I, Eric Bass, love watching hooligan videos and I'm not afraid to admit it. There -- my political career is over, to hell with it. Then again, dressing up in day-glo spandex and a pink boa while rolling around a wrasslin' ring with sweaty, half-naked men on TV every week for twenty-odd years didn't stop Jesse Ventura from becoming Governor of Minnesota, so maybe my hat could still find its way into the gubernatorial ring someday. But within moto-cognoscenti circles, those who profess affection for stunt vids are looked upon with the kind of disdain typically reserved for a child-molesting priest. Unfortunately we don't have a tax-exempt, non-profit, Church of Hooliganism to shell out millions of "non-profited from" dollars to make people go away and leave us alone, so we're stuck defending ourselves.
So why, you might ask, would a 36 year old man with degrees in Psychology and Philosophy from George Washington University and a membership in MENSA squander his expensively educated and not insubstantial grey matter on the glorification of misogynist moto-pornography that simultaneously exploits and exalts pimple faced tyros with more balls than brains doing things that are illegal in all 50 states (and Puerto Rico) and stand a high likelihood of getting somebody maimed, killed or worse? Well, I suppose I might be overstating the case somewhat -- this stuff is probably legal in Puerto Rico. But I'm not trying to dodge the question here, and I'm going to give you a straight answer.It's simply because I'm human. And we humans, despite our elevated status as masters of the planet, diviners of the mysteries of the atom and the big bang, authors of great books, inventors of fantastic machines, and achievers of heroic feats, are captivated and motivated by nothing -- nothing more than the primal urge to get nekkid and rub our privates together. Don't believe me? Ask Jimmy Swaggert, Bill Clinton, Kobe Bryant -- I could go on. Which is merely to say that we really have very little control over what gives us pleasure or captivates our attention, and the only authentic choice we have in the matter is whether to suppress it or revel in it.
Granted, most of us have the good sense to suppress it (are you listening Kobe?) but for some reason we afford ourselves the moral loophole of watching others indulge themselves as a surrogate release of sorts. Hence all the sax and violins on TV, and the preponderance of saloon-style doors gracing the backrooms of video stores. So come down off that high horse ye who would be pompous pooh-poohers of the cinema verite that is the hooligan vid. Take off your codpiece and stay awhile. You know you love it. Find yourself a cozy spot on the divan and join me as I sautee my wetware in four non-stop hours of titillating moto-delinquency-- but before you do, can you make a munchy run to the kitchen and bring me some Sparks and pork rinds? Thanks Chauncey, you're a Bro'!10:00 PM: Well, this is it. The steel cage has been secured, the DVD is locked and loaded, and the Moron-athon has begun. First up is the great-great-grandson of the flick that some say started it all, "Crusty Demons of Dirt", now in it's eighth iteration as, "Crusty Demons: The Eighth Dimension". CD8 has some serious star power attached to the project in the form of high profile dirt studs like Mad Mike Jones, Cowboy Kenny Bartram, Tom Cat Clowers, Travis "360" Pastrana, and of course Mike "The Godfather" Metzger among others. This sort of begs the question of whether you can still be considered a hooligan if you also own a house and make more money than your parents, but I'll leave that to the reader feedback section to debate and discuss.
Tunes: Standard issue neo-metal such as Rob Zombie, Lords of Acid, and Saliva. Some goof-punk from Butthole Surfers and Dead Kennedys. As Ashley would say, if you like angry music, it has really good angry music -- if you like angry music. Score: 5Babes: They're in there but just enough to tease. A few brief "one punch" cat-fight scenes, that's about it. Where's the love, CD8? A stunt flick without T&A is like -- is like -- is like anything without T&A, it needs more T&A! Score : 3
Production Values: Very high production values with lots of helmet cams, helicopter shots, MTV-style editing, and exotic locales. Bonus features such as cutting room floor clips and director's comments running over the length of the film. Sort of like hanging out with the film makers in the screening room, which is kinda neat even if they are moronic film makers. There was obviously more capital involved in this project than just what the featured stunters could steal from their Momma's purse. CD8 delivers the secret sauce on the hooligan tamale. Score: 8
Comic Relief: Goofiness aplenty a la Jackass. Juvenile delinquents acting stupid without seeming to have to act. The Dalai Lama and Elvis rob a casino. Dirtbike sheep herding. Mini-bike mayhem. The one comedy classic moment comes when this fool face plants after trying to abort a dirt jump. His PO'ed wife then shows up at the hospital, gets a peep at his chewed up face, and demands to know why he wasn't wearing a helmet, to which his buddy half-assedly covers for him by remarking that he had, "taken it off briefly to be cleaned". Score: 8
Carnage: Lots of aborted landings and some that should have been. The brief streetbike section features a poor knucklehead that loses it while wheelieing down a car-infested freeway and throws a high-side with a half-twist that musta scared the bejeezus out of the cagers all around him. Overall though, nothing too cringe-worthy. Score: 6
Stunts: All the MotoX Freestyle you can choke down, both in contests and out in the desert and other scenic locales. A nice mix of other vehicles as well, but for the most part nothing you haven't seen. I dug it, but I already knew the name of every move I saw. Score: 6
Summary: A hooligan video in the broadest sense, CD8 isn't limited to motorcycle mayhem. Guest appearances are made by snowmobiles, four wheeler baja badness, land launching jet skis, even a highsiding golf cart. But the focus is on Freestyle MotoX and the kamikazes that pilot their dirtbikes on suicide missions for our vicarious pleasure. A sense of fun and frolic pervades the film and there is no real hard-ass bravado to be found. Unfortunately the "Holy Crap, you gotta rewind that!" factor is sorely missing and despite recently winning an award at the X-Dance Film Festival, CD8 just comes off as a little too PG for my bitter and jaded sensibilities. Not bad as a Xmas stocking stuffer for your 8-18 year old. Add a point if you're looking for a Jackass style, feel-good, party video. Deduct a point if you're all about ultra-carnage or blow-your-mind level stunting. Score: 7
11:15 PM: "Underground Riders Volume 1" takes the stage as the New Jersey naughty boys bring a change of attitude to a more urban hip-hop flavor. I'm an East Coaster by birth, and so I'm curious to see what's happenin' back home on the mean streets. The DVD spins, the beats start bopping, Chauncey tries to escape but I've hidden his codpiece and won't let him have it back until the fat lady sings. "Make yourself useful and see if Dominoes still delivers, ya' prissy foo!".
Tunes: Rap and Hip-Hop from anonymous hoodlums. A bonus point for having their own rap theme songs about stunting. I wish I had a theme song written about me. Then I could get a Goldwing and pump it through the speakers while I do stoppies for the adoring middle-American housewives at the Honda Hoot. Wubbida, wubbida, wubbida! Score: 4
Babes: A ghetto-liscious booty shaking contest that had great potential if the booties in question weren't twice the size of mine. Granted there are those that worship at the alter of the double bubble so I'll leave it to y'all to decide if that's the flava ya sava, but it was making me burp pork rinds. Score: 2
Page 2Production Values: Home movie stuff. Date and time signatures. No bonus features. Where's the secret sauce, fellahs? You didn't dig deep enough into Momma's purse! Score: 1
Comic Relief: There's a shot of a drunk homie ralphing on the street in South Beach, and the aforementioned ambulance scene was worth a chuckle if it wasn't such a sad but true commentary on the cheapness of life on the mean streets. But "goofy" just isn't in the UR vocabulary. Score: 2
Carnage: One endo that leaves a dude laid out with his bike flat on top of him. In the final scene, a fella loses it wearing nothing but shorts and tennies and winds up strapped on a backboard in an ambulance that won't start, and needs a jump from the NYFD. A nice final flurry at the bell to save them from a "1", but these guys really need to crash more. Score: 3
Stunts: Lots of de rigeur stand up wheelies. A nac-nac wheelie, plenty of Christs, rolling burnouts, but nothing exceptional. Maybe if I had never seen a stunt vid before, but it's too late for that now. It pains me to say it, but this video never shifts out of first gear when it comes to degree of difficulty. What happened to my East Coasters! You gotta come stronger than this if you wanna bring your DVD into my house! Score: 2
Summary: I can't recommend this video strongly enough to any distant relative or close personal friend of the riders featured. Otherwise, put down the homegrown stunter flick and back slowly away from the DVD player, playah. Long on "niggaz" and "yo yo yoz" and short on pretty much everything else. An amateur hour that only a mutha could love. Score: 2
12:30 midnight-ish: The witching hour strikes and I'm diving back into the Jersey muck with "Underground Riders Volume 2". I'm kinda cringing at the thought of popping in more UR on top of the last steaming pile but hey, I'm a professional and so I'm gonna suck it up and do what I gotta do. So let's see if the Jerzey boyz can raise their game the second time around, or if their shizzle winds up in a flaming wad of nizzle jizzle hizzle skizzle. Was that too much "izzle"? I sounded white again didn't I? Damn! Oh well, Chauncey pass the mayo, would ya'. This turkey on Wonder Bread sandwich is kinda dry.
Tunes: Mo' rap, mo' hip-hop, maybe this your bag, maybe it isn't. Adjust score accordingly. Score: 4
Babes: The booties are still shakin' but the quality level is up a few notches this time around and there's some bike wash action. So I have to give up another point. I don't know where UR2 found these ladies, but they put the "ghetto" in "ghetto-liscious". Unfortunately they forgot to put the "liscious" part in. Score: 3
Production Values: Some rewind shots this time, and the date/time signatures have been cleaned out. Movin' on up but still in the low rent district. Score: 3
Comic Relief: Not even a puking fool on the side of the street. Score: 1
Carnage: One dude knocks himself the fork out high siding on a rolling burnout. Post-dump motorcycle dogpiles that show unfortunate, irresponsible and reprehensible disrespect for the brand (wink, wink JB). Thaz about it. Score: 2
Stunts: Synchronized stunting and 12 o'clock variations, tank handstands, more skeelz, more variety. UR came up in the world this time out but they were starting from soooo far down. Keep it comin' guys, I honestly can't wait to see UR9: Attack of the Clones--. yes, I can. Score: 4
Summary: A big improvement over UR1 but not that big. It's viable, watchable stuff this time out but the lack of variety in terms of riders, stunts and styles left me cold. So did the East Coast footage. Maybe if these dogs rolled West where we have 365 good riding days per year, their skeelz would rise up faster. If you're a hip-hop kinda head, you can throw an extra point at it, but otherwise, UR2 ain't for you.
Score: 4 (that's' 30% bettah than the last one)
2:00 AM: "Judgment Day 2: Total Domination" and now well into day 2 of the Moron-athon. After the profoundly underwhelming entertainment value of UR1&2, I am left questioning my previously unquestionable devotion to the genre. Despite consuming my third caffeine, guarine, taurine, and ephedrine-laden Sparks malt beverage, I want to sleep. And that sucks. But JD1 holds the title of my favorite sick flick to date, and I have saved JD2 for the anchor leg in hopes of being exposed to new heights of moto-lunacy. Save me JD2. I'm fading fast. Chauncey, maybe a Red Bull and vodka this time, and can you stick a few of those Nicoderm patches on me for good measure?
Tunes: Neo-metal and rap, DMX, Disturbed, ACDC. It's really good angry --oh, you know the drill. Score: 5
Babes: A hair-pulling fight, wet T-shirts, and plenty o' bikini and thong shots. Good distribution throughout the vid and if that ain't enough they get their own section of extended exposure in the bonus footage . About as much T&A as you can stuff into a hooligan vid without crossing over into "Girls Gone Wild" territory. Score: 9
Production Values: Excellent editing with a variety of video effects and fades that synced up nicely with the soundtrack. Bonus footage that includes extended coverage of crash aftermaths. Oh and the aforementioned, "nuthin but the babes" section. Score: 7
Comic Relief: A bro with a wad of traffic citations in hand recounting his countless violations of the local penal codes. A tandem wheelie with Rover the Hooligan Hound standing on the pillion with his front paws on master's shoulders. A stunter who tries to do CPR on his dropped ride. Good for a snicker or two. Score: 5
Carnage: All manner of slow-speed dumps and ghost rides. A few high speed abominations that you can feel through the TV. And then there is the JD tradition. The end-of-flick wipe out session. Cartwheeling bikes shedding plastic like shrapnel, endos that end badly, an intersection T-bone that was just this side of "Faces of Death", a game of bowling-for-bystanders that takes out another fool and his bike. Now I'm awake! Score: 9
Stunts: Doctoral thesis level stuntology everywhere you look. Better make sure your rewind and slow-mo buttons are well lubed. Backwards-facing tank-seated stoppies, push ups with feet on the bars and hands on the tailsection, tandem endos, a passenger/rider switcheroo, bunny-hop Christs from tail to tank, tandem stoppies with bra-clad girlies hanging backwards over the bars, a passenger backflip off the pillion. Then there is "The Ghost Rider", a black-clad kamikaze who tears through the heavily trafficked streets of Stockholm Sweden at indicated speeds of 250 to 300 kph with a recklessness unseen in any scripted Hollywood chase scene. I thought I had seen it all, but I have been enlightened. Thank you Sir, may I have another?! Score: 9
Summary: JD2 brings the noise with a wide variety of skills and styles. Multiple segments of some of the best crews in the world representin' their home asphalt keeps things fresh and progressive. Innovative tricks. Tons of wipeouts. Only the cream made the JD2 cut. There's always room for improvement but this was some chronic sheet mang! If you've only got one slot left on your Xmas list, slide JD2 in there. And remember, don't try this stuff at home --.go out in the street instead. Score: 8
3:00 AM: The -- Moron-athon --is --.over. There are no stunts left to behold, no carnage left to gawk at, no T&A left to drool over. The curtain has drawn closed and Elvis and his chronies have left the building. Even the Sparks, Red Bull, vodka, pork rinds, pizza, and turkey on white bread sandwiches have been decimated. My manifest destiny has been fulfilled. I have entered the dark maw of moto-pornography, traveled down the gullet, through the intestines large and small, and been passed like a 215 lb stone out the -- well, let's just end the analogy there. I have borne witness to the good, the bad, and the horribly ugly-- and loved every minute of it. Chauncey, wake up, you're free to go now. And don't forget your codpiece on the way out.