Tuesday, August 7, 2007

On Your Right, Hollywood! Five Sure-Fire Cycling Pitches

There haven’t been many mainstream films or TV shows that do cycling justice. I’m not talking about films like “A Sunday In Hell” that skew more towards the cognoscente. I’m talking about the ones intended for mainstream, non-cycling audiences. Some, like “Breaking Away,” work well. Others, like “American Flyers,” and “Quicksilver,” are just various shades of embarrassing.

The latest entry in the cycling film canon is “The Flying Scotsman,” which is the story of Graeme Obree. I have not seen this yet. While it seems like a worthy film, the commercial prospects of a movie that uses the words “Scottish,” “cyclist,” and “washing machine” together in the promotional copy seem limited at best. A Lance Armstrong film has also long been in development, and Matt Damon, Matthew McConaughey, and Gary Busey have variously been attached as stars. But that may never see celluloid, and if it does, I’m not so sure it will be a good thing.

Nonetheless, I think we need more films and TV series about cycling. Here are just a few ideas that I think have vast commercial and dramatic prospects:

Idiocy In Motion: The Ted Shred Story

Logline: In a time when it’s increasingly difficult to get noticed, bicyclist, DJ, and renaissance man of retardation Ted Shred revolutionizes cycling and carves his own identity by riding a Bianchi Pista with a freewheel and no brake.

Why It Will Do Well: This guy goes through Vans like UPS goes through, well, vans. The product placement alone should offset production costs.

Casting: Vanilla Ice or Vin Diesel would be ideal, but really anybody who can convincingly play mentally handicapped. (Is that a swarm of bees I hear? Or is it Oscar buzz?)

Smooth Legs, Hairy Face: Cycling’s Greatest Facial Hair

Logline: Featuring Sheldon Brown, Tom Ritchey, Jonathan Vaughters, 1990s Bob Roll, that bald guy with the beard from Mavic Neutral Support, and many others, this documentary takes a whimsical look at some of cycling’s most captivating beards, moustaches, and sideburns.

Why It Will Do Well: Americans love four things: Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, and Facial Hair.

Casting: N/A

The Odd Couple, starring Lennard Zinn and Jobst Brandt

Logline: In this remake of the classic 1968 film, arch-curmudgeon and uber-retrogrouch Jobst Brandt must share an apartment with Velonews technical expert and espouser of all things new and gimmicky Lennard Zinn. Sparks will fly and laughs will abound as neatnik Zinn tries to clean Brandt’s filthy drivetrain. Meanwhile, a drunken Brandt rants about the importance of stress relieving while trying to throw Zinn’s seven pairs of Ksyrium SLs out the window.

Why It Will Do Well: Zinn and Brandt are the Lemmon and Matthau (or Randall and Klugman if you will) of the New Millennium

Casting: D’uh.

On A Steel Horse I Ride

Logline: “Breaking Away” meets “Cool Runnings” by way of “The Commitments” in this sports dramedy about a group of working-class teens in a Welsh mining town who, denied entry into an upper-crust polo club, take up the underground sport of bike polo and ride lugged steel and moxie all the way to the World Bicycle Polo Championships.

Why It Will Do Well: This will be the feel-good sports film of the year. Promotional efforts will include top-tube pads and spoke cards with the film’s logo, fast food chain tie-ins, and die-cast collectibles.

Casting: The team itself will be comprised of unknowns chosen from open auditions, but the part of the coach will be played by either Daniel Day Lewis or Anthony Hopkins. The evil rich team’s coach will be played by Dame Judy Dench.


Logline: “Taxi” meets “Friends” in this sitcom set in a pedicab depot in New York City, in which five recent private college graduates from wealthy families turned pedicab drivers grapple with love, life, and liberal politics while trying to make it in the big city.

Why It Will Do Well: Pedicab drivers are the bike messengers of the New Millennium.

Casting: Fresh faces would do best here, but Danny DeVito reprising his dispatcher role would be priceless. Expect walk-ons by Al Gore.


Anonymous said...

You know they're more likely to do sequels to Breaking Away and American Flyers than to produce anything original.

Aaron said...

Breaking Away 2: Who is Major Taylor?

Hell, that probably will get made after the whole Nike hype thing....

Steve said...

I'd go see "On A Steel Horse I Ride" if it had this album for its soundtrack. While not robotic, the steel horses in the movie likely have a similar identity crisis.

What I Think said...

Merlyn! At www.whereismerlyn.com. He's your Mavic guy.

Brilliant, as always!

Anonymous said...

funny you should write about this. my neighbor is a lit agent at a big, big, agency and last night he asked me to give him my thoughts about a script called "NJS Undercover."

apparently it's "Fast and the Furious" meets "Quicksilver" and set in the shady underworld of Japanese Kerin racing.

Anonymous said...

On a Steel Horse I Ride sounds more like the cycling equivalent to the cinematic genius that was Major League.

steevo said...

can zinn and brandt have a fist fight over tubular vs tubeless road tires?

Unknown said...

Don't pass on the right, even if it's Hollywood.

Our Gratitude Journal said...

Well, if it's a pedicab movie you want, Colby Macri's doc,
The Pedicab Movie, would be a good start for research.

Anonymous said...

hey...what about "belov" from American flyers. Not only does he have smooth legs and a hairy mug, he's got that cool helmet. That thing makes a bell v1 pro look like an atmos!

Jim said...

I think an essential element of the Odd Couple film occurs when Zinn returns home to find Jobst has wired and soldered the spokes of his Spinergy wheelset, with disastrous (and predictably Hilarious!) results at the Wednesday Night Track Series, which you could call "the Oscar Madisons" in a nod to the Academy awards, and a hot dog company.

Sean Lynch said...

Hidden Chain Line Crouching Bottom Bracket.

Logline: Audiences will be entranced by this cinematic tour de force as a group of poor humble monks save their village and possibly the world as the monks use their marshal arts and bicycle acrobatic skills to expose an out of control corporate developer and stop him from destroying the local countryside and the traditional way of life of the people of the village.

Action and romance ensues as a young orphan raised by the monks joins forces with the beautiful daughter of the industrial robber barron. They start as rivals, but his true heart and track standing skilz win her over. together they skid their way around her father's industrial sites avoiding corporate security minions.

In the end the evil father has a George Bailey moment an realizes the error of his ways.

Why it will do well: Directed by Ang Lee, flying bicycles (we know these work from ET), fixed gear and marshall arts.

Casting: David Carradine as evil industrialist, Chow Young Fat as lead monk, Jackie Chan as the local chief of police. Fresh faces for young leads.

Sell it as: Breaking Away meets Seven Samurai meets Romeo and Juliet meets A Wonderful Life

Anonymous said...

Haven't you heard of Channel 102?
If any of your readers are industrious, they'd make their own cyling movie.

There's always Sell This Bike.

Prolly said...

You forgot to mention the new Jessica Simpson movie where she moves to NYC and the only job her tits, i mean she can land is a job as a messenger. Where she meets Luke Wilson after falling in a hole... then Luke falls in love with her hole.

Don't believe me... LOOK HERE

Anonymous said...

first came Ted Shred.

now Jessica Simpson dressing up to be messenger in a romcom

"bike messengers wear kneepads? since when? and What’s with the ultra low-slung bag, huh?


so much to say but its really pointless now

BikeSnobNYC said...

I also recommend checking out "You, Me, and Dupree." There is a scene of Owen Wilson taping his bars from the top down and then going on a "group ride," as well as some TdeF footage in which the riders' jerseys have new sponsor logos CGId on them. (Product placement I assume.)


Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure the bicyle jousting scene alone is going to guarantee me the greenlight for my post-global-warming-peak-oil-apocalypse thriller.

Think Mad Max on fixies.

Crash said...

fucking Brilliant!

Hardtail For Life said...

That was the most random dirt rag article ever.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Steve Bilenky for the hairy face flick!

Anonymous said...

I really wish you hadn't picked on Sheldon Brown. Considering what he's currently going through with his health and all.

Anonymous said...

I think this site generally offers respect to Sheldon "Deserves Big Props" Brown.

and Jobst Brandt would never tie and solder spokes.

Fred Blasdel said...

I don't think he's picking on ol' Sheldon — he's celebrating his awesome facial hair.

Have you *seen* Sheldon's beard, especially when it's green?

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