Yesterday evening The Wife and I had the chance to attend a screening of the documentary Ride the Divide in a small opera house in Geneva, NY. The film follows, or attempts to follow, the journey of three endurance mountain bikers as they race along the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains, from Canada to Mexico. To get the stats out of the way: the whole race is over 2700 miles, the total elevation gain across the course is 200,000 vertical feet (which is often compared to climbing from sea level to the top of Mount Everest 7 times), there have been less than 100 individuals that have attempted the feat, less than 40 have been successful.
Despite some technical difficulties with the actual projection of the film, the evening was quite enjoyable. The screening was arranged by the Geneva Bicycle Center, (where I purchased my Fisher 29er a few years ago), and a raffle was held to distribute prizes ranging from energy bars, to waived race registration fees, and ultimately a full bike frame and set of racing rims provided by various sponsors. The atmosphere was informal and resembled closely the attitude of the local mountain biking culture here in the Finger Lakes.
As for the film itself, personally I think its biggest advantage was that it didn’t take itself too seriously. The film makers were acutely aware of their audience and designed the film to cater specifically to dirt riding enthusiasts. By that I mean they didn’t shy away from including elements in the film which may, if screened by a more critical audience, give the impression the creators are a bit less than professional. One example occurs during the early part of the film when the film crew was caught in traffic in the starting city and actually missed the start of the race. It took the crew a few days to catch up with the leaders, but along the way the discovered some interesting places and interesting people, which ultimately strengthened the film.
Of course, as movies like this have a tendency to do, I felt the spark of adventure calling me to some epic cross-country endurance rides. While I don’t quite feel the tug to subject my body to such a grueling trial of the human spirit, I would very much love to travel out west and tour around for several days observing natures beauty with a few good friends. I have such friends. My brother lives in Park City, Utah and another is attending graduate school in Tuscon, Arizona. And although I have yet to scrap together the necessary resources and timing to visit either of them, there will be such a time when the journey is possible and we will complete some epic rides. But definitely not climb Mount Everest 7 times!
If you are interested in finding a screening or purchasing the film you can visit the Ride the Divide website HERE.
Filed under Bikes, Movies
After another long week at the office and a weekend spent progressing on the bathroom I am going to ease into this Monday afternoon with a quick movie review. My wife and I went on a much-needed “date night.” Which means simply that even though we do things together all the time we occasionally need to dip into the cliché and formally label a specific night’s activities as a “date.” So Friday night we went to a dinner and a movie.
While we were deciding which movie to see I mentally referenced several of the movie reviews I have heard during the past few weeks and decided on Megamind 3D. I had yet to see an animated movie using the latest iteration of 3D technology in theaters so I thought this would be a nice opportunity. My wife was less impressed. (For her there is no animated film after Finding Nemo) One of my concerns with the mainstream resurgence of 3-Dimensional movie making is that in a desperate attempt at jumping on the bandwagon and snagging some of the higher ticket prices films will begin tending towards a Walt Disney World-esque, interactive film experience with water shooting out of the screen into the audience and plentiful jump-scares for the sake of showcasing the 3D effects. Occasional gimmicks like this are acceptable, but I would rather a film is solid on its own merits before utilizing 3D to enhance the experience.
Fortunately, I don’t think Megamind 3D tried to hard to showcase the 3-dimensional aspects. I did appreciate that the animators were very conscious of the depth-of-field when framing the scenes in the film, as often there are objects in the foreground of the shots, like a lamp on a desk or a piece of equipment along the wall. These type of subtle effects are what enhances the movie for me, and although I did not feel this was quite on the same level as Finding Nemo for example, I did enjoy the humor it presented. This movie was obviously marketed as a children’s movie, a fact made more obvious when we ran into my toddler cousins in the theater, but there were many references made to older culture. By far my favorite, and one I was caught laughing out loud to (by myself), was a blatant representation of 1980′s Mario jumping from level to level up sloped ramps attempting to again rescue the princess while Donkey Kong sent an unending supply of wooden barrels down the sloped ramps. Again my wife wasn’t as impressed, but I never claimed to be an excellent source of critical movie reviews anyway.
For dinner we revisited Peppers in Canandaigua curious to understand the numerous positive reviews we had received from friends. This recent trip was on par with our previous one and we were not quite as impressed as other had apparently been. I am still curious though. My theory is that it is a relatively new local restaurant featuring popular American food in a town that is increasingly becoming populated by branded chain restaurants and in my experience people tend to congregate around people, (or restaurants) they want to succeed. Perhaps I am missing something though. So if any of you local readers have been there and have especially enjoyed it let us know. Maybe I just haven’t tried the right dish yet.