Saturday, May 28, 2016

Prefer Plain

In a medium preoccupied with comic book heroes, nice to recount a smattering of films that focus on how ordinary people without superpowers interact, although in each cited case things end badly and viewers aren't nervously overexcited. No preference for Amish plainness, only considering how much mayhem is usually associated with fast or flying vehicles, which seem to cause or enable all that goes wrong in life and most films. Creeping infants weren’t born with motors or wings; it’s plain that many can’t handle them anyway. More have died on roads than fallen on battlefields, yet no memorial day is observed for accident victims.

Remember Me (Allen Coulter dir., 2010) depicts rich, spoiled protagonist Robert Pattinson (Twilight Saga), who chases love interest Emilie de Ravin, drifts around NYC leaning on a fixie with a massive chain and lock, and learns how to value every minute of life in a world where suicide terrorists abruptly end many.

German thriller Das letzte Schweigen (The Silence, Baran bo Odar dir., 2013) has two 13-year-olds on bikes being murdered 23 years apart in same wheat field.

In The Judge (David Dobkin dir., 2014), film industry’s highest earning star Robert Downey Jr plays a big city defense attorney bereaved of his mother. While back home in Indiana countryside, he revisits old habits, including rebelling against his dad the judge and riding his old Panasonic steely 10-speed no hands, which quickly results in catching a soft shoulder and tumbling headlong. Gives Iron Man new nuance.

Teen waitress Gethin Anthony controversially guides Canadian visitor Frederikke Dahl Hansen by bike through Copenhagen (Mark Raso dir., 2014) on a search for his grandfather.

Cyclique (Frédéric Favre dir., Switzerland, 2015) watches three young adults struggle with their choices to be freewheeling bike messengers instead of exploiting selves as desk jockeys.

The Commentator (Brendt Barbur, 2015) is a recent documentary on Jorgen Leth’s 1976 Paris-Roubaix coverage and Kristof Ramon’s race photography, with a new soundtrack by NYC’s band Blonde Redhead.

In biopic Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle dir., 2015), Apple Founder Jobs (Michael Fassbender) supported by Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) and Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) take on a vision to connect everyone electronically despite unprecedented challenges. There's no bicycling per se, mostly backstage emoting, but toward the end flashbacks depict Jobs inducing CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) to desert soft drinks for digital future. Says Steve, "The most efficient animal on the planet is the condor. The most inefficient are humans. But a human with a bicycle becomes the most efficient animal... The right computer will be a bicycle for the mind." Labann, as an early computer implementer, directly based B&C upon this mindset right down to composing paragraphs like internet surfing, only using personal memories uncorroborated by exocranial research.

Not going to begin to enumerate bicycling scenes shown by Bollywood, since Abhimanyu Mishra already did for the Times of India. For example, Bombay film Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (How Alexander Won, Mansoor Khan dir., 1992) is a Hindi version of Breaking Away with rival teens cheating and substitute hero nevertheless winning by stooping to same tactics. You can even be the hero of your own movie, according to Joe Rogan and several others, though it means little with ridiculously low standards and suits delusional egomaniacs best.

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