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Old 03-12-07, 10:39 AM   #1
taken67
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Anyone seen this?

B.I.K.E.
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Old 03-12-07, 10:45 AM   #2
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The tallbike on the first page would be hella hard to ride. A BMX on the bottom with a big frame on top.

I'll most likely be buying the DVD, Black Label has always fascinated me.
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Old 03-12-07, 12:11 PM   #3
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what a trip, an "anti-commercialism", "down with the man" type of club being exploited to make profit for an unrelated organization that works inside "the system," and the radical group of outlaws being documented don't see a dime! fast eddie outty
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Old 03-12-07, 12:44 PM   #4
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I read this review of it.....


B.I.K.E. Movie Review
by Eric Matthies

Dirt Rag



A review of the movie B.I.K.E., presented by American Cinematheque in a screening at The Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles on March 16th, 2006.

A few weeks back there was controversy in the Tall Bike world when a clothing designer called Brooklyn Industries used tall bikes as part of the window display in their New York store. The local cyclo-tribes vandalized the windows, protesting their niche subculture being usurped as a trend for commercial gain. In many ways I found the movie B.I.K.E. to present a similar controversy.

B.I.K.E. is a film full of contradictions and calamity, all tied quite effectively to the underground bike movement in Manhattan. Like Brooklyn Industries the filmmakers are outsiders, trying to infiltrate the subculture of Tall Bikes. While they go quite a bit further than the clothing makers in their efforts to participate in the world of New York's bike gangs, at the end of the day they are still usurping the trend for their own fame. This is made clear from the opening minutes of the film when the protagonist, Tony Howard proclaims that Tall Bikes are the next big thing and he will insinuate himself as a member of the notorious Black Label Bicycle Club within a matter of weeks. In quick succession we learn that Tony is a narcissist of the highest order and that his high of choice is heroin. From then on the film is all about Tony's apparent infatuation with re-making Larry Clark's "Kids" for bicycles while borrowing from the Jackass scatological humor archive and justifying his own addiction by theatrically exaggerating it for cinema. Tony speaks rather effectively when he's addressing the camera or visiting his parents, but when he enters lower Manhattan he affects the patois of hip hop slang. 'Yo, son' becomes his hosanna, chest thumping and egging on less enthusiastic artiste amigos as they set about gaining access to the bicycle brotherhood in which they so desperately covet membership. All of this is set to a fairly spectacular soundtrack, including Andre Williams and a live performance by Japanther.

Along the way we meet the characters of the Black Label club's New York chapter. These denizens of the Lower East Side sport 'colors' just like the Hells Angels and pride themselves on dumpster diving for food, clothing and bikes—proclaiming a 'dirtbag' and 'gutterpunk' mindset. They have borrowed these ideologies from the original Black Label club, who were basically homeless youth in Minneapolis that rallied around a love of cycling to form a surrogate family. The difference in reality for the New Yorkers is made apparent when they load up their bikes onto mumsy and dada's Land Rover and Mercedes, making a pilgrimage to Minnesota to meet the OG's. In the film, this moment is not too long after scenes from Critical Mass where the same kids are proudly flipping the bird to SUV's and some square in a Bentley. The footage from Critical Mass is interesting for those who have only read about the level of police harassment in NYC since the Republican Convention of '04. Of particular note is infrared imagery obtained from police surveillance helicopters of the cyclists. Likewise if you've ever heard of Bike Kill or missed Cheryl Dunn's film "Bicycle Gangs Of New York", now's your chance to see some awesome footage of the jousting and carousing. Ironically one of Tony's art crew is actually granted membership in the club by winning a bike joust, effectively removing him from the storyline for the rest of the movie.

Tony's father astutely observes that 30 is the new 21, giving the youth of today an extra ten years to **** around and figure out what life is all about before becoming adults, ostensibly while being funded by team mom and dad. Tony and his mates use their trustafarian wiles to gain footage from Amsterdam and Paris, rounding out the LES and Minneapolis material to giving the film a worldly flare. Of note are the sound bytes gleaned from interviewing Jonny Payphone, scion of Chicago's Rat Patrol, a bunch that seems far more interesting than the New York kids. Jonny is able to wax poetic on the cultural impact of bicycle collectives on the individuals within, something the film itself falls a bit short of doing. When members of Black Label's Minneapolis chapter visit NYC, one of them observes that the New Yorkers are like a production company, while back home in the Midwest it's more of a hang out and drink beers vibe.

Three quarters through the movie, when I noticed most of the local messenger tribe noisily stomping out of the theater, we were three quarters of the way through Tony's smack habit. As he pantomimed a kabuki rehab dance in the rivers of Maine, face painted white, half-naked and wielding a katana, he slipped on the wet rocks. At last—I thought—a true documentary moment. But instead of eviscerating himself with the blade he merely slides cautiously on his ass downstream to the safety of a Lexus coupe.

Tony brawls and bawls his way through the rest of the film but never manages to gain his coveted 'colors' from the club. Ultimately he forms his own crew, The Happy ****s, and challenges the Labels to joust at the second Bike Kill event. This attempt to overshadow the Label gang at their own party is itself overshadowed by the Labelers having decided to allow a basement-built Jet Bike to be ridden. We see the Black Label brain trust gathered around the bong, debating the merits of a petroleum-powered vehicle versus their mandate that no use of oil-based transportation will be allowed. Ultimately the 'cool' factor of the Jet Bike wins out and they choose to overlook their own guidelines by allowing it to run. The monstrous engine on wheels dangerously and slowly fires across the screen and into the inky night.

When the sun comes up the movie is over. Tony is now remade as Anthony Howard, still riding his tall-bike and according to the subtitles, sober and living the life of a 'solo' artist in Manhattan. The film certainly raises a lot of interesting issues, but it seems to do this by default. There is plenty of actual bicycle culture drama within the footage, but it is left for the audience to find for ourselves. Unfortunately screen time had to be filled up with gratuitous shots of Tony cooking his fix, shooting his fix, acting out his fix, fighting for the camera's benefit and crying crocodile tears as he came down from high after high. As we sat around plates of spaghetti discussing the film afterward, my friend Tina made an interesting point; all anyone wants is to be part of a fraternity. It is now possible for all the loners who could never get into the cool groups at school to form their own clubs. For Tony getting his Black Label colors is his fraternity. The art-***, boho punk equivalent of branding Greek letters on his ass. Being in a bike gang, or a band, or any collective is an opportunity for individuals to don a costumed personality‐to become their own definition of a superhero and find comfort or even protection in the numbers of the tribe. Exclusion seems to drive Tony deeper into his fabrication of self-inflicted pain.

I'll take Groucho Marx' stance—I wouldn't want to be a member of any club that would have me. There are rumors that Mtv is buying the movie for global distribution, which only cements my opinion that B.I.K.E. is no different than a clothing company putting a bunch of tall bikes in their window display. Both are borrowing from a subculture to help build the legend of a pop-culture addiction or in this case, addict. I am by no means a Critic, so see B.I.K.E. for yourself with open eyes and mind this summer at The Bicycle Film Festival. Or if empty-vee has their way, wait until it's co-opted on the tube.
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Old 03-12-07, 03:15 PM   #5
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When netflix grabs it I'll take a look.
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Old 03-12-07, 03:58 PM   #6
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seen the full length.

our own johnny payphone is in it quite a bit.
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Old 03-12-07, 04:55 PM   #7
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Wow, it looks like my dream come true. Punk rock, parties, bikes, booze and a anti attitude...

Great web site thanks for posting.
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Old 03-13-07, 08:52 PM   #8
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The new york chapter to me seems like nothing more than middle-class kids who are bored, lonely and looking for something to do. The Minneapolis crew looked more like they had their stuff together.
It's also very irritating to watch Tony go through his "problems". I don't care about your "problems", I want to see this pseudo-bike club. Could you imagine being this guys father? I would probably disown him. I can see why they didn't want him in their "club".
I think it would be pretty safe to say that if you want to see the fall of western society, look no further than these idiots.

P.S. Happy F*** Clown Club-
highlight of the film!
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Old 03-13-07, 08:58 PM   #9
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hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

oh man.
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Old 06-19-07, 08:43 PM   #10
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It all depends on how you look at the movie. I mean granted, the name insinuates a bicycle affiliation. But if you look at the film simply vesting interest in its accurate depiction of bike gangs, rather than the context of characters and its viewpoints, I feel the point of the film is missed.

I think it's more a comment on the current culture, that's why you hear things like "30 is the new 21" and you see a lot of people who come from money acting like they don't have any because it's the 'cool thing to do.' I thought the film was very interesting as a character study of Tony, and also as commentary on this generation's (and humanity itself) desire to be part of a group
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Old 06-19-07, 09:55 PM   #11
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it showed in PDX this past Friday. I didn't go but I understand the turnout was good and I heard positive things from a few friends, for what it's worth...like any movie you can probably take it at several levels. FWIW, there are a lot of DIY videographers in the indie bike scene and I think that's a good thing....

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Old 06-19-07, 11:40 PM   #12
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Tony may be a train wreck, but as a slice of our culture I think the movie stands on its own. You should buy it from www.bike-films.com and select "Rat Patrol Chicago" as your benefactee, the money will go to our Ghana chapter.
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Old 06-19-07, 11:40 PM   #13
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I'm becoming less infatuated with extremist ideology by the minute. Looks entertaining though. I think I may purchase a copy the way Johnny Payphone indicated.

That's a great review capn ifun.
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Old 06-20-07, 12:59 AM   #14
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The movie had a lot of cool ****. It also had a lot of boring/extraneous ****. I guess we all do this alt bike thing for different reasons. Seems Tony was doing it for acceptance, I do it for FUN!
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Old 06-20-07, 10:47 AM   #15
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it was a bit weird for me at the time because a few weeks prior my best friend Tony died from heroin, so that was a strange parallel.

a local guy went to film school with that Tony fellow. I think it was at pratt? had some interesting things to say
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Old 06-20-07, 11:19 AM   #16
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I'll be watching it this weekend at a Vancouver screening, with the BL's Leo. Looking forward to finally seeing it.
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Old 06-22-07, 02:46 PM   #17
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I've got a copy at the haus--entertaining, but there's precious little meaning to glean from the film as a whole. If there had been more self-promotion it could have been considered a vanity piece. As it stands it's worth downing a six pack to before jousting.
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Old 06-23-07, 03:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capn ˇFUN!
The movie had a lot of cool ****. It also had a lot of boring/extraneous ****. I guess we all do this alt bike thing for different reasons. Seems Tony was doing it for acceptance, I do it for FUN!
That seemed to be the general feeling in the audience when you showed it last week, Capn. Because I work in a place that treats alcohol & drug dependence and mental health issues, the boring/extraneous stuff wasn't all that boring for me. But that's way too serious to get into here.
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Old 06-25-07, 02:45 PM   #19
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Tony was not a very likeable guy, but I liked his film.
I was pretty sad watching his decline after his GF left him.

Though, its left me with a lot of unanswered questions about the group dynamic, which i'll have to inquire about.
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