Sunday, February 17, 2013

Johnny Utah and Joe Montana

In the 1991 movie 'Point Break', starring Keanu Reeves and the late Patrick Swayze, the protagonist's name was "Johnny Utah" who was played by Reeves. The term "cult following" is used far too often in my opinion, but this movie indeed has that type of following. It's still very popular after twenty-one years. The two actors just really connected in this movie. I didn't want to give a movie review, but there's much that can be said about this film. There's even a type of parody of it, which travels from city to city, in which audience members reenact the main characters... and actually do a type of theater of the movie (Point Break Live!). Another one of Swayze's films, 1989's 'Roadhouse', also has that type of following, with showings in sawdust-type bars.

Joe Montana, as we have covered before, is of Camunian ancestry. The original family name is Montani, which makes sense from the mountainous Camunian Valley. The name Johnny Utah is a take off of Joe Montana and Johnny Utah, since the character was a fictional former Ohio State quarterback who had played in the Rose Bowl. In the image above, someone actually had a Johnny Utah jersey made up. Joe Montana played for the San Francisco 49ers, and ironically the director of 'Point Break' was Kathryn Bigelow who is originally from nearby Redwood City. Her 2009 film 'The Hurt Locker' won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Picture, won the BAFTA Award for Best Film.

I can recall once a football commentator said regarding the name Joe Montana, that it was a perfect football name.. like "Billy Joe Idaho." I grew up in the San Francisco area, and I never had any idea whatsoever that Joe Montana was Camunian (half Camunian/half Sicilian). I guess it wouldn't have quite worked as "Joe Montani." He was originally from the Monongahela area of western Pennsylvania, which was an area that has a large "Camunian community" so to speak. Another very popular movie which took inspiration from his name was the 1984 film 'Scarface', in which director Brian De Palma said he used the name "Montana" because of the popularity of the football player. The Cuban "Tony Montana" character was apparently "half American" so I don't know if it was supposed to be an "American name" or not.



  1. Utah was number 9, not number 12. and Montana was 16, so this photo makes absolutely ZERO SENSE.

    1. I wasn't aware that "Johnny Utah" had a number. Did he wear an Ohio St. jersey in the movie? Joe Montana was #3 at Notre Dame.