May 7, 2012

Motorcycle Movies I Love to Hate

Anything with Tom Cruise is enough to set me off, but the Mission Impossible crap is intolerable. Between the magic all purpose tires and the movie's suspended reality that asks us to believe that motorcycling is just a simple hobby that any super-spy excels at, I about toss my popcorn at the screen when this crap appears.

Top Gun is, obviously, another example why Cruise needs to come out of the closet. I don't know if the wimpy-assed motorcycle gayness pissed me off more than the despicable 80's soundtrack, but it was the only close race in that POS movie. It's hard to remember Cruise as a competent physical actor, but I sort of remember him fondly in The Color of Money. Although, it's possible that Paul Newman just made everyone around him look cool. Some guys have so much hipness it just spills on the surrounding territory.

Cruise isn't the only guy with magical motorcycling powers, though. Wall Street: The Money Never Sleeps put me over the top, too. When Shia Lebouf and Josh Brolin duke it out on Dukes at a level that most MotoGP riders couldn't match, I was banging on my chair hoping at least one of them would catch fire and die. No such luck, though. These two corporate shill douche bag 1%'ers just rip through the countryside as if that kind of useless maroon could actually have some kind of skill. Fat chance.

A while back, I wrote about how much I liked the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because of the motorcycle scenes. The opposite effect is more often true. In the good Dragon Tattoo, The balls-to-the-wall riding style of the main character created a credibility for her that nothing else could. The fact that she was willing to toss herself into riding that rat bike and let the winds of fortune decide her fate made her someone I completely believed could do everything else she did. The earlier version's Lisbeth rode so conservatively that I took her for a wimp and didn't buy one single moment of her sudden toughness.

Stuff like Wild Hogs barely deserves mentioning as a motorcycle. For starters, there aren't any motorcycles in the movie, just a pile of two-wheel tractors. Four in-the-closet douchebags run into a pack of Village People and . . .  everyone gets a new hairdo and shoes? I get enough of these people in real life. I'd rather get my gums scraped without sedative than spend a couple of hours watching them survive crashes that should have turned them into jelly. Ideally, napalm jelly. There are generations of this Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man drivel and it makes everyone but the Village People look bad. My advice for movie producers wanting to make one more biker motorcycle movie, "Do us all a favor and kill yourself. Do it now. Seriously."

The Tron duet is so non-motorcyclish that it was work to put in the Amazon link. Freakin' video game generation drivel for the mindlessly boring virtual-life set. On the science fiction shelf, is it hard to imagine a multi-tasking, indestructible robot riding more gayly than roided-up biker-face Arny in Terminator? (Yeah, I linked that one. Nobody can fault me for consistency.) Why would a robot pick a 1940's hippobike? A real motorcycle is too fast? Any real robot could outrun a Harley, so riding one would be  . . .  What? An act of sporting-ness? Giving the enemy a fair chance? What kind of robot would do that, some freaky doomsday robot infected with Azimov's Three Laws of Robotics?

In an attempt at reminding myself of the totally forgettable, this giant douche of an insurance salesman put together a list of the lamest "great' motorcycle movies that is almost perfectly filled with total crap. Let's all take a guess at what he rides before we look it up. Did you get it right? At a recent visit to my local library, I scanned this POS book,The Big Book of Biker Flicks: 40 of the Best Motorcycle Movies of All Tiime. Practically everything I hate about movies about motorcyclists and motorcycles was listed in this waste of paper. If you managed to watch more than two of these godawful cinematic disasters, you'd either be driven to run over every motorcyclist you saw or join the Hell's Angels just so you can wear a leather jacket drenched in piss. The book could be right, though. The bar was set incredibly low for "best biker movie" was set pretty low from Brando's The Wild One right up to The Wild Hogs or whatever the most recent low-budget POS "biker movie" might be. There is something about hippobikes that lowers the IQ of everyone involved with them: from the riders to movie makers.

Robert Redford knew enough to be in a good motorcycle movie when he made Little Fauss and Big Halsy, but instead he made a ridiculous piece of crap. At the time, 1970 (one year before On Any Sunday), dirt riders had nothing on screen.  So, we were willing to give Hollywood a break just to exist. A dozen years passed before we made the screen again with Timerider, another movie with possibly good intentions but an idiot screenplay. Ex-Monkey


The Vulture said...

Not too hard to agree with you.

I kind of liked One Week with Joshua Jackson - not the best but entertaining.

Paul said...

Most of the movies are stories with motorcycles, not stories about the bikes or the lifestyle or racing.
Faster was amazing, Worlds Fastest Indian was a great story, and yet the bozos responding to the "26 greatest" all whined that "Easy Rider" should have been #1. I tried to watch it recently and couldn't - it was awful.
A great mc chase scene is in "Fled", I'm surprised nobody mentioned it.

Paul Compton said...

My favorite stupid film review of all time...

"Antony Hopkins makes for a very unconvincing Indian"

T.W. Day said...

I think it's safe to say I liked "One Week" ( No magical skills there and the motorcycle was a good bit of the story. A friend who went through some of that cancer battle has listed "One Week" as a very emotional movie from his personal perspective.

I though "Easy Rider" was a comedy when I saw it as a 21 year old motorcyclist. Of course, I was already a dirt-biking guy by then and thoroughly disgusted with what would become the Village People crowd.

I looked up "Fled" on Netflix. Stephen Baldwin? Laurence Fishburne? I'm not sure I have the stomach for those two on the same screen. I'll wait till it's instant watch. Less of a commitment. ;-)

T.W. Day said...

Speaking of Fishburn, "Biker Boyz" would be really high on the list of Motorcycle Movies I Love to Hate. I know we watched it once, but I remember more about the Scrabble game we were playing while it was on than the movie. Every time I paid any attention to the movie it pissed me off. The reviews on Netflix are telling, too. All of the illiterate video game retards "lvoed it" [sic].

Paul said...

How about the T-Mobile commercial where the girl goes through her closet of red clothing, gets on the bike and takes off. The sound alternates between Ducati and inline 4.

Joe said...

This post was more 'grumpy old man"-ish than usual there geez. Some kids playing in the yard again?

T.W. Day said...

Yep, you can't keep the damn kids off of the lawn without firing a few rounds of salt block at 'em. I keep a 10 gauge loaded with a whole box of Morton's finest just in case someone puts a foot on my crabgrass. You know how hard it is to keep crabgrass healthy? It freakin' has to rain at least once a summer of the stuff turns brownish.