Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fun Motorcycle Flicks: Bike Movies for Enthusiasts!

Fun motorcycle movies in no particular order:

On Any Sunday

A very fun motorcycle documentary by Bruce Brown (of Endless Summer fame) following the lives of motorcycle nuts. Shows actor and bike enthusiast Steve McQueen. Not to be missed.

Why We Ride

Interesting bike documentary very reminiscent of Bruce Brown's most excellent flick. (Description from the film): A story about who we are. Individuals with a desire to dream, discover and explore. Seeking a life outside our daily confinements and sharing those moments together. It’s a story about the journey, not the destination. Motorcycles represent the milestones of our lives. From a kid’s dream come true, to a retiree’s return to freedom. From a family riding together on the sand dunes, to hundreds of choppers carving through the canyons – the bond is the same. It’s about the passion of the riders and the soul of their machines. Your senses will heighten as the world rushes in, your heart will beat to the pulse of the engine, your mind will race and set you free. Once you let a motorcycle into your life, it will change you forever.

Here are three movies my Indian film maker, adventurer and high altitute motorcycle enthusiast Gautav Jani. Both are filmed on or around the Changthang Plateau.

Riding Solo to the Top of the World (Documentary 2006).

A unique experience of a lonesome traveler who rides his motorcycle to one of the remotest places in the world. Indiscribable beauty and subtle toughness in this amazing and harsh environment. Beautifullycapturestheplacesand people.Themotorcycle aspect is what brought me to this film; the cinematography kept me spellbound. Super.

One Crazy Ride (Documentary 2009).

A motorcycle expedition on uncharted roads across the Himalayan state of ArunachalPradesh, situated in North-eastIndia. Butmore than anexpedition,it'sa film on friendship, camaraderie and the "never say die" attitude of five motorcyclists in the face of unforgiving terrain. Shot in the same format as "Riding Solo To The Top Of The World" with no back-up vehicle or film crew, in parts of India hardly seen, filmed or explored, the documentary captures the interactions and experiences of the riders who are trying to chart a route, which according to everyone does not exist.

Motorcycle Changpa

A film about the journey which Gaurav did for almost an year exploring ChangThan plateau, another virtually unexplored region in the Himalayas.

I salute to the courage & determination of Gaurav.

His films, along with others of this genre (watch the most excellent trailers), can be found on this site:

Long Way Round/Long Way Down

These are some extremely enjoyable documentaries...buddy flicks, really.
For all the bashing and bad press these flicks received, they're really just two friends--Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman--on a motorcycle trip around the world. The two friends travel through Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Alaska before ending the journey in New York. The filming is done by on-board cameras and one ride-along cameraman. Sure, they have a support crew, but that's such a small part of the story. The interaction of the two pals as they encounter beautiful people, stunning countryside, frustrating setbacks and potentially dangerous situations with senses of humor is fun to watch. These guys capture the passion of traveling, riding bikes with your mates and best of all, friendship through it all. They're both "must watch" movies (LWR is a bit better than LWD, IMHO).

Cycles South

A 1970's movie about 3 American dudes traveling south from Denver to Panama on some reliable Japanese 2-stroke motorcycles. Tight budgets, no real time limits and no specific reason for their travels. More of a "mockumentary" than a documentary, with laughs and good times a-plenty. The boys have a great time in any circumstance they run into. Bobby Garcia provides comic relief throughout. In his words, this movie is "Muy Bueno." You will love this flick for several reasons.

The World’s Fastest Indian

Based on the true story of New Zealand bike racer Burt Munro, depicted by Anthony Hopkins on an Indian motorcycle. At the time of the record attempt, Munro was 68 years old riding an Indian motorbike that was also 47 years old. That record still stands to this day.

Wild Hogs

Don't hate me for this one, but this is a fun flick. It's a story of four middle aged friends (John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macey) who take their Harleys on a memorable cross country ride. The HDs featured in the movie include a XL1200C Sportster Custom, FXSTS Springer Softail, Black Fatboy and a Screaming Eagle Fatboy. And Marisa Tomei isn't too shabby, either.

Easy Rider

Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper seek freedom against a backdrop of the hippie movement showing that there is no better way to see the USA than from the seat of a Harley Davidson.

Dust to Glory

A 2005 documentary on the Baja 1000, the annual off-road race held in Baja California, Mexico that attracts hundreds of racers and thousands of fans. The cameo of Mario Andretti is icing on the cake. A film by Dana Brown, Bruce's son.

The Girl on a Motorcycle

A 1968 gem with Marianne Faithfull as a married woman who leaves her husband, hops on her motorcycle and speeds off to see her lover. Sure, reviews will state that his is a "pretentious and nearly completely pointless film and "a rather unintelligent piece of psychedelic excess that won't entertain anyone but those who enjoy this kind of kitsch." Sure, that's fairly accurate.

Electra Glide in Blue

Robert Blake is an Arizona cop who rides a Harley Electra Glide. Some fine cinematography of Monument Valley and other places you might've ridden your cruiser.

One Week

Ben Tyler (played by Joshua Jackson) learns he has terminal cancer with a survival rate of 1 in 10. On a whim, he buys a 1973 Norton. His girlfriend tells him something all of us has heard: Riding a motorcycle is the height of stupidity. Yup.

Knowing he will die soon, he hops on the Norton (hearing jeans, a tight leather jacket and an open-faced helmet. OK!

He leaves Toronto for British Columbia to see big things along the way. You know, BIG things. Along the way, we are treated to a lot of beautiful Canadian roadside. You might like this flick.

The Motorcycle Diaries

I'm conflicted on this one. One one hand, there are some great scenes of two guys hopping on an overloaded bike and exploring the world. On the other hand, it glamorizes the scumbag killer, Che Guevara. I dunno.

21 Days Under The Sky

If you enjoy motorcycle flicks, and I'm guessing you do, you'll like this very cool documentary.

Available on Netflix, This 1:10 minute flick goes back and forth between a recent cross-country ride by 4 friends on their way to a New Jersey chopper rally and old video of the El Forastero Motorcycle Club doing the same thing in the 60's.

Worth watching...unless you really don't like watching Dope-smoking hipsters doing their thing...

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