Long before Kevin Bacon was a creepy guy on The River Wild, he was a creepy guy in White Water Summer. White Water Summer is about a kid named Alan (played by a young Sean Astin), and a few other kids who go on an extended backpacking trip with an older guide name Vic (played by Kevin Bacon). Vic uses the trip to teach the kids valuable life lessons, but in dangerous and careless ways. Alan has a problem with this, and the two of them butt heads and the tension between them rises.
Sean Astin narrates the movie in an extensive interview that’s intercut throughout the film. It’s very jarring, especially because it was filmed two years after the rest of the movie. He looks way older, is sitting on a chair in the woods, he’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and it seems like a blatant rip-off of Ferris Bueller or something. It doesn’t suit the tone of the movie.
The bulk of the movie is filmed outdoors. It makes you want to go camping. There are a lot of cool scenes and shots of them hiking and canoeing, and it makes you want to get outside too.
Vic tries to teach the boys to respect nature. He just wants them to respect it the same way that he does. He teaches them fishing techniques, but gets mad when Alan does things his own, more effective way. Vic wants the boys to become men, he just does it in an over the top manner. Alan is just a little whiney bitch who thinks that he is the shit because he is a teenager. Granted Vic is fucked up in the head, but his heart is in the right place. Alan is stubborn and unwilling to listen to a point of view that differs from his own.
There is a part of the movie where the boys and Vic part ways. The boys all end up huddled together, sleeping on the ground, some of them using their sleeping bags as pillows. WTF? Did it not dawn on any of the actors, producers, writers or director to have them actually sleep in the sleeping bags? Seriously, that shit bugs me more than any nitpicky thing I’ve seen in any movie. FUCKING SLEEP IN YOUR SLEEPING BAG, THAT’S WHAT IT IS FUCKING FOR.
So anyway, at one point Vic breaks his leg, and Alan must use his wilderness skills to get him safely off the mountain. It is a very anti-climactic ending. Vic doesn’t go totally crazy, and Alan never kills him in self-defense. The whole movie builds up a tension that only escalates into a mutual respect for each other. This is America, we want violence and death.
This is a lame movie. It is not a classic. It is not very good. I am only writing about this because I saw it on HBO a few weeks ago and was duped into watching the whole thing. If this is your favorite movie, I am pretty sure that we are not friends.
Critically Rated at 3/17