Ah, "Whitewater Summer." Ever heard of it? Sean Astin from “The Goonies,” “Rudy,” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and Kevin Bacon in a film that based on some half-assed internet research he has never publicly acknowledged his part in following its release. I recently found myself re-watching this 1987 flick, and let me tell you, it's not exactly what you'd call Oscar bait (Kristin hated it!).
The film is a bit like that old, worn canoe you might've paddled in as a kid – it's got its leaks, the paint's peeling, and it's probably seen better days. But hey, it still floats. The storyline is pretty straightforward: a group of city boys, led by Bacon's character Vic, head out into the wilderness for a summer of adventure. Astin's character, Alan, is the odd one out – a kid who'd rather read a book than rappel down a cliff.
Now, don't get me wrong, the film has its moments where you're just rolling your eyes – like, seriously, Vic? Leaving poor Alan hanging from his harness, suspended over a crevasse to "figure it out?" Kevin Bacon's character twists and turns between a motivational camp counselor and a sociopath throughout most of the film. But amidst the Bruce Hornsby soundtrack and 80s cheese, there's this undeniable spirit of adventure that kind of grabs you.
As I sat there, watching these kids navigate the trials and tribulations of the great outdoors, it struck me – we all need a bit of that wild, untamed spirit in our lives. In a world where we're often tied to our desks, screens, and endless to-do lists, there's something invigorating about the idea of throwing caution to the wind and just... going for it.
"Whitewater Summer," in all its flawed glory, reminded me of the times I stepped out of my comfort zone. Earlier this summer when Paxton and I were backpacking the Centennial Trail and I was struggling through the last 20 miles with an injury, I felt alive in a way that's hard to capture when you're just plodding through the daily grind.
Sure, the movie isn't going to win any awards for groundbreaking cinematography or airtight plotlines. But as I watched Vic and the boys push their limits, I couldn't help but feel a little inspired. It's a reminder that sometimes, you've got to take the road less traveled, get a little mud on your boots, and maybe – just maybe – find yourself along the way.
So, here's to "Whitewater Summer" – a film that's not quite a masterpiece, but a heck of a call towards adventure.