180 Degrees South - Climbing/Surfing Film


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Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 19, 2011 - 12:57pm PT

Great film for those who haven't seen this, I watched it last night on Netflix.


Conquerors of the Useless follows Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia. Along the way he gets shipwrecked off Easter Island, surfs the longest wave of his life - and prepares himself for a rare ascent of Cerro Corcovado. Jeff's life turns when he meets up in a rainy hut with Chouinard and Tompkins who, once driven purely by a love of climbing and surfing, now value above all the experience of raw nature - and have come to Patagonia to spend their fortunes to protect it.



Boulder climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:13pm PT
Hey Big Bro, what up?

Trad climber
San Diego
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:15pm PT
I actually didn't like it....anyone else?

I found the lead character (don't recall his name) to be an idiot. The scene where Timmy O'Neill berates him for having no climbing experience was downright embarrassing. I also thought it was overly sentimental and sappy. In addition, the manner in which the film approached issues of alternative energy was overly simplistic. I wanted more specific and detailed examples of environmental mismanagement and its consequences in Patagonia.

However, the vistas and images of Patagonia alone are worth your time.

Apr 19, 2011 - 02:18pm PT
It was as though no one believed the story they actually wanted to tell would interest anyone.

Apr 19, 2011 - 02:24pm PT
The lead character has climbed el cap a few times, 10d OW in the Valley and is working on a new route on Middle Cathedral. I know Timmy might make fun of him for no climbing experience but that is just Timmy just trying to be funny.

Trad climber
80' from the Hankster
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:31pm PT
I kind of felt like they made a film version of a Patagonia catalog: beautiful, engaging, but with a story that is not all that interesting.

Maybe the Yvon-worshiping is growing a little old?

Apr 19, 2011 - 02:54pm PT
I know Timmy might make fun of him for no climbing experience but that is just Timmy just trying to be funny.

I dunno man. Timmy seemed genuinely frustrated with with the guy.

The main character is Jeff Johnson. I own the movie and have shown it to a number of people who don't particularly like the wishy washy reflections Jeff has, which is a major focus of the movie. I don't think it matters what you think of the story line though, the history and scenery in the movie make it worth it. Some of the surfing looks amazing as well.

Big Wall climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:02pm PT
I enjoyed the film and thought it was inspiring!
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 05:15pm PT
Liked it but that's because I don't just watch a film, I do other stuff at the same time; sort gear, fix things, arts & crafts. Spectating only is such a bore.

The film is about like a Nat't Geo special but less monotonous. Since you can stream it anytime on Netflix, it's a good entertainment deal.

I liked the way they included the unpleasant bushwack. Most film makers cut that out.

The film has a great "slacker" feel to it which I can relate to.

Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 19, 2011 - 05:33pm PT

As Mikey points out Jeff does have climbing experience. I personally know him and think he is a badass. Timmy was just having fun with the fact that he didn't have any snow/ice experience.

Most people would go crazy living on a boat for that long.

I too thought it was inspiring and has some great filming.


Boulder climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 05:38pm PT
Good Flick, and Jeff is a very talented photographer/film maker. . .df

Trad climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 05:49pm PT
I also liked it.....the scenery was amazing.

Trad climber
fresno, ca
Apr 19, 2011 - 06:03pm PT
I own it too. Really well done, inspiring on many levels, but I thought the "save the world" theme was a bit gooey and much. A little would have gone a long way. Anybody watching this film probably already has a love for the wild places, and those that want to crush and mow and exploit the planet will probably never see it. I hope it inspires some youth to hold onto the magic of the wilderness. It sure made me think about taking an ink pen to my work schedule. After I saw it, I struck out August and wrote WASHINGTON COLUMN on my calendar. Life is too short to "have an adventure someday..."
The Wolf

Trad climber
Friend of Dope Miller
Apr 19, 2011 - 11:30pm PT
I agree with The Pirate. It's a nice film. Not a slam bang action fest but and old style travelogue. It had a nice feel about it even if it lacked climactic action.

Hey pirate, i hung my head and said a silent prayer before i ate tonight. I prayed for the safety of builders and the ongoing ability to drive a land rover. ;)

Trad climber
Mill Valley, CA
Apr 20, 2011 - 12:12am PT
I also watched this on Netflix and really liked it. Hear hear about the bushwack scene. I also liked the Easter Island segment.

Trad climber
Long Beach, CA
Apr 20, 2011 - 12:23am PT
It was okay... not bad... but forgettable. ;)

Big Wall climber
Apr 20, 2011 - 12:13pm PT
I watched it a couple of times and i liked it. killer surf spots!
you can netflix it!

Trad climber
Apr 20, 2011 - 01:31pm PT
Timmy was upset because the guy had never used an ice axe in his life and the objective started with.... guess what, steep snow fields. Plus, he's from, where, Washington state. Yeah, no opportunities there to learn the trade. I thought it was funny and justified.

What annoyed me about the film was this attitude that it was a poor climbing vagabond on a spiritual journey yet he's able to have a a hi-def film crew/cameraman follow him for months, yet never acknowledges the dude is even there. Just too artificial. Then, on the peak, same deal. Magical camera in the sky filming the action, no acknowledement. At least with Tompkins and Chouinard on the original trip you actually got a sense of adventure and got to see them setting up their own shots.

Big Wall climber
Jul 26, 2013 - 11:36pm PT
Still watching it. Just love watching Jeff and chouinard.. :-)

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 26, 2013 - 11:50pm PT
Dumb film, bad story line but good production values. Chouinard also thought it was a bit silly. Tried to recreate the mythic fun hogs trip but failed miserably. The princess was Timmy's score but that didn't work for the script. The voiceless surfer dude riding waves solo almost made me want to pull out my hair. Yo....and didn't you just get goosebumps watching Timmy put screws in on 30% ice.

edit: Also extremely poor taste not to mention the other three members of the funhog trip: Dorworth, Tejada Flores and Jones.....those guys weren't chopped liver.
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