Crimes:

  • Hyping the marginal sport of MX racing as if it were, in one character's words, the Super Bowl and the World Series rolled into one
  • Setting a sun-dappled bike-riding/metaphorical lovemaking montage to a third-rate rock ballad called "The Ride Of Your Life"
  • Casting slightly long-in-the-tooth boy sensation Aaron Carter in a misbegotten ploy to coax preteen girls into seeing a movie about motocross racing

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Defender: Director Steve Boyum

Tone of commentary: Earnest, but more than a little bored. Boyum is a former motorcycle racer who wanted, above all, to do right by the sport, so he ensured that his movie would only play to motocross enthusiasts who wouldn't sweat the perfunctory plot elements: "I tried to keep the Hollywood BS factor of what's been done with motorcycle racing to a minimum." Unfortunately, the Hollywood BS factor is maximized whenever the bikes aren't catching air.

What went wrong: A profanity-laden improv between the two leads cost the film a PG rating that might have brought dozens more viewers into the theater. The production only had two nights to shoot the climactic race, causing a chaotic setup with eight cameras and a "bare minimum of communication." The studio pressed Boyum for more close-ups during the biking scenes, but helmets obscured the actors' faces. (Though "a girl in a helmet is a pretty sexy thing," Boyum admits.)

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Comments on the cast: The actors may look like a bunch of generically handsome studs and dead-eyed starlets, but Boyum spares no superlatives. He reserves his highest praise for some dude who plays the hero's main challenger in the big race: "He made me believe he was a fully sponsored Factory rider."

Inevitable dash of pretension: Boyum isn't a terribly pretentious guy, but perhaps a commentary track on Motocrossed, his "loose" TV adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, would reveal another side of him.

Commentary in a nutshell: The studio required Boyum to include a product placement for Papa John's pizza. Thinking that leaving a pizza box lying around in a bachelor pad would be "gratuitous," he decided instead to have his actors work it into the dialogue. Their improvisation: "I'm goin' to Papa John's!"

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