" Because it’s a great book doesn’t mean you have to like it "
— John Sealy, Stone Reader

MRQE Top Critic

Winsor McCay -- The Master Edition

A new DVD offers an opportunity to see films by a master of animation —Andrea Birgers (DVD review...)

Gertie the Dinosaur, born of Winsor McCay

Sponsored links

The big Norwegian surfing competition is coming, and a monster wave is on its way as well, a rare phenomenon in which one wave grows massive as it steals power from its neighboring wave set. MonsterThursday is a Norwegian surf drama centered on disturbances in the atmosphere and disturbances between lovers.

At Karen and Tord’s wedding, the best man is Karen’s ex-boyfriend, Even, who makes an embarrassingly bitter speech about losing his former love to the groom, who is a talented surfer and has a good job. Karen is even pregnant with Tord’s child, much to Even’s chagrin. Tord may not be fully committed to his burgeoning bride, however; when called away on a business trip late in Karen’s pregnancy, Tord surfs in Bali and lies to Karen. The dissolute Even decides to try to win the beautiful Karen back, and becomes more sympathetic when he makes a sincere effort to master the slippery art of surfing to impress her.

Surfing provides a metaphor for life in this film as in many other surfing films; here, Even does everything the hard way. He chooses a tricky, showoffy short surfboard when advised that longboards give a smoother ride and are more “old school.” When he gets into the water, he completely fails, battered by the surf until his friends have to haul him out of the water. Even’s surfer guru tells him to relax in the water: “You don’t always need to struggle to survive.”

In one subplot, the surfer guru falls in love with the atmospheric scientist who is predicting the monster wave. In one scene that gives a glimmer of hope to the entire film, these characters show the elegant simplicity of falling in love with someone who loves you in return, in direct opposition to the complex and unfulfilling melodrama of the Even-Karen-Tord triangle.

Whether Even would become a mensch, compete in the surfing competition, win Karen’s heart again, and confront the monster wave kept me guessing throughout most of the 104 minutes of this stormy romantic drama.