I have never written a movie review before, because I typically don’t care about pop culture. This movie was different, though, enough so that I can’t bring myself to do another thing today until I say what I needed to say. This project was done by a group local to Colorado, and on a topic near to my heart – adventure motorcycling. I first watched the trailer, and was immediately drawn to the scenery and subject matter, a depiction of a bunch of riders going over the same mountain passes that I rode a few years ago with my own awesome group. However, when the dramatic music died down and they started talking, I had a feeling that something was off about the people involved, they all looked like they were about to cry. And so, it was with skepticism in the first place that I went to go see it, but hey, there were motorcycles, how bad could it be?
I am always one to give people that benefit of the doubt, that “E” for effort, because believing enough in yourself and your project to ultimately put yourself in the spotlight takes courage. A “story worth living”, as they like to call it in the film, is not necessarily a story worth sharing. Many of us who were interested in this movie in the first place, have had many similar, if not more incredible experiences and bike trips, but most of us have never thought it was worth putting on a full production to share it with the world. These guys did. That takes some cajones. But in the end, there were many things about this movie that were fundamentally wrong, and a lot more that were wrong in a way that is hard to put your finger on.
For starters, I think most people that went to see it were expecting to see a lot more riding, which turned out to be only a small part of the film. Even so, I was hoping for a far more cohesive story (I want to throw up every time I hear that word now), of the actual motorcycle trip. They repeatedly showed the COBDR map on the wall, so it was safe to assume that were loosely following that route, but the geographic shots were completely out of sequence. Instead, the motorcycling took a back seat to a massive effort to convey The Message. I definitely did not expect the effort put forth in shoving that message down my throat.
I completely understand that this project was done to specifically not be another COBDR video, they wanted to present their own take on what has already been done. I also understand the gist of their message, which is to inspire, maybe to marvel at the world, maybe to have the viewer look inside themselves and bring them closer to all that is spiritual. However, they seriously butchered the very thing they were trying to convey. Every single person in the film had the look and demeanor of having drank the kool-aid. That’s right, religion and spirituality are one thing, but their mannerisms scream ‘cult’. The conversations felt forced, overbearing, scripted, and more akin to a Youth Group meeting rather than an adult conversation about what it means to be alive. It was weird watching grown men tear up at the very thought of feeling feelings, and at the same time tout just how manly and adventurous they are.
Now for the stuff that is much harder to pin-point. I think what rubbed me the wrong way the most is how disingenuous the whole thing was. Maybe because every element was done too right. Bear with me. They tried to present themselves as just a bunch of normal guys, but everything about them was off. They were too goody-two-shoes, too nice, too something. The cinematography was almost overdone. Their gear matched perfectly, they had every farkle ever made; they played the sponsorship game too well. The weather they actually rode in was great. The part where they rode in the rain, or when they set out in the dark – it was staged. They weren’t stranded in the rain the way most of us have been so many times. They were not lacking funds, and that was too obvious throughout the whole film. In fact, the very essence of adventure riding was lost when they had multiple chase vehicles, and base camps set up for them. They weren’t out to find camp in the dark the way we’ve had to before. They just wanted some good shots, and they got them. The ranch scene with their adoring wives, who knew their place was in the kitchen honoring their husbands was just beyond idyllic.As were the shots of them frolicking in rivers, smoking cigars, and pondering important thoughts. The whole thing was perfectly orchestrated, but the result was still cacophonous because there was no substance.What was this movie about? What was the actual point? Are there really people out there saying “whoa, that was so deep and inspiring”?The project was overly self-promoted even during the actual fmovie, and cleverly marketed as a limited event because ultimately there was no actual story, and if that story got out, no one would come.