The 1991 movie Level Spoil tells the vintage crime tale of a fresh-faced FBI agent named Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) compelled to move undercover to take down a crew of surfers who rob banks whilst dressed in Halloween mask of former Presidents. The Ex-Presidents are led by means of Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), a thrill-seeking loose spirit who simplest believes in adrenaline. Throughout his investigation, Utah turns into moderately enthralled by means of Bodhi’s lifestyle, however the two sooner or later collide as Utah is compelled to choose from his accountability to uphold the regulation and his want to offer protection to the lady he loves (Lori Petty).

However Utah wasn’t all the time a lawman. In faculty, he was once an completed quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes. That legally provides me the precise – nay, the duty – to check the nature and determine his maximum Ohio State options for this faculty soccer site.

I’ve damaged this query into 3 portions: Utah’s athletic prowess, his aesthetic, and his character. That is what’s recognized within the business as movie overview, and you will need to paintings.


Within the cinematic universe offered by means of the movie, Utah led the Buckeyes to a Rose Bowl win over USC however suffered a grotesque knee damage within the fourth quarter that destroyed his professional potentialities. Please take into account that when this movie was once launched, in 1991, the one two Ohio State QBs of observe within the NFL have been Mike Tomczak and Tom Tupa. To mention that Johnny Utah may have been the best Buckeye passer in NFL historical past would now not be clearing an inconceivable bar.

There’s a seashore soccer scene in Level Spoil, the place maximum of that backstory is established. (It’s fascinating that Utah is of the same opinion to play seashore soccer in spite of having destroyed his knee and dealing a secret activity that calls for him to be bodily energetic. I suppose the FBI medical health insurance plan on the time was once fairly excellent.)

In response to that restricted tape, we will be able to conclude a couple of issues about Utah as a quarterback.

  • He’s basically a pocket passer; the one time he scrambles or throws from outdoor the pocket is on a play motion move.
  • He flourishes on quick drops and (most certainly) quick passes. The only time he’s taking an extended drop, Utah is just about sacked and throws an incomplete move.
  • Regardless that we’re dd a small pattern dimension, he isn’t a multi-position risk, since we by no means see him run with the ball or catch a move.

That wouldn’t be a excellent illustration of a contemporary Ohio State quarterback, however J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones and Dwayne Haskins weren’t even born when this film was once launched, and Terrelle Pryor had simply became two. At this level, to be the beginning QB for the Buckeyes intended throwing 240 passes for 7.6 yards an strive and 17 touchdowns. And Utah’s sport is completely in step with that.

Utah additionally makes one defensive play within the scene, tackling Bodhi into the sea. Arguably, that’s a overdue hit out of bounds, and a wonderfully Buckeye transfer.

However Level Spoil is most commonly now not a soccer film. So what do Utah’s different athletic exploits disclose how Ohio State he’s?

  • When Utah first is going into the Pacific Ocean, he just about drowns. This portrayal is flawless; to a real Ohioan, the ocean will have to be as unfamiliar and threatening as the skin of Venus. The Ohio State aquatic experience is proscribed to lakes, rivers, swimming pools, perhaps a in particular thrilling commute to Wisconsin Dells. The one factor that might toughen this scene could be Utah remarking how odd it’s that California’s on Lake Michigan.
  • At one level, we see a whole weight set in Utah’s bed room.

Level Spoil (1991)

We by no means see Utah use any of that equipment, however 1) it’s there and a pair of) it’s particularly in his bed room, although he turns out to are living in a area with more than one different rooms the place it might move. This was once a completely impressed selection by means of the set design crew.

  • Right through a skydiving scene, Utah and the Ex-Presidents shape an O.

Level Spoil (1991)

Would sky-dotting the i’ve been higher? Sure, however then you definately’d desire a a lot higher crew of financial institution robbers.


Level Spoil is a seashore film. As such, many characters seem with out their shirts on. Swayze’s the obvious instance, however even Gary Busey’s first scene has him bare-chested.

Level Spoil (1991)

Utah, alternatively, has a blouse on till 48 mins into the movie, in spite of being in Southern California and spending numerous time on the seashore. There are simplest two issues that suggested Utah to take away his blouse: intercourse and going to sleep. That’s the type of Midwestern torso modesty we think from an Ohio State graduate.

Talking of sleep, take into account that workout station in Utah’s bed room? The remainder of the decor is similarly strange. He’s were given a mattress at the flooring, and he’s put black bedding on it.

Level Spoil (1991)

I’m lovely certain that telephone at the left is simply resting on a cardboard field, and also you’ll additionally spot the Buckeye helmet at the different facet of the mattress. It’s an alarm clock.

It is a lovely dirtbag setup! Perhaps you’re pondering it’s a part of Utah’s quilt and he’s seeking to play the a part of a rules-flouting surfer dude. However that’s now not what the film lays out: Utah has advised the surf gang (and Lori Petty) that he’s a legal professional who’s coming into browsing. So why does he have this rubbish bed room?

As a result of he’s an Ohio State Buckeye.

Naturally, Utah most commonly wears gray and black and white shirts all through the movie. When he’s in a go well with, that’s both gray or black as neatly. Importantly, there’s one piece of clothes you by no means see Utah put on at any level – an FBI jacket. And there’s a easy reason.

Level Spoil (1991)

They’ve were given Michigan colours! Although it will lend a hand determine Utah to fellow brokers and the general public as an FBI agent, making his activity more secure, he simply can’t put that jacket on. It might betray each worth he realized in Columbus.

Now, Utah does smash the guideline in opposition to blue clothes to put on denims a couple of occasions. Right through the hole credit, he’s rocking a black tee blouse tucked into denims whilst doing a run on an FBI marksmanship path. Of observe: it’s completely pouring rain.

Level Spoil (1991)

For a non-Buckeye, this may be an overly unhealthy selection for the elements, and one can simplest consider how uncomfortable the ones denims have been by means of the tip of that day of capturing. However one doesn’t play or watch Ohio State soccer for the relaxation. A real Buckeye is aware of this soggy denim is the mark of a blue collar champion, one that doesn’t give a shit about some meteorologist with a Syracuse level or when you advised him to “deliver a poncho simply in case.” LIONS DO NOT CONCERN THEMSELVES WITH THE WEATHER OPINIONS OF SHEEP.

That glance comes again on the finish of the movie. Particular Agent Utah confronts Bodhi on Bells Seashore in Australia, having chased his adversary throughout more than one nations and continents. He is aware of Bodhi might be right here for a once-in-a-lifetime hurricane off the Australian coast. And that is what Utah chooses to put on to a wet seashore:

Once more, it’s pouring. This wildly impractical outfit once more simply reinforces Utah’s Ohio State-ness. You’re going to rip those damp denims from his chilly, lifeless hips.


On his first day within the FBI’s Los Angeles Box Workplace, Particular Agent John Utah, brand new out of the Academy, does the next:

  1. Lies to his boss about being a wholesome eater by means of grabbing an workplace donut in entrance of mentioned boss mere mins after telling that lie
  2. Yells at his new spouse about being a nugatory, drained outdated guy who will have to simply retire
  3. Kilos Coronas whilst operating overdue

Level Spoil (1991)

A Michigan grad would have attempted to suck as much as the boss. A Michigan State grad would possibly have quietly grumbled to themselves about this crusty excuse for a mentor. A Northwestern grad would have waited till they were given again house and fed on precisely part a tumbler from a $110 bottle of white wine, assured that the wine was once excellent as it was once $110.

Johnny Utah didn’t do any of the ones issues, as a result of Johnny Utah’s a goddamn Buckeye.

Later, Utah is attacked by means of a other surfer gang, which contains Ret Scorching Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis. Bodhi rescues him and forestalls the fracas, and Utah responds by means of … right away punching considered one of his attackers, beginning the combat up far and wide once more. Inform me you’ll be able to’t see that taking place in some Ohio State-Penn State sport.

In spite of everything, let’s go back to the general scene. Utah unearths he’s introduced a host of Australian police with him, and that is the tip of the road for Bodhi. However then Bodhi effectively convinces Utah to permit him one closing thrill trip: browsing in the course of a 50 yr hurricane. The Aussies, understandably, are pissed. What was once the purpose of deliver out a helicopter and these types of officials if Utah was once simply advantageous with Bodhi drowning as a substitute of being apprehended? Plus they don’t even get to surf!

Utah doesn’t care one bit, In considered one of his maximum Ohio State strikes of the movie, he’s traveled all of the solution to a international nation simply to piss off the native police officers.


Johnny Utah isn’t a great fictional Ohio State quarterback. He doesn’t have any regrettable tattoos, he by no means wears a sweatshirt of any type, and he by no means even mentions the Cincinnati Bengals or the Cleveland Browns. However throughout the limits of a 1991 surfer crime motion movie, it is a rattling advantageous illustration of all issues Buckeye.

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