February 2012

“The Wild One” Movie Review: Rebellion, Freedom and Jive Talkin’

I’ve learned if you’re into motorcycles at all, the name of this movie, “The Wild One”, will come up again and again, though if you’re looking for an edgy biker film, this quaint ‘50s tale isn’t likely to hold up against the current idea of an outlaw biker gang depicted in shows like “Sons of Anarchy”. That said, it was a controversial film when it premiered in 1953 and was actually banned in England for a number of years. The mystique of the outlaw biker and the iconic black motorcycle jacket are just two of the ways the movie is still influencing motorcycle culture. Since the flick first came out, the image of the rebel biker, epitomized by Marlon Brando’s character Johnny Strabler, has been imitated, parodied, and homaged in everything from Nickelodeon cartoons to the latest installment of the Indiana Jones franchise. With so many references and people talking about this movie, it was time to Netflix it and see what all the hoopla was for.

Despite the racy title, to modern movie audiences the main character, Johnny, will probably come off as less than wild, unless, of course, you’re referring to his talent for riding a motorcycle at highway speeds without losing his signature floppy cap. My theory is he wasn’t so rebellious, just cranky from his hat being on too tight.

The plot, loosely based on an actual incident of motorcycle enthusiasts invading the town of Hollister, Calif. in 1947, takes place in the fictional town of Wrightsville, a sleepy community that looks like the set of a wild west movie. Johnny’s motorcycle gang of around 40 members, The Black Rebels Motorcycle Club, rides into town after causing trouble and stealing the second place trophy at a motorcycle track race the next town over.

Marlon Brando sporting his oft copied biker jacket and cap from "The Wild One".

American Chopper Feb. 13, 2012 “Season 3 Premiere”

This week on American Chopper Donald Trump orders up a custom motorcycle. . . no, for real!

The next build is the Donald Trump Chopper.  Let construction of the 24 carat solid gold bike begin! Okay, to build a 700 pound motorcycle with gold trading at about $1,700 per ounce works out to a budget of around $19 million dollars. . .that will look great in his NYC penthouse apartment (Tower Heist anyone?).

I’m thinking the bike also needs a giant blonde mane flowing down the gas tank. So, the Donald likes length huh?  Imagine that. I suspect somebody’s compensating.  Donald also likes the concept of gold.  You don’t say.  Maybe parking that bike in the lobby of your Atlantic City Casino will bring in customers and can be used as collateral in your next bankruptcy filing.  Sorry, Donald, but as you say, it’s not personal it’s business.

But before all of that Senior takes a moment to think about some of the things he felt following the live unveil.  ”Paulie built a nice bike I thought.  Nice workmanship but the only thing I didn’t like is that it had no line to it.  If you take away all the workmanship I didn’t really like Paulie’s bike.  But I really liked Jessie’s bike because of the workmanship.”  Really, Senior?  It took you awhile to think of that?  I guess workmanship is an art except when it’s made by your own son.

Meanwhile Jr. celebrates in his shop (after much celebrating in Vegas) and then immediately starts building a bike for a client in Poland for Paul Jr.’s first international client.  In all seriousness for a minute. . . Yes, this is exactly what American manufacturing needs, MORE EXPORTS!!! America needs to be a nation that makes something again.  We need more of this.  I support buying American, and if you’re a patriotic American like me then you should too.

American Chopper Feb. 20 “The Apprentice Bike”

This week on American Chopper Paul Jr. builds a bike for OCC.  No, not Orange County Choppers. This bike was for a company called One Call Concepts. Oh, the irony.

What is One Call Concepts? They’re the call-before-you-dig people, and their slogan is “When safety is on the line.”  Who better to represent that brand message than the Tuetul family, who are known to hit each other in the head with shovels and other flying objects.

Jr.’s plan is to “integrate everything that has to do with digging” onto the bike.  Here’s where the cake decorator criticism comes into play.  Shovel heads and pickaxes are randomly placed throughout.  At least the shovel seat idea was abandoned as too uncomfortable, even though nobody will actually ride this bike.

Meanwhile, the real OCC is finishing up the Donald Trump bike while Sr. is away filming the Celebrity Apprentice.  Rick says it’s hard not having Paul around to yell at him and complain.  I know I hate it when my boss is out of the office too, Rick.  Then Sr. makes a call, and the OCC biker gang assembles.  They dust off charity bikes built for the New York Jets, Giants, Firefighters, POW/MIA. . .but I’ve got to ask myself, why are all those charity bikes still around?  Weren’t they supposed to give them to charity?

And of course there’s more family drama on the show this week. Sometimes I think there are more therapy sessions in the kitchen than scenes building motorcycles.  Mikey didn’t say “hi” to Sr. and the two sides “conveniently” missed each other at the wake, and I was like “oh no he didn’t, girlfriend!”  The guys on OCC are starting to remind me a lot of the spoiled teenagers on the OC only with more tattoos.

How to Decide on the Best Motorcycle Helmet for You

Motorcycle helmets are a top controversial topic among riders. Some see them as life savers while others see them as hindering their experience of the open road. Depending on what state you ride in (or will be riding through), wearing a helmet may be less of a choice and more of a legal requirement.

Half Helmet with Skull Flame Design

Half Helmet with Skull Flame Design

American Chopper Feb. 27 “Operation Reconciliation”

This week on American Chopper OCC builds an American eagle out of aluminum, Jr. finishes the One Call Concepts bike, and Mikey donates some of his weight to a four-year-old with leukemia.

The show starts when OCC gets commissioned by Wall Side Windows to build a bike for Veterans Airlift Command (VAC) in honor of our nations' wounded veterans. If you were wondering, the VAC provides free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes.

Inspired by the theme of flying, Jason draws up a screaming eagle complete with a headlight recessed inside an open beak and realistic 3-D talons running down the forks. After cutting the talons out of a 3-inch-thick billet of aluminum at 30 pounds each, Jim "engineered" them on the CNC mill down to only 12. That's still hefty for a motorcycle, and this would never work in mass production where these parts would be cast instead.

Speaking of pounds Mikey is losing weight to raise money for a four-year-old with leukemia named Will. Also participating with Mikey is the Mayor of Montgomery, Steve Brescia, who was dressed in his finest Under Armour for his TV appearance. Mikey and Steve top the scales at 350 lbs. and 222 lbs. respectively. Personally, I'd like to see them wrestle since they're both super heavyweights.

Meanwhile Jr. is back in his shop finishing up the One Call Concepts bike and eating chocolate donuts. Apparently he won't be joining his brother in losing weight for charity. The finished bike is super low, and even Mini-Me, Verne Troyer, probably wouldn't have trouble throwing his leg over the seat. I like the 811 racing theme especially with the start of NASCAR this week and the Daytona 500. And Daytona Bike Week is coming up soon too. All the digging tools cleaned up nicely once painted and chromed. I almost didn't recognize them from a distance.