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Old School Surf Film Series: Big Wednesday

The Charleston Music Hall is thrilled to be teaming up once again with The Carolina Surf Film Festival to present an Old School Surf Film Series this Summer kicking off with Big Wednesday on Thursday, June 14th at 8pm! Throw on your short swimsuit and grab your longboard, as we take you back in time to see Hollywood's best surf film ever made starring Gary Busey, William Kat and Jan Michael Vincent. Tickets are only $10 and are on sale now!

Forty years ago, "a film was released that showed the complex relationship between a group of friends, separated by time, distance, and war but connected in their love for each other and, um, for surfing. It is deeply personal movie about catching the big wave and missing out on Vietnam, made by the man who inspired John Goodman's Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski. It's as compelling and as insane as you might imagine.

Big Wednesday,co-written and directed by John Milius, focuses on three surfers and their lives before and after the Vietnam War. It is one of Milius' most personal movies-yes, even more personal than Red Dawn, Conan the Barbarian, or Flight of the Intruder-largely because Milius actually was an avid surfer who wanted to serve in Vietnam but was turned down due to his asthma. There is an epic sweep to the proceedings that reflects his ambition and idealism as well as his distance from the thing he was so ambitious and idealistic about; in the DVD commentary, Milius says he originally conceived of Big Wednesday as a novel.

Either way, "cult classic" seems to be about the ceiling for this one. Big Wednesday had the misfortune of being lost in 1978, a peak year for both pre-Boomer nostalgia and Vietnam melodramas, and as it is neither Grease or Animal House nor The Deer Hunter or Coming Home, it fell all the way through the cracks. But simply by dint of being Big Wednesday, it stands out on its own, and deserves a second look by critics and a first look by the general public.

Jan-Michael Vincent, William Katt, and Gary Busey are Matt Johnson, Jack Barlowe, and Leroy "The Masochist" Smith, three Malibu surfers who come of age in the 1960s. Matt is the troubled genius of the three, the best surfer but also an immature drunk who takes his damn time growing up. Jack is the moral center, the straight-laced fella who accepts his call to service but not without the cost of his true love. The Masochist is played by Busey, and is pretty self-explanatory.

Big Wednesday does not have a plot so much as self-contained sections spanning the years 1962, 1965, 1968, and 1974. You get the gang raising hell north and south of the border in the first act, and then figuring out how to evade the draft. Act 2.5 is the weakest, although it finds the trio mourning the loss of a fellow surfer (Darrell Fetty) who earlier tried to pass as gay, but wound up drafted into the Marines. The strongest of all these is the final part, the titular Big Wednesday, where these surfers gather one more time as veterans (of surfing) to both acknowledge and put aside the past, and also to surf the biggest damn waves the coast ever did see" (Vice Sports).

Dinner & Show option available for an additional $32
Call for reservations after purchasing Dinner & Show option
Dinner at Vincent Chicco's - (843) 203-3002
Dinner at Virginia's on King - (843) 735-5800

Date:

Event has passed

Location:

Charleston Music Hall
37 John Street

Contact:

843-853-2252

Category:

Family Fun

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