where you can read about the extremely cool reveals and sneak peeks about the coming year in pop culture and general nerdery that is the San Diego Comic Con.  But chances are you’re seeing the Con through the eyes of someone with an all-access media pass or perhaps someone who enjoys some kind of celebrity status because of their cultural musings.  But, if you want to see the Con through the eyes of a regular, every day kind of geek (like myself), now is the time.

Having greased the applicable wheels, Sheree and I got a four day pass including preview night.  Typically, preview night is a chance to hit the exhibition hall with the intimate crowd of around 100,000 rather than 120,000 people.  This is the time for hardcore ebay merchants to secure all the Comic Con exclusives so they can hawk them at about 200% of their original value.  It’s a tactic we’ve tried before, but I think you need to have the predatory stock market mentality to make this work.  Like, you’ve got to be okay with stomping a sixty-year-old woman in the neck in order to make this lucrative.  They were also screening some new shows that will be out this fall, but I personally like to use preview night to get a feel for how that particular year is going to go.  Will there be a face-stabbing? Will the line gods be merciful? These are the important questions to contemplate on preview night.

Thursday was actually a pretty good day.  We started the day with a panel made up of film composers who have worked on superhero films.  This panel was cool for a few different reasons.  First, we got to see some footage from upcoming films.  For example, we saw a pretty decent clip from The Wolverine and one from the upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show.  Second, it was kind of funny to see these guys address the fact that making music for a superhero movie often leads to their work and the work of an entire orchestra get drowned out by the audio assault of sound effects that are also a superhero staple.  John Debney, who did the score for Iron Man 2 was particularly eloquent about this dynamic.

After that, we hopped in line for Hall H.  Ah, Hall H.  There are two large venues at the Con–Ballroom 20 and Hall H.  These lines are governed by fickle deities who share a twisted sense of humor.  We’ve never had a positive Ballroom 20 line experience, but Hall H has its ups and downs.  On Thursday, the gods were sleepy and unfocused on tormenting lesser beings.  We were able to get in and see some footage from Ender’s Game and Divergent which was pretty cool.  The crowd freaks out about Harrison Ford, but you can’t really blame them.  Characters that he’s played make up a pretty huge chunk of the geek universe–Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Rick Deckard and let’s not forget that crotchety news anchor from Morning Glory.  He always seems to be slightly pissed off to have to come to Comic Con, and I’m not sure if it’s hilarious or off-putting.  I did like his response to a fanboy who asked him what would happen if Indiana Jones and Han Solo met eachother: “I imagine they’d say something like, ‘Hi.  How are you?'”

Immediately following this panel was one of Entertainment Weekly‘s Visionary panels, where they get a few random actors/directors to sit and chat about life in the creative arts.  I actually really like these panels–we’ve seen James Cameron and Peter Jackson discuss the future of motion capture and J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon discuss stage magic and films from the 1980’s.  This year, the lineup included Alfonso Cuaron, Edgar Wright and Marc Webb.  Occasionally these panels have an odd man out–someone who might not be on the same page as the other panelists, and this year I felt that Marc Webb was an odd choice.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s a totally cool dude and I love (500) Days of Summer, but Alfonso Cuaron and Edgar Wright have these passion projects coming down the pipe, and he’s working on The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  All the same, it’s fun for a fan of movies and filmmakers to see these three guys chat about life in their world.  They always have a positive message about creativity and success to share, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Then Friday happened, and it nearly ruined everything.  In line at a quarter to seven, didn’t get into Hall H until around five.  Missed the Veronica Mars movie panel, and The Walking Dead season four panel.  Got in to see footage from the new Spider-Man, but that wasn’t worth the ten-hour wait.  Also, there was no way Hall H was filled to capacity.  We later heard through the grapevine that they were late letting people in, so way to screw up, Comic Con.  Dejected and sad, we went back to our hotel where we learned that there was no Santa Claus and that it was our parents that were leaving us money for our lost teeth.

We resolved to get started even earlier on Saturday–hit the Hall H line around five in the AM.  This time around, the line staff had learned from their mistakes and got a pretty early start.  We started off down by the bay, but as we slowly inched forth, it looked like the line gods were smiling upon us.  We managed to see all of the Hall H programming, and here’s the short list:

Sandra Bullock and Alfonso Cuaron: Gravity–movie looks awesome, Alfonso Cuaron is extremely polite and self-deprecating, and I thought Sandra Bullock was genuinely cool.

Godzilla, 300 2: 600, The Lego Movie: Meh.  Also, that’s not the real title for the new 300 movie.

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt: Edge of Tomorrow–Tom Cruise and Chris Hardwick (the moderator and one of my personal idols) sang some Foreigner together–apparently Chris Hardwick played Stacee Jaxx in a lesser known production of Rock of Ages .  Not sure about Edge of Tomorrow, though.  I think they should have kept the title of the graphic novel from which it was adapted–All You Need is Kill.  The way the actors described it made it sound decent, but the trailer made it look like just  another sci-fi whatever-the-hell movie.

Then Zack Snyder popped out and was all, “Hey guys, here’s a thing with a guy!” which was followed up with a brief teaser image for an upcoming Batman/Superman movie.  It made me a bit tingly.

Catching Fire and I, Frankenstein: Lots of folks on hand for Catching Fire, though it was hard to keep track of all of them with Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson being so damn entertaining and attractive.  I liked The Hunger Games and am looking forward to the sequel.  Boy, but I, Frankenstein looks like a steaming heap.  Aaron Eckhart was there, but I kinda felt bad that it was for this movie.

I’m sure there was some other stuff, but let’s talk about the moments that reignited the Comic Con magic that Friday had tried really hard to snuff out.  X-Men: Days of Future Past had all kinds of awesomeness happening.  Bryan Singer is directing, and it’s going to team the original cast of the X-Men films (minus Cyclops and Jean Grey.  Thanks Brett Ratner, you tool) with the cast of X-Men: First Class.  You know what that means? They were all there! Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy sitting next to Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart.  Badass.

At this point, I officially felt that particular type of Comic Con magic coursing through Hall H.  Regardless of how long I waited in line or how many people have gotten their sweat on me, seeing all of these amazing actors lend their talents to characters that have been like close friends throughout my childhood hanging out on one stage is pretty damn joyous.

And that was just the preshow.

The Marvel panel has traditionally been known to crank it up to eleven.  After all, we saw the Avengers assemble for the first time on that stage.

So.  Thor 2.  The panel starts off innocently enough.  Chris Hardwick brings out Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios and they chit chat a bit about their upcoming movies.  Then the lights go out.  No big deal, though.  They’re probably just showing the footage early because they’re behind schedule.  Whatevs.  Loki’s voice booms, “Humans.  Humans gathered in this pitiful kingdom of Midgard,” Right on.  Loki’s gonna be in this movie, so it makes sense that he’s the first voice you hear on the footage, “Known as…Hall H.” What? What? Whaaaaat? Boom! Tom Hiddleston in full Loki garb takes the stage and mocks us for our weakness.  Calls Chris Hardwick a “mewling quim.” Great stuff.  It looks like Thor 2 is going to involve lots of Dark Elf bashing.  Plus a possible love triangle among Lady Sif, Natalie Portman and Thor.  I’ll totally go see it.

Captain America 2: The whole cast was there–Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson.  My favorite part of the footage: Cap finds himself in an elevator at what I assume to be S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters.  Small groups of dudes get in on each floor, but Cap notices some strangeness–one dude is sweating profusely, another shifts his weight like he’s packing heat.  When the elevator stops, Cap’s all, “I just have one thing to say: Any of you want to get out?” Cap proceeds to take these chumps down in a wicked close-proximity melee.  Very cool scene to open with.

Guardians of the Galaxy: I admit, when Marvel announced the movie adaptation of this comic, I thought to myself, “Wait.  The one with the space raccoon? Really?” But since following some buzz–James Gunn signing on to direct and Chris Pratt as Starlord–my interest was piqued.  And then, they showed the damn trailer and it’s now become a bit of an obsession.  John C. Reilly as a Kree detention officer going over the dossiers of each of the Guardians, and Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser claiming, “They sound like a bunch of a-holes.” was enough to make me giggle like an idiot.

Oh, and they wrapped with Joss Whedon popping out to announce the title of the new Avengers movie which will be…The Rise of Ullllltrooooon!!!! Well done, Marvel.

Sunday found us visiting panels chock full of authors, which is always a good way to spend the last day of the Con.  I really enjoyed the spotlight on Neil Gaiman, as he has a wonderfully soothing voice and when someone with a wonderfully soothing voice talks about books, writing and literature in general, I’m usually quite satisfied.

And that’s Comic Con year six, folks.  Though this is a pretty long post, and I feel like I’ve masterfully encapsulated our experience, it’s no match for attending and seeing it all for yourself.  It’s a bitch to get tickets, but my friends, it’s something that you must do at least once before someone kills you.

Aficion

Found on the Lego wall at Comic Con

Years ago, during one of my first semesters in college, I read the classic Hemingway novel The Sun Also Rises.  For those who haven’t read it, the book focuses on Jake, a WWI veteran and expat living in Paris,  who decides to travel with a group of his friends to Spain to see the running of the bulls.  When Jake is there, he meets a guy named Montoya and the two bond over their shared aficion–both men are passionate about bullfighting.  For these aficionados, there is a respect for the sport that goes beyond mere fandom, almost becoming a reverence aimed at something they both admire deeply.

In John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, the main character loves a book called An Imperial Affliction, and she expresses what it’s like to be an aficionado:  “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like betrayal.”

If you’re like me, you’ve experienced the same thing:  someone starts talking about a book, a TV show, a movie that you truly love and instead of enthusiastically joining in the conversation, you pause, trying to keep the skeptical look off of your face.  You get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.  These people, you realize, have no idea the awesomeness of the thing they’re talking about.  They lack aficion, you think, while simultaneously feeling slightly embarrassed at your own snobbery.  You smile at the offending parties, perhaps you nod as they talk about their favorite parts.  But inside, you know that these people aren’t aficionados and never will be.  They don’t understand or appreciate that album/book/song/movie the way you do.  So you politely change the subject and breathe a sigh of relief when the topic changes to something you don’t really care about, like boating trips or Game of Thrones.

Lines at Comic-Con are an interesting place to experience this very phenomenon.  Most people waiting are hard core–they know their fandoms and they take their love of pop culture seriously.  Last year, I had the most interesting conversation with two Canadian guys about whether The Big Bang Theory accurately portrayed nerd culture or, as they theorized, it was a form of “nerdface.”  Two years ago Alex and I met two actors in line for Hall H who just wanted to shoot the breeze about the movie industry.  They were casual and down to earth about their various stints in acting and screenwriting and fandom, completely lacking the pretention you might expect from that kind of conversation.

Not all fans at the Con have aficion, however.  We once encountered a Han Solo cosplayer who was loudly talking about Star Wars and Firefly without any level of true aficion, as if he were showing off for the rest of us in line.  I also found his distaste for Twilight fans to be a bit ironic–if you’re obsessed enough to dress in a Han Solo costume, you don’t get to pass judgment on other people’s fandom.  Considering how far back we were and how unlikely it was that we were getting in to see the panel we were waiting for, it was particularly frustrating.

So, where does your aficion lie?  What fandoms transcend mere interest and become a passion for you?

Little Hand Says It’s Time to Rock and Roll

Point Break

Though it’s true that political discourse in our country has achieved new levels of vitriolic mudslinging, name calling, flimflamming, and finger pointing, the fact remains that come November, Americans will have to make a choice as to who will lead the Free World.  But who will do the most for our country? Who will truly step up to the plate and get the U.S. of A. back on track? I for one have given up on looking for answers in the hollow words of politicians–words that have been purchased by billionaires gunning for a tax break.  In order to truly understand what is best for our future, one must look to the past–specifically to the year 1991.  It was in this year that Kathryn Bigelow’s cinematic masterpiece Point Break was released.  Though Bigelow herself may not have known just how lost we would become as a country, I maintain that screenwriters Rick King and W. Peter Iliff were possessed of a preternatural understanding of American politics.  Through their deep comprehension of the political sciences, they were able to accurately predict two startling realities that we would face today.  First, the Republican and Democratic parties as we know them are nothing more than facades to conceal the interests of the obscenely wealthy.  Second, in order to distract the general public from this reality, both parties would work to strain bipartisan relationships among their constituencies to the breaking point–a point break, if you will.

Knowing that their discovery was too important to leave to the bureaucratic red tape of Washington D.C., they turned to Hollywood to get their message to the public.  Choosing to couch their scathing indictment of the American political climate in the 21st century within an action film that would be mass marketed to America’s poor and working class, Point Break was released.  Not since Picasso’s Guernica has a piece of art so elegantly condemned the greed and corruption that runs rampant among those with the most power.

The opening of this rabbit hole is revealed during the opening credits of the film.  Two scenes are juxtaposed together–one depicting the film’s protagonist John “Johnny” Utah (Keanu Reeves) on the brink of completing his FBI training, the other depicting the film’s antagonist known only as Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) on the brink of robbing yet another bank.  Through the interaction between these two characters, King and Iliff illustrate the relationship between the common man and the government.  In Point Break, today’s government is represented by Bodhi and his three accomplices who operate under the nom de crime “The Ex-Presidents.”   Though the exploration of this theme lacks the subtlety that King and Iliff demonstrated in 1990’s Prayer of the Rollerboys, its relevance is in no way diminished.

Why Be A Servant to the Law When You Can Be Its Master?

An in-depth analysis of the presidents that King and Iliff decided to include is very telling: Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan (supposedly, the original script included a fifth bank robber to be disguised as Gerald Ford, but due to budget restraints elsewhere, he was not included in the film).  These presidents represent the period of time after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which marked a gradual decline into the political situation that we now see before us.  When their true characters are revealed, the audience learns that the Ex-Presidents are actually thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies who rob banks in order to finance their addiction.  They are perfect archetypal representations of the wealthy who will never be truly satisfied, no matter how much money and power they amass.  The decision to name their leader Bodhi (short for Bodhisattva, one who has obtained enlightenment according to Buddhist theology) alludes to the extremely rich who claim that their vast wealth is merely a result of their own enlightenment.

I Was Taking Shrapnel in Khe Sanh When You Were Crapping In Your Hands and Rubbing It On Your Face

Enter Special Agent John Utah.  Obviously, the choice to name the protagonist after a state in the Union bears some significance.  Some theorists argue that the use of a traditionally conservative state like Utah hints at a conservative revivalist movement such as the Tea Party.  However, I tend to side with the school of thought that believes that King and Iliff wanted to use one of the fifty states as the name for their protagonist, and Johnny Utah was the most convincing for an action hero.

Utah’s youth and enthusiasm have earned him a unique perspective on the bank robbery scene in Los Angeles.  He is assigned to an aging Vietnam veteran named Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey), and together they develop a plan to stop the Ex-Presidents–despite being ridiculed by everyone else in their department.  Utah and Pappas represent the symbiotic relationship that the younger generation needs to have with the older generation in order to effectively end the corruption of those who feel they are above the law.  Pappas, who has grown disillusioned with the state of his department, needs Utah to reignite his desire to confront and change the problems before him.  In exchange, Utah gains the wisdom and experience that Pappas, a remnant of the Kennedy era, will provide.

You’re Saying the FBI Is Going to Pay Me to Learn to Surf?

In order to find and eliminate the Ex-Presidents, Special Agent Utah must infiltrate their tightly-knit social group and bring them down from within.  His journey into the world of surfing and extreme sports is a modern visualization of Frank Capra’s 1939 classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  In his efforts to expose the Ex-Presidents, Utah becomes so entrenched in their world that he can’t escape unscathed.  When Bodhi discovers Utah’s actual plans, he forces him to accompany his gang on a bank robbery, thus effectively turning Utah into that which he is trying to destroy.  Only by sacrificing everything is Utah able to finally catch Bodhi, which brings us to the final scene.  Utah has Bodhi cornered on a beach in Australia.  Bodhi just wants to ride the ultimate wave to his inevitable death, whereas Utah wants to bring Bodhi in to face justice.  Utah’s decision to let Bodhi catch his final wave indicates that though Utah has endured many scars on his quest to bring about a change, he has not sacrificed his soul.

Vaya Con Dios

In presenting this message for analysis, King and Iliff have reached out to our generation from the past.  They witnessed the beginning of the end, and created Point Break in an effort to guide us through our current political crisis.  It is important that we not forget that politicians are merely adrenaline junkies operating under the guise of enlightened leaders, and if just one state can pull itself together by encouraging the younger generation to cooperate with the older generation, there might be a chance to make some kind of difference.  It’s not going to come cheaply or easily.  We may lose face along the way.  But if you want the ultimate, you have to be willing to pay the ultimate price.