‘SPF-18’ and search tips

Googling and the importance of keywords

Continuing on the Noah Centineo train (see last week’s post about the school library scene in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), here’s another film Centineo starred in last year, SPF-18. Alas, the scene I’m analyzing in today’s post also does not include Centineo’s character, so this trailer will have to suffice for your weekly dose of the internet’s current boyfriend:

SPF-18 Trailer (2017) Pamela Anderson, Teen Movie, Movie HD” video, uploaded by HOT Movie Trailers, Standard YouTube license

This movie is… not good. (Seriously, it has a 3.3/10 rating on IMDb.com, and that’s kinda being generous.) I joke sometimes that I watch movies so you don’t have to. That’s usually in reference to really bad and stereotypical portrayals of librarians, but today, it’s a reference to this movie in general. The film, directed by Alex Israel and based on a story (?!) he co-wrote, is only 1 hour and 15 minutes long. And yet SPF-18 feels sooooooo long, with an overly convoluted plot, too many characters, and wooden acting (which includes flat-as-a-board voice narration work by Goldie Hawn). It focuses on the “life-changing adventures” of four teenagers housesitting Keanu Reeve’s house in Malibu (not joking). Keanu Reeves actually makes a cameo as himself in the film’s last 30 seconds. (It is the best 30 seconds in this film.) (You can tell when I feel snarky about a movie when I start getting all parentheses-y.) (Sorry.) (Not sorry.)

The importance of keywords:

And yet, not all is lost. There is a short scene 25 minutes into the film that highlights the importance of keywords! I’m SUCH a librarian, aren’t I? 😉 #NoApologies

Context for this short scene: The main lead, Penny (Carson Meyer), her cousin Camilla (Bianca A. Santos), and random musician Ash (Jackson White), who literally turns up on the beach one night and then gets invited to stay at the house and becomes a love interest because THAT’s not creepy, are researching another random lifeguard surfer dude who has history with the father of Johnny (Centineo), who died in a surfing accident the year before. Got that? Yeahhhhhh.

Screenshot from SPF-18 (2017)
Cute swan decal on Penny’s laptop

Let’s listen in, shall we?

Penny: Found him! Steve! The lifeguard.

Ash: We wanted to find him? I was pretty happy to see him go.

When Penny brings her laptop over to the table, she informs us of her research strategy and keywords.

Penny: You noticed how weird Johnny’s been acting, right? Well, I knew there had to be a story. So, I googled “Steve, lifeguard, Malibu, rude,” but it wasn’t until I added Johnny’s dad’s name into the mix that I found this.

Screenshot from SPF-18 (2017)
That swan decal is upstaging everyone else in this scene, right?

Pause for a librarian’s service announcement about search tips:

I pause this post to insert some librarian search tip advice. You are WELCOME. 😉

Here’s what Penny’s search would look like, as she described above (note: Johnny is Johnny Sanders, Jr., so his dad’s name would be Johnny Sanders):

Sample Google search
Sample Google search

It’s honestly pretty good for a starter search! Penny has combined several relevant keywords and included a specific name to narrow down potential results.

However, I would recommend a couple of tweaks to that initial search, including:

  • taking out adjectives, like rude — it’s usually more productive to use nouns as keywords in order to focus on concepts
  • putting phrases (2 or more words) in quotation marks, like “Johnny Sanders” in my screenshot below (in all fairness, Penny could have done this last tip, but I wanted to highlight this very useful search tip anyway)
Sample Google search
revised Google search

You could also narrow down your results by clicking on the “News” tab/link under the search box, in order to go directly to news article results, which would be the most likely source type to find out the kind of information they’re looking for.

Ok, thanks for letting me nerd out for a minute and pass on some search tips. 😉

Back to the research scene:

Now back to the film… Penny is successful with her celluloid search and shows her laptop screen to her friends. The screen shows what looks to be a newspaper article, with the title “Galmarini Suspended for Steroids.”

Penny reads the first paragraph from the article:

Professional surfer Steve Galmarini has received a three-year suspension after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He is the first athlete to be suspended under the World Surf League’s new drug testing guidelines.”

Screenshot from SPF-18 (2017)
Totally decent made-up news site and article

Camilla: That guy doesn’t need ‘roids, he needs a chill pill.

Penny: It says that Johnny’s dad was Steve’s first coach. But there was some kind of falling out. What if it was over the drugs?

Penny then scrolls down the page to the comments.

Screenshot from SPF-18 (2017)
Seriously, well done on this fake news site layout, which even highlights common news sections, like Classifieds, on the righthand column

Penny: It says here that some people think Johnny’s dad died on that wave because he was out there trying to win back the community’s respect after the drug scandal.

Ash: Yikes.

Penny: I can’t believe he [Johnny Sanders, Jr.] didn’t tell me this.

I am impressed by the level of detail that went into creating this fake newspaper article, as the layout really does feel like a typical news site. Honestly, I think I am more impressed by this fake newspaper site than I am with the movie as a whole.

To quote Ash:


This scene lasts under 2 minutes total, and more dramatical moments ensue after this scene that provides exposition by way of research and keywords. The film ends up in Class V, the category in which there are no identifiable librarians, although they might mention librarians or have scenes set in libraries.

Sources used:

  • SPF-18. Dir. Alex Israel. Perf. Carson Meyer, Noah Centineo, Bianca A. Santos, Jackson White. Alex Israel, 2017.
  • SPF-18 (2017).” IMDb.com, Accessed 20 Nov. 2018.

Author: Jennifer

Librarian, blogger, movie lover

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