If you can, cast your mind back to 1991. (This exercise may prove difficult if you were in diapers at the time, or impossible if you did not yet exist; in such circumstances, please bear with me–this will be short.) '91 was the year the Soviet Union breathed its last. It was when we met Macaulay Culkin, grunge, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Bread went for 73 cents a pound, which seems mind-boggling mostly because I have never bought bread by the pound. We've only bought it by the loaf, incased in a clear plastic bag, or a paper bag if the bread was artisanal or from an actual bakery.
This interlude inspired me to consult with the loaf of Sara Lee sitting on our kitchen counter. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Sara weighed in at a hefty-sounding 1 lb 4 oz. I've been buying bread by the pound this entire time. You have too, unless you're still baking sourdough like it's 2020.
In 1991, I was a 13 year-old living in Metro Detroit rocking a spiked mullet with racing stripes.
I wish I was joking.
There was a brief blip in time when this haircut was considered cool, and then it was cast into the fiery chasm from whence it came. I'd like to claim my haircut was unintentional, the result of some horrific woodchipper accident or a mean-spirited prank. But I requested it, and walked away feeling like a bad ass.
My mom must've taken pity on me because I have zero pictures of this monstrosity. I briefly considered including a random picture of this hairstyle for illustrative purposes, but my ego can't deal with thousands of people laughing at me. There's google if you really need to see it.
All of this is to say, I had my finger on the pulse of cool in 1991. And Point Break was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen, complete lack of mullets aside. (It's ironic that Patrick Swayze, a guy who'd never met a mullet he didn't like, ditched the look in 1991. He'd read the room better than 13 year-old me.)
Though it gets a fair amount of nostalgic brain space these days, Point Break was more of a cult film that grew in the telling than a box office juggernaut. It made just over 43 million domestically, which seems like a low figure even accounting for inflation. According to an inflation calculator I just discovered on the Internet, and therefore is obviously reputable, $1 from July 1991 is equivalent to $2.22 today, bringing the inflation-adjusted haul to about 95 million. Sounds decent until you realize an animated movie about Superman and Batman's dogs brought in nearly the same amount last year, and I'm not convinced people had yet returned to the theaters with their pre-Covid enthusiasm. DC Super-Pets probably left money on the table.
Point Break is 26th on 1991's list of highest grossing films, behind such notable classics as Doc Hollywood and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. The only movies on this list I'd actually put ahead of Point Break are: T2, The Silence of the Lambs, Dances with Wolves, and Boyz n the Hood. The rest of the list includes good movies, but I haven't felt the need to revisit Robin Hood or City Slickers since 1991, which is telling. Then again, I'm obviously biased and possibly compromised, as this is the second in a series of long-ass articles on the surfer-thieves movie.
The reason I have revisited Point Break so frequently can be summarized thusly: Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) and Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves). Yes, I love the Ex-Presidents–clearly–but all the film's juice comes from the relationship between the two leads. And it is a relationship. Theirs is a full-on bromance, but I have never pursued any bro with all the gnarly gusto these guys bring to bear. Nor have I ever told any friend, "you want me so bad it's like acid in your mouth."
Maybe I'm doing friendship wrong.