Oregon Movies, A to Z

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Point Break (1991)

March 12th, 2010 by Anne Richardson · 3 Comments · 1990's, Oregon film, Oregon film old definition, Oregon location (cameo), Westerns

Keanu Reeves is a law man who male bonds with the thief  he is supposed to bring to justice. Patrick Swayze shows his willing student a thing or two about surfing (in the dark) and skydiving (holding hands) and choosing when/when not to obey the law. Keanu is from Ohio, so this is all new to him. Swayze’s spectacular physical grace temporarily blinds him, as it does everyone in the theater.  There is a moment in the skydiving scene where Swayze pirouettes in thin air. He spins around his own axis, just as if he was wearing ice skates and not a unopened parachute. Keanu, who is ambitious, impatient, and nursing an old football injury, is defenseless against this gratuitous display of physical confidence, strength and joy.

Kathryn Bigelow shot a tiny sliver of her fourth feature on the Oregon Coast, at Ecola State Park. The criteria for granting a director recognition as an Oregon filmmaker is notoriously elastic, and changes from case to case. Bigelow inadvertently solidified her claim on this title, despite the short amount of time she spent shooting in Oregon, by describing Point Break in interview as a “wet Western”.

Oregon has faultless bloodlines when it comes to the Western. The source material for one of the most influential Westerns ever made, Stagecoach (1939),was written in a small office right off Sandy Boulevard in Portland. John Wayne’s breakthrough role, the Ringo Kid, was invented by Oregon native (and Reed drop out) Ernest Haycox. Orson Welles famously prepared for  Citizen Kane by watching Stagecoach over and over again. Kathryn Bigelow was rumored to have done the same thing while in film school at Columbia.

In fact, the rumor was that that was all she did at Columbia.

I hereby claim Point Break as an Oregon film, based on location shooting done on the Oregon Coast, and in the Oregon rain.

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