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"Surf's Up": Definition of a Winner

Surf's Up is an animated film about a young penguin named Cody Maverick (voiced by actor Shia LaBeouf), who longs to leave his hometown and become a famous surfer like his hero, a penguin known as Big Z. His dream leads him to the island of Pen Gu, where he competes in the "Big Z Memorial Surf Off" against the nine-time champion, a bully of a penguin named Tank Evans.

The movie spoofs documentary films; the scenes are interrupted by interviews, old film footage, and cameramen getting caught in front of the lens. At one point, Cody Maverick is forced to confront his long-held ideas about what constitutes a winner or a loser in life. True to the movie's documentary style, the camera cuts to a series of interviews with various characters who give their versions of what constitutes a winner.

The scene begins with Cody Maverick asking, "Winners—winners find a way, no matter what, right?"

Three fuzzy penguin chicks answer, "Um, a winner is…"

A bird interrupts: "They see their goals. They just go for it. They're not in it for the money or the glory."

Back to the chicks: "A winner is…like…"

Then a nurse penguin interrupts: "It's the surfer who's out there having the most fun."

To which her heavily bandaged, surfer patient responds, "Yup, it's a lot of fun."

Finally, we meet Tank Evans, champion surfer, doing pushups over hot coals. He answers, "Right. No, I get you. What's winning without the losers?"

Back to the bird: "They're in it for the joy of it and the rapture…and the slow-motion instant replay—"

"Mikey," interrupts the bird's otter companion, the surf competition promoter. "Mikey, why don't you head over there to the snack bar and get yourself a big bowl of 'shut up.'"

Back to Tank Evans and his pushups: "It feels better when there's a lot of losers around. Was that…was that your question?"

One of the fuzzy chicks speaks up: "Well, a winner is somebody who doesn't knock me off my surfboard and break it when I'm trying to get some big waves. Especially Tank, he is definitely not a winner."

Another chick then sums up Tank's attitude on winning: "He's a dirty trashcan full of poop."

The world offers us many definitions of what makes a winner, usually based on our accomplishments, wealth, strength, or beauty. The Scriptures, however, give us a different definition—a hopeful definition, where even the small, the weak, and the fallen can know victory in Jesus Christ.

Rated PG for mild language and some rude humor

Elapsed time: This scene begins at 00:35:53 and ends at 00:36:45.

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