Published Somedays

Hollywood Not Helping...

(updated: May 20, 2007)

Movies typically portray cycling in a negative light. Well, not necessarily negative, but they often portray loser-type characters riding bikes. Why do they have to take cyclists' dignity? It just perpetrates the stereotype that something must be wrong with you if you are riding a bike around. Let's look at a few examples:

1) The 40-Year Old Virgin -- In this movie the main character is a, big surprise, 40-Year Old Virgin, who collects action figures and works in a consumer electronics store. He also has no car. He rides his bike everywhere. So it wasn't enough that he's a 40 year old virgin - by setting him up this way they imply that maybe he's a virgin because he doesn't drive and so he can't get a date. In the end he gets the girl, and respect, but why does Hollywood always have to reinforce this stereotype that only losers ride bikes? You wouldn't see Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas) from the movie Wall Street riding around town on a bike.

I wish I could stop traffic with my hand, especially if I was riding against it on the sidewalk:


Good old sock stuffing technique. Gotta love it.


2) Napoleon Dynamite -- Ok, so he's in high school and rides his bike, but he and the other 'outcasts' in the school are the ones that ride bikes. The jocks are all driving. I thought this movie was hilarious. I only wish it would make people think that riding bikes is cool. Maybe it does. Here, watch this and you be the judge:




3) I Heart Huckabees -- Here the main character is portrayed as a nature loving activist who is in the middle of a campaign to stop a new development from destroying a marsh. He rides a bike. Big surprise. I mean, it makes sense because he's a big environmentalist. But do we want to label anyone who rides a bike as an environmentalist or outcast? What if they just like riding bikes?

If this wasn't a controlled movie environment (how can they even close a road like this?), he'd probably get run over or door-jammed:


Come on it's bike related:


Other movies simply think it's funny to put in a scene of a cyclist crashing, like the movie Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo. There are a couple scenes of a cyclist running into a suddenly opened car door. Yeah, it's funny to laugh at cyclists getting hit. Well, it was kinda funny, but if it continues to diminish cycling in the general public's minds then it's not worth it.

And a movie fight scene that made absolutely no sense at all was the movie The Protector starring Tony Jaa. Jaa is an amazing fighter but a scene where he fights BMXers and inline skaters wielding fluorescent tubes left me scratching my head. I mean, a gang of evil BMX kids? Come on. That's ridiculous. If Jaa wasn't as good as he is this movie would suck because the only other thing he did was run around screaming "where my elephant!" at everyone.

Why can't a movie have a guy who happens to ride a bike, and not have it imply something. It's not about the bike! The day that happens is the day cycling is finally accepted in this country. I may be long dead before that time comes.

There was one movie I watched that had the main character, played by Matthew McConaughey, go mountain biking: Failure to Launch. The problem was they portrayed him as an extreme sport lover and implied that cross country mountain biking is an "extreme" sport. Keep reinforcing the idea in Joe Public's mind that mountain biking is "extreme", and give Sierra Club wankers more fuel to prevent us from gaining access to state land.

Mr. McConaughey must ride mountain bikes because he also rode a bike in another movie, Two for the Money, except he got knocked off of it by a couple of mob guys and beat up. I guess if he had been driving it wouldn't have happened, further nurturing the seed in suburbia's collective hive mind that driving is much safer because you won't get knocked off and beat up by mob guys.

Matthew McConaughey's stunt double gets owned by large mob dude:


Why can't I ride my bike right to my office? How about down the grocery aisles?


Chicks dig cyclists (or multi-millionaire actors but I could be wrong):


What would be really cool is if the next James Bond movie had a scene of Bond escaping from the bad guys at a ski resort on a downhill bike and hitting some sick drops on the way down while simultaneously turning around in mid-air and shooting the bad guys. And maybe a few of the bad guys would eat crap off the drops. That would rule hard. It would be the best bond movie ever.

But until then all the public is going to hear about for a while is how cycling is just one big dope fest.

So typically around Wilmington, NC the only folks you see riding bikes around town and on dangerous roads are people that lost their license to DUIs. It doesn't help. We are being labeled as outcasts. So it's time to change people's attitudes. How do we do it? By getting more and more people into cycling. There is a place to ride here now where people don't have to worry about cars - it's called the Blue Clay Bike Park. Take someone there and get them into riding.

Get out of the road! He's obviously got a DUI and probably mental problems:


Next, we need to get people making short trips by bike instead of cars. How do we do that? We start by holding our awareness ride. We tell everyone that more than 40 percent of all trips in the country are two miles or less; one quarter are just one mile or less—and two-thirds of even these shortest of trips are being made by car. These short trips—which are by far the most polluting—are ideal distances to do on a bike. Then we fight for bike lanes and access from our homes to the local stores. That alone will significantly reduce traffic and pollution. Think about it. People can bike for short distances around here - the terrain is flat, the weather is good. It's an ideal place to start - it's the low-hanging fruit. It will make a huge difference with just a little effort.

-SBA



Filed Under: General Entries



1 COMMENT:

1. Sean Carr said...

Oh but sir bikes- how can we ever focus on putting together rides when gas is over three dollars. What ever will we do???? ... not to get far off topic, but I was glad to see gas go over three bucks. Also, I read in Outside Magazine they're making a move called "Tour De Frank." I'm believe thats the name anyway, and I'm pretty sure it's going to be a comedy. Surprise surprise.

May 21, 2007 @ 6:41 AM


 

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