So there I was, sitting at my desk reading about IF3, getting super stoked cuz I know I could go. I had just watched Iberg's revolutionary 'Idea', and the undoubtedly dope 'Thanks Tanner,' and even 4bi9's documentation of Wallish illness, and then it happened. Bing! My fax machine blasts out a fax from VAS. "We're sending you a complementary copy of 'Thanks Brain.'" I'm like what? Thanks Brain? What the hell is that? A few days later a little package shows up on my desk. Its the DVD, as promised. And of course, the mystery soon explained itself: it was a snowboarding movie!
Ah. Snowboarding. That strange and unique bastard child of skiing. Why was VAS bothering me with this? They know I order heavy on my ski films, after all Im a skier myself, of course. But then I thought about how I just picked up snowboarding. And of all my snowboarding friends and how retardely awesome they are. Snowboarders are like those little stupid dogs that have absolutley no purpose but you still love them cuz they always manage to make you smile. I guess that makes snowboarding films like little happy dogshows.
So I popped in 'Thanks Brain' by 'Think Thank' a production company I know nothing about featuring a roster of athletes who I couldn't pick out in line at Albertsons. What happening next was surprising and refreshing: I was shocked! Amazed! Here comes snowboarding, a sport I can barely even do, here to wow my pants off yet again.
Ive seen just about every ski movie. Ive seen a lot of snowboarding movies. And what happens every time: snowboarding finds a way to continually outdo itself. And Im not talking outdoing itself like showing more progressive tricks on more progressive features in more exotic locations (which is where a lot of ski movies are trapped, I feel). Im talking kids, fucking eighth graders for all I know, doing basic shit I would never have thought of in their backyard, blowing me away with cinematic and kinetic creativity. The best shit I see in ski movies is JOI footage type stuff. Or Morrison killing it. And thats all fine and dandy, but when it comes to action as art, and the documentation of that action as art, snowboarding wins every single time.
Have you seen IR77? Its a docu-action thematic snowcinema montage of pure quality. If Criterion picked up an action sports movie IR77 would be it. The movie moves from fall to winter to spring documenting the raw elements that, when combined, result in what we would label as 'snowboarding.' These elements include the stories, the motivation, the pain, the reward, all documented creativley: 8mm film, little soundbits, non-digital animation, all juxtaposed together to form something actually worth calling 'art.' There's some advanced trickery and knarly line dropping, but thats not what gives the movie its life. Its the creativity! The emotion! The vibe! Thats what really engages and inspires the viewer. You know how thug kids get really stoked on MFM videos, baggy chains, rap music, and gun noises? None of those things are tricks you do on skis or a board. They are cultural things, creative things, image things, that instill a feeling and vibe inside each thug, inspiring him to get out, ride, and whatnot. This is what good snowboard film is like for me. It vibes me hard, in a good way. And like I said: I can barely ride. We're talkin, like, blue squares and lots of falls.
So back to 'Thanks Brain.' It did all of the things I just talked about. Sure there were some cool tricks. But most of the shit was creative! And it was shot in an interesting way. Not just 'theres a big feature so pan out.' It was more than this. The kids in it did a hell of a job. They thought of a lot of really funny, crazy, cool shit. Ride your board unstrapped, climb a jungle gym while the board slides underneath it, then jump off the jungle gym onto the board and ride it out: check. Jib the tops of twelve traffic cones in a row: check. Etc etc. These kids are ape! And the filming was just as good. On par. Well composed. Interesting shots. Good use of stills. Nice effects. Really cool, unique soundtracks.
I think the only people in skiing who are coming close to this are Iberg and Berman. Teddy Bear Crisis kind of went for it. Plehouse does it in a weird french way but for some reason a lot of their shots are kind of crappy (no dis, sorry plehouse). I thought God Save The Robots was gonna pull it off but that shit never dropped. Wicked was pretty damn close.
No matter how big IF3 is (and Ill be there to find out), no matter how much fame and glory and money ski movies make this season, no matter how hyped you or I or anyone is on anything to do with ski film, one fact will remain: snowboard films will be better.
Rant over. Peep the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5V3ktFZNdg