Surfwise - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Surfwise Reviews

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August 17, 2016
A wonderful journey of life, as we don't know it.
May 16, 2016
Well that's one way to do it. As expected, some elements that make the patriarch appealing, some bordering on appalling or at least just unusual.
April 7, 2016
will make any of our parents look rational and sane.
February 24, 2015
Various philosophies of life :
January 3, 2014
Very interesting documentary. I never heard of the Paskowitzes before this film. They had a very different story and lifestyle. Part of me thinks it would be cool to live like them, but the other part is alright as is. Ha.
½ December 16, 2012
Surwise opened right away their weren't any previews and I was a little suprised it only took an hour and twenty minutes to get through. Doc "Dorian" Paskowitz an established doctor had a dream to seek truth and knowledge he then quit his practice and traveled to Tel Aviv Israel and would you believe tuaght locals how to lesson 1 Israel has rad swells! Wonderful anecdotes enjoyable music and great TRUE go see it, It's in Hillcrest so cover up...
June 15, 2012
Surfwise captures the story of a fascinating lifestyle experiment and its results. Viewers will likely examine their own thoughts about what things do and don't make life good and meaningful as they watch this unique documentary and weigh in on its characters' decisions.
June 12, 2012
Entertaining and good-natured documentary. Truth is stranger than fiction, and all that. Well-made, smartly-edited. Any sense of a lack of enthusiasm can be placed on the fact that, while fun to watch and satisfying, the whole enterprise feels paint-by-numbers -- or worse, like a surface treatment of an interesting story.
½ January 5, 2012
This documentary follows the life of Dr. Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz, a handsome Stanford-educated man who gave up the conventional lifestyle to get married, pop out 9 children, squeeze them all into a 24-foot camper, and drive around the country searching for surf spots. We're treated to his philosophies on life, health, and (unfortunately) sex. In the beginning, this lifestyle seems fun and a dream-come-true and even opened opportunities for the Paskowitz kids later in life. They didn't go to school, since their father insisted they could learn more just living life rather than sitting in a classroom. There's truth to this. Most people probably don't remember a lot of what they learned in school. Still education, home-schooling or public schooling, is very important and we see this as the film goes into a much darker side of the family's lifestyle. As adults, the Paskowitz kids are wholly unprepared for life in society due to their upbringing and they blame their dad for this.

Lack of education aside, Doc is also revealed to have a dictator-like control over his family. His kids must do what he says. They must surf or be punished physically, which he enlists the oldest son, David, to carry out on occasions. It is revealed David chases down one of his brothers while his father encourages him to choke him until blood gushes from his nose. The kids refer to Doc as "Fidel" and the family dynamic as "the Reich" in their interviews. Doc later expresses remorse over his behavior and realizes his fault in wanting to control everyone else but himself. His wife admits earlier in the film that she doesn't remember a lot about their life in the camper, which is strange considering it was such a gigantic part of their lives. My guess is that she's repressed most of it. If an experience like that was always so good, there's no way someone would just forget it. We can only really speculate on what she may have been really feeling and how selective her memory is. Was she afraid to stand up to her husband? I don't know.

Still, I think it was a good twist, if you will, for the filmmakers to reveal that this Bohemian lifestyle wasn't such a flawless dream. There were serious issues and complications that helped to rip this family apart. For ten years they were all estranged from each other. In the end, though, the family reunion seeks to show us a happy ending. That all is forgiven and forgotten and on one hand, that is a nice thought to believe they have finally overcome this. But is this really the case? Is it really a happy ending for the Paskowitz family? I doubt it.

I wonder if Doc has ever actually apologized to his kids for any of this? If he didn't, he needed to. He admits to the camera he was wrong but what about them? Let's hope he did and that this really IS a happy ending.
½ November 7, 2011
A rather ordinary documenary on an interesting subject. Looking into what worked and what didn't work in this unconventional family makes it worthwhile and thought provoking.
August 28, 2011
Crazy look at a crazy family. Fascinating. Utterly.
½ August 23, 2011
very interesting doc
Super Reviewer
½ July 16, 2011
After watching Surfwise; I don't know what to think of "Doc" and the way he raised his children. All I know is that I wouldn't have wanted to grow up that way. Doc seems like he had the best intentions, but still have this feeling of hate towards the way he chose to bring up his children. I don't understand how he can think he did the right thing. He closed them off to the world and prevented them from getting an education. He wants us to believe that they got the education they needed and that public education is not important.

I liked listening to his kids talk about their experiences and how it affected them, but I hated having to listen to Doc speak his weird views on life. Even with how I feel about Doc's choices and beliefs; I still don't think he is a horrible father. He was with his kids, and he obviously loved them. He just didn't allow them the basic freedoms most kids have. He kids called him a dictator.

Surfwise is a well-made and entertaining documentary about a "different" family and the ways it affected all of them.
June 11, 2011
Cool documentary film!
May 29, 2011
a completely inspirational film showing the highs and lows of growing up wild and beautiful.
March 17, 2011
If you have Netflix, you MUST watch this documentary about the Paskowitz family. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!
½ December 29, 2010
This films follows an extraordinary family, the Paskowitz family. It's true story, with true family members recounting memories of living and traveling all together, 11 people in a 23 ft. trailer.
December 9, 2010
I really liked it. Gave me a good background on some people I really care about. There needs to be a sequel so we can see where everyone is at now..
November 6, 2010
If you thought your family has issues, just wait until you see the Paskowitz's. This is a very well made look at everything from life, family and society through the eyes of a Jewish surfing doctor and his 10 children who lived their entire life at the beach (literally).
October 22, 2010
Really entertaing doc.
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