Be honest; we’ve all been there. It’s January, there’s of snow on the ground and you’ve got the itch to ride, except it's minus a million outside, without the windchill! Now, there’s not much you can really do, so you go to the dvd shelf, or closet, or where ever you keep your movies, and pick out a favourite. Here’s a countdown of some of our personal favourites at IMX.
But without further ado, the top ten dirt bike movies!
10) Man and Machine (2011/12)
It's the newest movie on this list, and I know I might get some flack. There are a half dozen other movies that are just as good, but you've got to think of it in terms of innovation. It is the first film to compile the "Big 5" plus 2 new comers, including Canada's own Xtinction. It is the ONLY film on this list to be filmed on 3 different continents, and 7 different countries.
If you're considering buying this movie, do it. I have a dozens of reasons why this is an amazing moto movie, but really, it's some of the biggest names in off road riding the premiere hard enduro races. If you like anything about riding and racing dirt bikes, it's worth checking out.
9) Nitro Circus I (2006)
This is the original NC movie. It spawned a series of films that followed, with the latest 3D adventure to be released later this year. The first movie showed us a very young Travis Pastrana, still not quite set in his rockstar motorized athlete status. We're talking back in the day when two strokes ruled the earth and the gawky, gangly motocross rider was still working on his moto career.
For starting off a new trend (the NC franchise, which has their own show and a series of movies), not to mention TP199 helped bring free style motocross into the mainstream. What, with his squeaky clean looks and clean cut style even Granny likes him.
8) Relish (2003)
This was the first moto movie I ever saw. I remember so many of the details about it. We bought it at the January bike show (2004); B and I had only been going out for a month at this point. It was bought at Go Video (the video guy; if you've been to the Toronto bike shows, you know who he is). We came home and watched it. I asked a dozen questions: What's the difference between 2 and 4 strokes? Who's that guy? Why isn't that other guy (I meant Ricky) in this movie? (Ricky was my favourite, not because he was fast, that came later; we shared the same number, #4).
It's a Clutch Films production, sponsored by Thor, which means the only riders in the film are Thor riders. Jeremy McGrath at the end of his career, Chad Reed at the beginning of his and Tim Ferry right smack in the middle of his. The film also features Ezra Lusk, Grant Langston and Sebastien Tortelli.
I rank this movie high because it has some great memories for me, but it's also a very well put together film. The rider interviews are done very well; each rider is given his own segment with his own theme that plays into the personality he portrays.
7) Crusty Demons 1 (2001)
If you haven't noticed, I kind of like "Firsts," or in the case of TGO, near firsts. CD1 set off a trend that is now, I believe, in its 15th incarnation! Not to mention a touring freestyle show, a clothing line and responsible for launching the careers of many freestyle riders, like Brian Deegan, the General of the Metal Mulisha. It's got lots of hard core music, harder than any of the other films, and has that gritty edge that dominated the early freestyle films and life style.
So let's count it off: launched the careers of countless freestyles, spawned a travelling FMX tour, a HUGE clothing line (under Metal Mulisha) and spawned more sequels than Star Trek. Yeah, I'd say Crusty Demons of Dirt has a place on this list.
6) Tougher than Iron (2008)
One of the most infamous Throttle Films it's the Erzberg Rodeo. It is one of few films on this list that is actually listed on the Internet Movie Database, but that fun fact has nothing to do with this movie's placement on this list. It basically asks the question that all hard enduros do: How bad do you want it?
It's number six because it examines one of the hardest enduros on the planet. If you haven't seen it, and don't know what Erzberg is, oh wow, are you in for a surprise! I remember watching this film when it first came out and thinking two things. 1) Who is this Shane Cuthbertson from Canada guy? And 2) People do this for fun? Really?
5) Terrafirma (1994)
Another first. The Terrafirma films are a part of motocross history; there were 6 of the films originally released on VHS (remember those? the big, black plastic cassette tapes you had to rewind, that would wear out if you played them too much?) but then released in the MX Anthology pack, compiling them for easy viewing on the new technological device: the digital video disc (dvd).
The original Terrafirma has some familiar names, but the faces are a little different. There's a section called "Kids on the Couch," starring: Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart and Travis Pastrana. RC is precious: "Style, what do you mean?" Oh, and their "love" of Las Vegas... "I'd never go there again if I had my way with it."
Check out the videos online, and if you can find the DVDs, get them. They're out of circulation right now, meaning you can't just go and buy them at Amazon or Go Video, but they're worth trying to find.
4) The Great Outdoors II (2003)
It's such an older school view of the outdoor season. Ricky is riding red and the 250 two stroke is king.
I wish I could say this movie brings back memories, but the only memories it inspires are based on the music. I'm not a lifer; I wasn't born into motocross, in fact I wasn't brought into it until the year after this movie was made, but it was still one of the first that I remember going, "Wow... These are some serious athletes."
With all that, all I have left to say is: "My name is Ricky Carmichael; I just got beat two races in a row. Prepare to die." If you don't know what that means, go pick up this movie and watch! Ep-ic! It gives me goose bumps EVERY time I watch it.
And that, the epic voice over by is why TGO: II is fourth on this list. If you don't have it, you're missing out on a piece of moto movie history, and I strongly suggest you go out and get it.
3) What If...? (2011)
It's shortly listed as "Off road, the way it should be." It is absolutely fabulous; good music (are you noticing a theme with the music thing? It's going to come up again too.) and some awesome examples of off road riders. Starring Kurt BoCasselli, Kailub Russell, Russell abbit, Blake Bakken, Kyle Redmond, Mike Lafferty, Taylor Robert and Tim Weigand, What If...? examines the lives of off road riders in a way that we've never really seen before. Normally off road movies are focus on the riders in the heat of competition, but this shows the more casual side of these fierce competitors.
It shows the fun side of some very serious competitors. The opening sequence is unique, shot at night having them jump up onto a log. It's such a simple concept, but doing it at night really changes the game for both riders and the camera men.
Sticking with unique, check out Kailub Russell's "Silence is Golden" segment. I could be having a horrible day, and the intro to that section will always make me smile.
For changing the game for off road riders, inviting them into a world that was previously reserved for motocross riders, and giving us a look into the lives of some of the most talented off road riders in the US.
2) Industrial Strength (2006)
By far, hands down, my favourite moto movie of all time. It was a game changer. It pioneered the change from the traditional rock/punk/hip hop music to a very industrial and instrumental based music. The super intense music played well with the racing. It also changes the game by putting a heavy focus on the teams, the mechanics that keep the bikes running in top shape as well as the warriors who go to battle when the gate drops. Nine teams are highlighted, with their stories interwoven as they chase down the dream of an AMA National Outdoors Championship.
It changed the way The Great Outdoors films were produced; they turned into films, movies in their own rights, with plots, heroes, villains and climaxes.
1) On Any Sunday (1971)
On Any Sunday is arguably the first motocross movie ever made. Dating from 1971, when men were men and bikes were... Let’s just say “heavy.” Even after 40 years, it is still a phenomenal movie. It covers motocross, hill climbs, hare and hounds and flat trackers, asking the question that still remains unanswered: “Why do they do it?” It stars Malcolm Smith, Mert Lawwill and Steve McQueen. It’s classic 1970s, right down to the sound track.
Really, if you haven’t seen it, you should. Go now, online or where ever you buy your movies and get it, and watch it. The list is done now, what else are you going to do with your night?
If you’re looking to build your moto-movie collection, it will never be complete without On Any Sunday.
Honourable Mentions: Too many to mention! Ones I would have put on this list if it were longer: Last Man Standing, Kick Start 1 and 2, Steel Roots 3, the TGO films I couldn't mention, the Bar to Bar series is good, Hell's Gate and all the other Throttle Films, A Warrior’s Code, the Motocross Files: Roger DeCoster, the other Nitro Circus and Terrafirma films, the rest of the Crusty Demons series and a dozen others.