It was a sensation:
The film was one of only three profitable movies that year for MGM, grossing what Time magazine called an "astonishing" $13 million on a budget of $500,000. It not only spawned several years of "blaxploitation" action films, it earned enough money to save then-struggling MGM from bankruptcy.
Three years later, they were all like "What do we do with Shaft now?," so they sent him to Africa with less than spectacular results:
Shaft in Africa, released in 1973, is the third film in the blaxploitation trilogy of films that starred actor Richard Roundtree as John Shaft. John Guillermin directed and Stirling Silliphant did the screenplay. The cost went up to $2,142,000, but the gross fell to $1,458,000. MGM quickly sold the property to television, but the television series was cancelled after just seven episodes.
40 years later, Lucas Brunelle is following in Shaft's footsteps with "Lucas Brunelle Goes To Africa:"
Lucas Brunelle goes to Africa from Cinelli Official on Vimeo.
So who's Lucas Brunelle? Well, let's answer that question with a question:
Q: Who's the IT company owner with the cameras on his head who's a Fred machine to all the fakengers?
You're damn right.
Also, they say that Fred Brunelle is the world's most annoying roadie.
Shut your mouth!
And so forth.
Anyway, Brunelle explains that "filming this was a complete paradigm change for me," since his usual modus operandi is to drop down from Massachusetts and "slum it" here in New York City, where he makes movies of people riding stupidly in exchange for spoke cards:
So naturally he and his cohorts experienced a bit of culture shock when they arrived in Africa, though they did pack their erections:
"We had a hard-on for going as fast as we could because we love speed."
Yeah, save it, camerahead. You're riding a freaking bicycle.
Anyway, even though there was nothing but miles of open road, Brunelle couldn't help skidding and weaving through invisible cars:
"It was funny 'cause I'm actually finding myself skidding out and making all these different maneuvers because, you know, I'm kind of needing that stimulation of the urban environment."
First of all, why is he experiencing such intense "urban withdrawal?" Isn't he from Nantucket or something? Second, riding in an "urban environment" just isn't that big of a deal anyway. It's only a big deal if you make it one by riding straight at the cars and then turning at the last second, which is what he likes do to. Third, missing city traffic while riding across Africa just seems depressing, like that guy who was all excited that his car smells like a restaurant.
But Bunelle's hard-on eventually fades and he succumbs to the beauty of his surroundings--until a heat-induced hallucination compels them all to clear the world's biggest and most pointless cyclocross obstacle by shouldering their bikes and "portaging" them over a gigantic sand dune:
"I immediately had this vision and I said, 'We're going to ride that dune.'"
I immediately had a vision of a chamois full of sand.
"We're going to do this in a way that nobody has ever done it before, and it's going to be rad."
"Whatever," says this guy:
Eventually they trudge their way to the top, where this guy celebrates with a mighty "meow:"
I'm completely serious, he totally meowed like cat in heat.
Then they ride circles around some dead shit for awhile:
After which they comb the desert for awhile, looking for a point to all this:
They do not find one.
Finally, they hit Cape Town where they experience "sensory overload," and clearly they missed cars, trucks, buses, and other Things That Go because they can't stop touching them:
They're so excited that they get to run red lights again that they pretend to be birds while they do it:
However, they didn't read the part in the Lonely Planet guide where it says they drive on the other side of the road there:
I guess making your ride difficult for no reason is what Brunelle means when he says "every seat I have is as sharp as a razor, so you always play to roll:"
I wonder if he also ever takes a dump with the toilet seat up, just because.
Oh, don't forget to touch the cars!
Seriously, what is with the touching? Does it tie in to the meowing somehow? Do these people have glands in their paws and they're leaving their scent everywhere so they don't get lost?
Or did they accidentally leave their luggage on the bus and they're trying to get it back?
Anyway, an ordinary person would be tired by now, but Brunelle's saddle is so razor sharp that he wants "more adventure" and so he goes to Johannesburg:
"In the horizon I saw nuclear towers:"
Yeah, if you read the comments on the video, they're not actually nuclear towers:
Not Nuclear towers, the cooling towers for an old coal fired power station.
Clearly Brunelle knows more about lane-splitting than atom-splitting, and I don't mean that as an insult because I would have assumed it was a nuclear power plant too. (I also would have pronounced it "nucular.")
The point is, Brunelle thinks this place is totally radioactive, and so being the thrill-seeking guy with a razor under his ass that he is he goes INTO THE REACTORRR!!!
Well, that's not entirely true. Actually, he makes this poor guy take him INTO THE REACTORRR!!!, sending him through what for all he knows is toxic sludge:
Presumably Brunelle hopes the radioactivity will transform him into a superhero called AlleyCat Man, and his poor tour guide will be forced to become his sidekick.
All of this, it should be said, is supposed to make us want to buy a Cinelli Hobo Bootleg for some reason:
So what the hell is a Cinelli Hobo Bootleg anyway? I went to the Cinelli site to find out:
Cinelli Bootleg is a project inspired by Irozen Aldo “Rock” Calandro. A Line of wicked, black, reflective bikes, for a new species of riders. Bootleg is an experiment in continuous evolution: it learns from mistakes, it adapts to new conditions, it’s a research through the streets of the planet, into the history, among people with passion for bicycles, for those who think, build and live bikes.
Okay, I think I get it. It's basically a gravel bike for assholes.
Speaking of assholes, a reader tells me Toronto Mayors Robs Fords is now shouting about subways:
I assume he was sending a lackey to go get him three Five Dollar Footlongs.