Monday, November 26, 2012

Prepping for 2012 - Best Films to Prominently Feature Bicycles

Before I get into this article, I’d like to apologize for my last 2012 post. Normally I would just take it down, but since it’s part of a series, I’ll leave it up. It was brought to my attention that the quality of writing was not up to my standards for this website and I hope you’ll forgive me and find this list to be more informative and inclusive of people who have not yet seen these movies.

This was the second most painful scene to
watch in a film that included  testicle whipping
I don’t know about everyone else, but one of my favorite things to see in films is a cool vehicle. I mean when I saw the classic Aston Martin DB5 in Skyfall this last weekend I had to change my pants afterward. And I still haven’t forgiven Bond for choosing Vesper over his DPS in what is one of the most painful scenes to watch in all of cinema, made all the more painful by the knowledge that in order to get the shot they needed, the filmmakers crashed three models of the car. That being said I think it’s pretty clear that at least I, and I think the human race in general, have a fixation on the ways we transport ourselves, particularly in films. So I decided to write an article about bicycles.

The Four Best Films to Prominently Feature Bicycles

4. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

OK so it’s only one scene. But man is it an awesome scene. Paul Newman goes for a ride in the countryside to the song “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head,” does some cool tricks to impress his lady, makes faces at a bull, and flees the scene all on a bicycle. Paul Newman reminds us how manly bicycles can be by riding straight up to Robert Redford and letting him know he’s stealing his girl. The scene’s been taken off of youtube, so I can’t embed it here, but as of this writing it was available on dailymotion here.

3. Kiki’s Delivery Service

I'm sticking with bitchin as my adjective for this thing
So this one doesn’t really feature too much bicycle, with the exception of Jiji’s bicycle/bitchin flying machine, but since this article was originally about bicycle messengers and brooms are kind of like bikes for witches, I figured I’d include it anyway. Besides, I’m writing this article and this is my website. So there. Anyway, my love for Miyazaki films isn’t exactly secret and I particularly enjoyed this one because it’s just so cool. Not the witch thing, though that’s neat too. No the idea of just packing up, moving to a completely new place without any idea of what you’ll do there, getting taken in by a kind woman who needs help around the shop, and starting your own business (in Kiki’s case a delivery service) is such a cool idea to me that I started researching homesteads while I watched this film as “research” for this article. This is a gorgeous film and it so completely romanticizes the idea of the messenger service to me that I also looked for bike messenger positions in Orange County (there aren’t any).

2. Premium Rush

So sexy ... I mean boobs...yeah boobs
This JGL film is a crazy ride (pun totally intended) through New York. Making use of some crazy cool film techniques one normally wouldn’t associate with the chase movie genre (i.e. nonlinear storytelling, Next style multipath scenes, and a story dealing with something more complex than teen angst [although this film certainly has its share of that]), Premium Rush gives its viewers an impressive amount of suspenseful, action-packed bicycle chase scenes. On top of that there is some legitimate emotion and intriguing comic relief. To be fair, PR is not a perfect film, it suffers from some pacing issues, unbelievable scripting, and wooden acting. But the action, directing, and the parts of those three things that don’t have issues make up for the issues. And never has a film made bicycling so sexy. I mean I’m a totally straight guy and I found myself a little turned on by Joseph Gordon Levitt.

1. The Bicycle Thieves

To be fair to Kiki, I almost put her in this top spot since I love that movie so much, but I think The Bicycle Thieves edges her out just barely for the best bicycle-related film (Editor’s note: I didn’t see Premium Rush till after I wrote these descriptions, and it wound up beating out Kiki for the number two spot but couldn’t unseat this masterpiece.). This 1948 film about a father and his son’s developing relationship as they search for the father’s lost bike is just fantastic. It’s full of emotion and development and really says a lot about mid twentieth century Italy – both economically and socially. It’s difficult to describe this film without sounding even more pretentious than I’m sure you already think I am (and I am a film major so it’s not exactly an unsolicited opinion). So instead I’ll just trust that if you value my random internet lists at all (which, let’s face it, who doesn’t?), you’ll just go watch the film. It is with only a little doubt, the best film to prominently feature bicycles ever.

As always if you agree or disagree please comment below. If you have an idea for my next list please share, cause I'm running out of ideas and I'm only two lists in.

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