What does an alien, a Hollywood “It-Guy” and lovers in the idyllic French countryside have in common? Well, in addition to any host of things you could imagine, they all rode bikes in movies.
It’s difficult to think about E.T. without picturing the loveable creature and his human pal on a moonlit bike ride through the sky. Indeed, this climatic scene resonated with audiences and the magical powers of the two-wheeler was forever captured in film history.
Video source: DuXebreu, YouTube, Jan. 15, 2008.
Full disclosure: I haven’t seen this movie yet.
I heard the lead actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, talking about the physical challenges of filming a movie where almost every scene (including the semi-romantic conversations with his girlfriend at the beginning of the flick) involves riding a bike.
You can listen to him describe, via the Dinner Party Download podcast #163, how he was pitched Premium Rush while he was filming 50/50, a movie about a young guy who is diagnosed with cancer. There was an appeal, he says, to go from playing a guy whose body is failing to a dude who trusts and thrusts his body in amazing ways.
Video source: Sony Pictures, YouTube, Sept. 15, 2011.
This film really captured my heart. It’s a love story that traverses time and bears witness to the intensity of a first love affair. Without sufficient closure, the rawness of the emotion the characters have for one another is barely contained when their paths unexpectedly cross again. Despite years having passed, they are catapulted right back to their last time together and this makes for a beautiful tension between the ghosts of who they were and the people they are now; people who have commitments to others.
Watching the characters bike around the French countryside in summer was thrilling. I could feel the wind on my skin and the sun kissing my cheeks as I followed them along paths and bridges to swimming holes and an old cottage. As I saw one of the protagonists moving about his town, deftly navigating the curves and crossings he knows so well, I was reminded of biking around the town I called home for awhile in southern Germany.
Video source: triviatrailers, YouTube, Apr. 15, 2012.
These are the first three films that came to my mind when I thought of movies that showcased bicycling. What are yours?