Three Bicycle Documentaries

2006 documentary

Rating: no rating (I think my brother told me not to rate these)

Plot: Filmmakers follow around people in a the Black Label Bicycle Club as they engage in various shenanigans.

My brother also let me borrow (or more accurately, forced upon me) a trio of bicycle documentaries. I watched them at various times but didn't write about them and was reminded that I had them when he asked for another movie back.

This one was tough to watch but oddly fascinating. The activities of these people are anarchic, and it's hard for me to even believe that groups like this exist. They spend the majority of the movie jousting on those tall bikes they've constructed, and it just doesn't look like very intelligent behavior. Meanwhile, they rail against consumerism and waste, debate with motorists, and shoot fireworks out of their asses. They're sort of like a less fun-loving version of the Jackass crew. I wouldn't want to spend any time with these people, but I would like a vest and I do sort of respect their lifestyle. This documentary was edited poorly, and I had trouble following narrative threads with some of the subjects.

2006 documentary

Rating: no rating

Plot: The history of mountain biking.

I didn't find this one engaging at all. I felt like I was at a reunion with a bunch of guys from the 60s and 70s who started this mountain biking phenomenon and had to endure their stories for a couple hours. I felt like I got the main ideas within the first ten minutes, and then the movie just kept going on for another hour and a half.

2001 documentary

Rating: no rating

Plot: A glimpse at the dangerous lives of bicycle messengers in New York City.

This one was most interesting to me, probably because the "characters" were so colorful. Most of the movie is filmed with this weird fish-eye lens that bends the tops of skyscrapers, but the footage of these maniacs weaving in and out of traffic while the camera follows them is pretty harrowing. The messengers are brazen and reckless and probably every bit the public nuisance that everybody who is not a bicycle messenger in the movie says they are. My favorite of those is a chubby veteran taxi driver. We also follow a homeless guy into a subterranean "room" where he sleeps next to the soothing sound of trains, see footage of a wacky race that looks horrifying and dangerous, and meet a guy nicknamed Skeletor who has giant legs but is not a purplish-blue color.

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