Sunlit Water

December 2, 2006

G’day Mate

Filed under: Culture — by teofilo @ 3:23 pm

It’s well-established that geologists are teh hott.  As such, a movie about geologists should be teh awesome, and on that score Rikky and Pete does not disappoint.  My aunt owns this on VHS for some reason (I think she bought it cheap at a video store), and one night toward the end of our stay with her at Thanksgiving she popped it in the VCR without even really consulting us.  It turned out she hadn’t seen it since it first came out and didn’t remember much about it, which made it doubly odd that she had purchased it.  That kind of sums up her personality.

The story, such as it is, is about a brother and sister living in Melbourne (the eponymous Rikky and Pete).  Rikky is a geologist who moonlights as a nightclub singer, and Pete delivers newspapers using an ingenious vehicle of his own design that automatically folds them into paper airplanes and flings them at houses while he drives by.  He also plays elaborate and cruel practical jokes on the local police chief.  His motivation for this is unclear at first (my mom even wondered aloud why he was doing it, which kind of foreshadowed her view of the movie as a whole), but it turns out the cop had recently run into his (and Rikky’s) mother in his car, landing her in a wheelchair.

Eventually Pete’s antics alienate his uptight father and polite Melbourne society to the point that he and Rikky take off in their mother’s Bentley for the outback, where Rikky has an in at a mine in the middle of nowhere.  They have some adventures along the way, but the real fun doesn’t start until they get to the mine, where Pete gets a job as a miner and Rikky works in the lab analyzing samples.  One of her coworkers, who is staying in the same boarding house where she, Pete, and essentially all the other mine employees live, is Flossie.

It was not actually clear to me what Flossie’s ethnicity was supposed to be.  She’s played by Tetchie Agbayani, who is from the Philippines, so I had assumed she was meant to be an Asian immigrant, but my family assumed she was supposed to be Aboriginal.  In any case, she speaks English with a heavy accent and is, in my opinion, the most fascinating character in the film.  She immediately falls in love with Pete, and before long they are practically inseparable.  She has a kind of charmingly slutty outlook on life, and uses her reputation to help Rikky and Pete carry out the elaborate mining scam they decide to carry out, but is nonetheless portrayed as a competent professional in her geological work.

The plot ends up being very silly, and in truth it’s just a wacky comedy.  But it’s different from American silly comedies in interesting ways (in particular, it assumes a much greater understanding of how mining works), and I liked it a lot.  My mom was not so impressed; it really just wasn’t her kind of film.  My aunt really just liked all the gadgetry, which turned out to be the only thing she remembered from the first time she saw it.

I think the main reason I liked it so much was that it tapped into that desire to go off into the middle of nowhere and make a new life that attracts me so strongly.  I like the idea of becoming a new person in a new place; it’s what I did when I came to college, and it’s what I intend to do when I graduate.  Finding a wonderful woman is an additional attraction to starting anew, one that has so far eluded me.  Silly though it was, this movie reminded me of what I really want and how much I want it.

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2 Comments »

  1. You make your aunt sound fun. (Didn’t you mention something about trolls earlier?) Not necessarily m-fun, but rather quirky in a way that’s fun to be around.

    Comment by Stanley — December 2, 2006 @ 8:18 pm |Reply

  2. That she definitely is. My descriptions have merely scratched the surface of her quirkiness.

    Comment by teofilo — December 2, 2006 @ 8:19 pm |Reply


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