Review: Outdated Children

Gra Murdoch
The Depth Test

A film by Mick Waters / Little House Productions
1hour 2 minutes. 
Available on Vimeo for rent or purchase via littlehouseproductions.com.au 
Signed DVDs also available.

Early-ish in 2013 Mick Waters and wife Sue hitched the Viscount pop top to the Landcruiser and embarked on an open-ended road trip, to show kids Ruby, Skye and Sunny parts of Oz they’d spent time in twenty years before, and to discover new places together. A filmmaker by trade, Mick packed his tools aboard with a view to posterity, and jumping on the odd commission along the way.

Like any good roady, the Waters’ odyssey took many twists and turns, and one of the outcomes, six-odd years later, is ‘Outdated Children’, not so much a document of the family’s adventure as a series of vignettes about surfers they met – or got to know better – along the way.

Here's Mick growing out his beard - mandatory for any serious filmmaker

To put a bit of context around the title, before we dive in and nitpick this admirable film, the term comes from a Dr Seuss quote ‘Adults are just outdated children’ – and the idea, as articulated by laconic narrator Wayne Lynch, is just to keep things simple, natural, joyful. Be childlike but not childish. And this theme hums along almost imperceptibly in the background.

Righto, so let’s (metaphorically) press play and fast forward at the same time for a zoom through the fillum and see what we get. 

Glen ‘Case’ Casey provides the perfect opening act. Case is a lovely and unique fella – an Otway larrikin with a shrewd mind and an expansive forehand carve. He also more than likely facilitated many of the introductions in this film. Case is one of Oz surfing’s great connectors.

Rasta then pops up to introduce Addy Jones. Addy’s a trip: a recycling / creative / repurposing / genius / wizard / hermit with an extraordinary beard matted into a rope that’d tether an ocean liner to a dock. Great footage of Addy shaping, gardening, surfing a windswept lil’ right on his lonesome; there’s extraordinary landscapes, pot bellied heaters aflame in slo-mo, timber wax combs branded by candlelight, a baby wombat being tended – it’s all almost unbearably folksy but there’s no denying the force of a remarkable good soul. 

And here’s Addy talking to camera, resplendent in Patagonia tee shirt and cap and… hey, hang on: Lynchy? Case? Rasta? Now this decked-out bloke (who’s as likely to buy his gear at a surf shop as I am to ride a SUP?) … Like… is this a Patagonia film or what? There’s no ‘Patagonia Presents’ or anything, no branding as such, but so far it’s been an all-star Patagonia cabal, and the tees and caps and puffer jackets and fleecies will continue to adorn most of Mick’s subjects…

So I call Mick and ask him what the deal is, and find out that, well, the big P may not have tipped much in the way of bucks in to the project but they were supportive in other meaningful ways and (my opinion, not Mick’s) probably come close to earning the currency Mick’s creation gives them. I would say with the greatest respect to Patagonia, who are ace, however, that they might still owe Mick a favour or three. 

Anyway, we’re hunkered down in Tassie now, for the mighty South West Marine Debris Cleanup – a fine, hardcore volunteer effort started by Matt Dell and Dave Wyatt, with Dusto Hollick providing the surfing and verbiage, which connects to Marti Paradisis and Shippies, which connects to Sandy Ryan, a hardcore walker-inner to Shippies, which leads to Mick Fanning having a very good dig, which leads to filmmaker Waters himself and a bit of selfy stick action lugging 30 kilos of camera gear in on the two hour hike, which connects with more Shippies Glory. It’s a fairly stunning and intense ten minutes or so, and a credit to Mick’s thoroughness around context (how deftly he uses various voiceovers to place his subjects); his skills as a swimming filmer and his excellent music choice (songs start off sounding like Jack Johnson’s F-Stop blues but thankfully take interesting turns and textures). 

One of the few small criticisms that can be levelled at this section, and indeed this film, is that sometimes Mick’s commitment to context, storytelling and inclusivity results in the odd jarring moment or inclusion. But it’s refreshing and rare for a filmmaker to opt for substance over style.

Now we meet the shy, legendary and mythical Camel (via sick archival footage from G'Land). Camel’s another great Aussie enigma, and it’s here we should note: you don’t just bowl up in the desert and say, “G’day Camel, wanna be in me film, mate?” No, you have to go surfing together several times, establish rapport and trust and a foundation of friendship. These things take time, and it’s another huge tip of the hat to Mick for earning the candour of his subjects (all while lugging caravan and wrangling kids lest we forget). For all I’d heard about Camel over the years, this is the first time I’ve gotten a real good look at his surfing (in both lefts and rights of consequence) and a peek into his character. Many fine quotes are in this film, but Camel’s philosophy perhaps holds truest of all “Fuck that, surfing around where there’s heaps of people… that’s just like madness”.  

From Camel to Heath Joske, who lives the values of this film to a tee: Epic parents one side, lil bubba on the other; no-bullshit DIY work ethic; creativity; open-mindedness; simple pleasures; grow your own; build your own, all that stuff. And a bullshit torqued out rail drive in the classic Trent Munro / Joe Engel mould. 

Heaf Jozza on the cover

Cue uptempo blues and utopian desert barrels. (No wonder Heath turned into a campaigning beast when the Bight became a fight.) More dolphins (you can never really get too much of those blowhole breathing buggers can you?), and a mellow comedown to the credits – footage of The Waters’ family shack being built mixed with Mick’s kids taking turns in the shorey – it’s gorgeous and genuinely affecting, to the point that when Mick Fanning pops up as the ‘last word’, it feels a bit off-key among the cast of classic off-grid archetypes. 

No disrespect to MF, who’s as genuine as they come, but Outdated Children stands more than strong without a marquee figure. It’s a ripper film made with heart and skill by one of Australia’s best current surf-filmmakers.

Top five for sure.

// GRA MURDOCH

Comments

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 12:13pm

sick, can't wait to watch it.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 12:21pm

It was a great film, but what I want to know is, how did Camel score that left with just him and the dolphins?

maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 12:35pm

Top bloke Mick - had the pleasure of surfing with him and his family in the desert a bunch of times. Good surfer too.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 1:37pm

yeah, apart from being a Rabbitohs supporter, he's awesome.

joesydney's picture
joesydney's picture
joesydney commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 10:43pm

Makes him more awesome x1000....

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 2:10pm

Itching to watch the Camel section/footage.
Will pay for this, happily. And great review, Gra!

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 4:53pm

"sometimes Mick’s commitment to context, storytelling and inclusivity results in the odd jarring moment or inclusion. But it’s refreshing and rare for a filmmaker to opt for substance over style."

It's a nice review and sounds like a cool film but I don't understand what the above paragraph means. What is the odd jarring moment or inclusion?

Scuse my ignorance but could anyone re-word that for me.

1173

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 4:59pm

Hi mate. My Bad. I guess what I was trying to say (but did so poorly) was that I reckon Mick kept a few little clunky bits and pieces in the film that other editors might have axed. I also reckon he deliberately kept 'em in out of consideration for the subject, knowing that the end result wouldn't be quite so slick and polished. Cheers

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 5:51pm

Oh, thankyou. Now that makes more sense to me.

1173

brainiac's picture
brainiac's picture
brainiac commented Sunday, 31 May 2020 at 7:05pm

This is a wonderful film. Good tunes and beautifully shot. Any surfer worth their salt will enjoy this.

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 9:29am

Thanks for sharing mate! I'd half written a review of it too, having watched it at a pretty sad point of beaches being closed down in Tassie and any chance of meaningful (to me) surfing happening for the next 12 months being shut down. The film was really poignant and asked all the right questions.

For what it's worth, the film is worth purchasing for the Camel section alone (not a comment on the quality on the rest of the film). I'm calling a section of him on that left in the sunset one of the best bits of Australian surf videography; picture Kidman's section of Daze Shayne at the start of Glass Love, but in some dreamy surf, with one of the most mysterious surfing characters, in a wild wild place. Can only imagine the feeling for Mick of all of that coming together in one session!

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 9:35am

Yeah it was great to yak with Mick about it and be reminded of all the patience and time that goes into making that kinda thing happen.

owgoodaquads's picture
owgoodaquads's picture
owgoodaquads commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 9:50am

I forked out for the DVD and a T-shirt (it labels me just right, I'm a big kid). I think it is insightful and refreshing and extends well from Mick's 'Believe' and 'Little Black Wheels'. I guess I'm a fan. Finding the ideal of uncrowded waves and giving back is a worthy dream.

T.Edds's picture
T.Edds's picture
T.Edds commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 11:35am

Outdated Children is a beautiful film and offers a unique insight into the depth of Australian surfing that exists outside the competitive sphere. I particularly enjoyed that the film built on the format established in Believe and Little Black Wheels.

The only awkwardness that I felt in the film was the shots framing some what felt like product placement. I cannot characterise this as a negative. I bloody well hope Patagonia provided some financial support to Mick Waters.

jacksprat's picture
jacksprat's picture
jacksprat commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 12:28pm

Just watch Sea of Joy or later on Tubular Swells for authentic 'vibe of the time'. Sadly, all I see are people looking back to find something that is already gone.

onetimeonly

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 12:33pm

Mate, were you brought up on lemons or something?

All you ever do is whine.

And the worst kind of whining is old guys whining about how things used to be.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 1:02pm

I thought the whining was better back in the day.

I've always enjoyed a vintage whine.

Nothing better than a fine whine.

1173

Nigeisblessed's picture
Nigeisblessed's picture
Nigeisblessed commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 3:05pm

Hahaha, nice Zen.

SI's picture
SI's picture
SI commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 4:32pm

Fuck yeah zen, too right mate. Back when I was a youngster whining was hardcore, not like these days mate, where people can’t even get started whining properly. These days it’s all soft whining. Back in the day if someone had a good whine there could be many deaths at the scene and if you survived, then it was like a right of passage mate. “Yesh, that’s Old Rusty, he survived the whining of 1965.” A comment like that and you just know Old Rusty is made of steel!! And you had to be in those days just to survive the whining...

Barrelrider

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 5:00pm

I'm hearin' ya Sl, tell kids about the great whine famine and they wouldn't believe ya. Somebody would have a whine and there wouldn't be enough to go around so all that was left was a bit of a whinge and that's all you'd get.

These days there's an abundance of whine but it's pretty low quality.

(geez, it practically writes itself- ha ha!)

1173

SI's picture
SI's picture
SI commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 6:22pm

Yeah, actually it’s a long time ago now, so people probably don’t remember, but the word “win” is actually derived from the word “whine”, so that a person who could whine, or a person who could survive their whining were each called “whiners” but as time went on through the ages and past the Shakespearean times, they became known simply as “winners” and that’s how we got the word winners!! It was during the black whine plague that people who died from the plague were outlived by the survivors and it was from that terrible whine event, that the survivors were called winners. Which is interesting because if you ever listen to a winner they will often let a bit of whining slip through. So it has a long history and the Beatles even sang a song about it in the 1960’s - “The long and whining road”... hehe

Barrelrider

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 6:55pm

I think Neil Diamond penned a little piece after his Soviet Tour too- "Red Red Whine".

Winning.

:)

1173

SI's picture
SI's picture
SI commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 10:24pm

I dunno Zen, I’ve been thinking and I’m now wondering is it whining to complain about someone else whining?

Barrelrider

Billyw's picture
Billyw's picture
Billyw commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 3:37pm

bought and watched. too much hippy love in for me but stoked that crew enjoy it. heaps of slo mo - its that kind of film. the Patagonia involvement is just weird, like that owner guy basically gets a little moody profile section for no apparent reason. but yeh nice film, just not my thing

B Dub

bongsalot's picture
bongsalot's picture
bongsalot commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 4:07pm

beautifully shot but seems to be a patagonia movie..funny how he went to the desert only to feature 2 blowins with some mainstream surf notoriety?
plenty of locals who can surf and charge just as hard..me thinks that camel surfed 'that left' by himself cause it was onshore but also it looked like the witching hour...not the best time to be out there on your own or even with mates

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 8:35pm

If you can score tubes like that by yourself it seems like the perfect time to be out there. Just gotta man up bonga

btheodore's picture
btheodore's picture
btheodore commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 7:29pm

Where to watch it? Not on my Amazon Prime?

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 8:01pm

Hi mate. Available on Vimeo for rent or purchase via littlehouseproductions.com.au

btheodore's picture
btheodore's picture
btheodore commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 8:17pm

Cheers mate.

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 8:24pm

$35bucks tho, ouch! Got to pay for the filmakers holiday to show off the desert I guess?

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 8:36pm

Fuck I’ll spend 10 x that much, literally, on a bag of rack then not remember a thing the next day.
35 bucks for something you can enjoy and (hopefully) remember seems pretty sweet to me

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 9:06pm

Just rented it. Reckon that’s a good way to sling a few bucks. I’d be keen to see more of Mick’s family and their adventure. Must have been some interesting stories for them...but maybe that’s a personal story. Anyway well done, love all those guys in the film. no slowmo though next time please.

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

theinsider's picture
theinsider's picture
theinsider commented Thursday, 4 Jun 2020 at 8:11am

Just read this on Thursday morning & I've cleared my morning schedule to watch it right now.

yadayadayadayada

Panman's picture
Panman's picture
Panman commented Monday, 8 Jun 2020 at 10:49am

How do you know a plane load of pommie tourists has landed
When they turn off the engines you can still hear the whining

billythekid's picture
billythekid's picture
billythekid commented Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020 at 7:31am

I bought it, watched it a few times, some very thought provoking moments around the whole point of living really. I would've liked to see a bit of critique exploring the idea of devoting your time to surfing and living like a hermit as being a bit of a stunted way to live, I mean, its presented as a bit magical and heroic but maybe its also a bit like putting your head under the doona and saying, "I cant deal with it, its too hard!"

Still, its not often these types of characters are celebrated and its great to see that happening in this film

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020 at 9:13am

Why should a lifestyle choice necessarily be concluded as a weakness ?

I don’t drink warm Fosters light beer because I don’t enjoy the taste , it’s got nothing to do with my body’s ability to process the offensive liquid.

If anything, I believe that the inverse is true regarding the choice to shun the conservative thinking about how to exist.. It takes a fair bit of personal belief to face the judgement of rejecting a conformist lifestyle.

Personally, I find it admirable to know yourself and live your life accordingly, to follow your instincts to happiness irrespective of how society expects you to act.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020 at 9:23am

I guess the flick serves as a great launching point for pondering. IMO it's a little from column A and a little from column B. I'd speculate that the more remote you find yourself, the more time you'll have to spend with the source of your initial discontent – your own mind – so the more work ya gotta do. Maybe there's no 'escape' as such after all? (I think I'm projecting here haha) Far out – I remember as a lil tacker watching Storm Boy and thinking I'd give anything to live in that shack in the dunes...

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020 at 9:49am

Gra....appreciate your opinion is skewed by personal perspective, but the assumption that the problem is internal within crew who don’t want to live amongst crowds or cities or a standard conformist existence is a bit presumptuous.

I can completely understand their thinking. My issue isn’t internal ....I find myself completely at ease when surrounded by nature and away from the madding crowd. Reintroduce masses of humans and concrete infrastructure and my unhappiness returns.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020 at 9:56am

Yeah I agree mate. I guess what I was clumsily trying to express is that our minds are the only thing we really have: it's always our reaction to the thing – rather than the thing itself – that determines our current state of mind.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020 at 8:28am

fair point.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020 at 9:59am

Maybe Stu could see if Camels interested in an interview to talk about the things Billy’s comment raised