Posts Tagged ‘film’

Happy Star Wars Day everyone!  Now although I’ve already covered how action sports has crossed into the fandom, I can’t help but add this little tidbit on.  It seems that X Games Austin has decided to celebrate May 4 with photos of a Stormtrooper doing some BMX flatland tricks.
 photo as_xg_storm3_2048_zps6kedswnt.jpg
By Sandy Carson (X Games)

Who’s the rider underneath the helmet?  Why it’s Brian Tunney!  Click here to see more fun photos of him in costume.

Moving onto another corner of geekdom, I happened to catch “Assemble”, a mini movie by Samsung and Marvel and guess who’s assumed Thor’s mantle?  John John Florence!  I can’t think of a better candidate with aerials so high he may as well look like he’s flying, a chill attitude, and yes, “godly hair”.  It’s also quite fitting that the man who plays the Asgardian is an avid surfer himself.

While John John is the only action sports pro in the team, the movie also features mechanical engineer Sasha Blanc working on and riding a motorcycle and the adorable Bobby Martinez getting to the rendezvous point on a skateboard.  I think it’s safe to say that action sports and Avengers go pretty well together… though if we were to assemble a super hero team made up of action sports pro, who would be in it?

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I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for Oakley’s Snowboarding: For Me airing on ABC tomorrow.  At the same time, I’m totally okay missing it due to the lack of ladies in the film.  Oakley has female snowboarders on its team, and while I understand that not everybody can be featured, the documentary approach of the movie make it seem like a glimpse of the community.  Except it doesn’t show any of the top female riders, who deserve as much air time. Moreover seeing a female face will inspire young girls to pick up snowboarding (and companies like Oakley will profit from the new cusstomers).

This makes me thankful that snowboarding has individuals like Danyale Patterson, “Queen of the Too Hard Empire”.  As stated in her recently funded Kickstarter, her Too Hard series is “a [women’s] snowboard project completely run by women snowboarders”.  Danyale and the other JibGurlz prove that female riders aren’t timid, and they are willing to take matter into their own hands to make their own movies. Here is the latest, Too Hard: Tres Hard.

Tres Hard from danyale patterson on Vimeo.

For something that delves more into the mind and lives of female snowboarders, there is Burton’s 2013 WOMEN [SNOWBOARDING]. This is what I imagined Snowboarding: For Me would be like if it consisted of all women although the film does not go nearly as deep in the commentary as I would have liked. It could have had the riders talk more about their inspirations, their struggles, and their goals and less about being “one of the guys”. While that may be the reality of snowboarding and equality is what feminism is about, we don’t want girls to think that they need to hang with the guys or have their approval (just look at the Jib Gurlz). Nevertheless, I’m glad Burton attempted to put the spotlight on their female riders (next time, maybe they could get a full length feature?).

I’m sad that both of these films are under half an hour and will not get the exposure that Snowboarding: For Me will get. Their existence, however, is a shining beacon for feminism in action sports. The women are doing stuff—great stuff—in terms of riding hard, getting it recorded, put out there. We’re hearing their voices, and hopefully more of that will happen in the future because snowboarding is for everyone.

No idea who made this poster  but it’s rad

I never imagined Star Wars and snowboarding would be mentioned in the same sentence, especially since I had sci-fi loving friends diss boarders and action sports loving friends shun all things geeky.  There’s always exceptions though, and earlier this year, ESPN made a Star Wars reference in one of their snowboarding photos.  Apparently these two things are not so much like the light and dark sides of the Force.

This post was inspired a video by Freakin’ Rad. It was actually of freestyle motocross riders in Storm Trooper costumes, which I just loved. Further investigation led to an earlier movie with snowboarders and freeskiers battling it out.

Later I watched Episode 27 of AWSM on Alli, which had pro boarder Todd Richards spilling the beans on the geeks in the action sports world and browsing around Comic-Con. It was cool to see things from his point of view even if the commentary on cosplayers got to be distasteful in my opinion (those Leia cosplayers were more than just 1s, Mr. Richards).

One of the featured videos in the episode was an old Star Wars-themed snowboard piece that I had never seen before (but is apparently well-known): Gnar Wars.

I was impressed and decided to see if there were other collisions of snowboarding and Star Wars. Guess what? Burton Snowboards and Lucasfilm teamed up last winter, and not only created equipment inspired by Star Wars (for kids only, unfortunately) but a themed park with wood carvings of different characters and Jedi-style instruction.  If you’ve got a kid who would like to be a powder padawan, check out the Burton Star Wars Experience at Sierra at Tahoe.

One sure-fire way to get me to tune into a movie is to open with some sick BMX action, like this:

The clip is from the 2006 teen dramedy Stick It. Although I was curious about the film, being a former aspiring gymnast, my interest wasn’t piqued until I saw the intro (Plano, Texas does not look like that by the way). Even if that was all the action sports action, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and its rebellious BMX-riding gymnast lead.

The main character, Haley, had to stunt doubles: Mike “Rooftop” Escamilla and Scotty Cranmer, who also rode for the character named Poot. Ben Snowden did stunts for the third BMXer, Frank.

Rooftop is no stranger to the silver screen. He and Rick Throne played thieves named Blitzen and Cupid in Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009). Both riders also starred, along with Mat Hoffman and other action sports athletes, in xXx (2002) although they didn’t do any riding there.

Probably the biggest movie with a bit of BMX is E.T. (1982). Bob Haro, the “godfather of BMX”, was one of the stunt riders. He jumped out of the second floor and wore a black ski mask in the chase scene.
E.T., From the official facebook page of Bob Haro
Photo from Bob Haro’s facebook page.

BMX appeared to be a trend in the 80s with movies like BMX Bandits and Rad! The latter actually contains another link to gymnastics as Olympian Bart Conner had a cameo in the BMX film.

For more info on BMX in movies and television, check out this page from 23MAG.

With all the bad news around us these days, it’s about time a truly inspirational film hit theaters. Soul Surfer is based on the real-life story of Bethany Hamilton, a rising surf star who lost her arm to a tiger shark in 2003. Bethany didn’t let that injury, which could have killed her, slow her down. She returned to the water a month later and placed fifth Open Women’s division surf competition just two months after being injured. Then, the following year, she won her first national amateur title.

Bethany turned pro in 2007 at the age of 17. Since then, she has competed in many contests, placing second in the 2009 World Junior Championships. She has also tackled the big waves of Jaws, named for the ferocity of the break’s 100+ feet waves. Her autobiography, written in 2004, serves as the source material for the film.

Soul Surfer is directed by Sean McNamara (Beyond the Break) and stars AnnaSophia Robb (Bridge to Terabithia) as Bethany and Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid as Bethany’s parents. Country singer Carrie Underwood and Jack Nicholson’s daughter Lorraine Nicholson play Bethany friends, youth minister Sarah Hill and surfer Alana Blanchard respectively. Also in the film is former Miss Teen USA runner-up Sonya Balmores Chung, who used to compete against Bethany, as Bethany’s rival.

Yes, this movie is directed by the dude behind Bratz: the Movie, but he’s directed a bunch of other Disney and Nickelodeon films so you don’t have to worry about whether the shark attack will be too gruesome or there will be one too many gratuitous bikini shots for your grandma’s liking. And yes, there will be religious overtones (as Bethany’s faith plays a role in her road to recovery). Should you let that dissuade you from seeing it if you’re not religious? No, because in the end, it’s about believing in yourself. This is a great movie to watch with the kiddos and teach them a thing or two about never giving up. Soul Surfer premieres in the U.S. and Canada today.

Listening to: “Bright Star Hope” by Marquis of Vaudeville