Setting the mood for the big Harley weekend

By Medicine Hat News on May 25, 2017.

This weekend is the one we’ve been waiting for — Saturday is our “Rideaway Party” at Badlands Harley Davidson. You need an invitation to get in — but we’ve given out a bunch of those to our loyal ROCK listeners and it’s always fantastic to hang out with fellow S.E. Albertan rockers with some food and drink and awesome tunes. Oh yeah, and the little matter of giving away a Harley!

This got me thinking of setting the proper mood, the ideal mindset for all things motorbike. I’ll admit, although I used to ride as part of my daily life when living in Taiwan, it wasn’t exactly a mean machine onto which I was jumping to get to work. More like 50 cc’s of oil-spraying mediocrity. But that’s what everyone was riding over there so it didn’t carry the stigma that it might here. With that said, I’m thinking of slightly more powerful bikes on this list of some memorable and forgettable motorcycle movies:

“The Motorcycle Diaries” is the story of then-23-year-old Ernesto Guevara’s legendary bike trip from Argentina that, in a roundabout way, led to his being renamed Che, and becoming one of the world’s most famous revolutionaries.

Does “Easy Rider,” the late-’60s biker/hippie cult classic stand the test of time? It’s a fine screenshot of that era plus has legendary performances from Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, and Jack Nicholson. How can you go wrong?

Peter Fonda also stars in “The Wild Angels” — a far-less renowned and critically ho-hum motorcycle movie from the same decade. Weird, surreal, and nihilistic are some of the words used to describe it. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube.

From back even further in the vaults is Marlon Brando’s “The Wild One.” I saw this black and white early 1950s film late at night on a channel that doesn’t exist anymore. A biker club has a standoff with some rivals and of course the police get involved. Worth seeing just to say you saw it. Maybe.

OK, I’m just including “Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man” because of the title. Not exactly a critical masterpiece. But what says the early ’90s like Mickey Rourke as Harley Davidson and Don Johnson playing the one and only Marlboro Man? They star as a couple of bikers who hold up an armoured car to help save a buddy’s bar.

Others I haven’t seen (but really should) include Jack Nicholson’s “Hells Angels on Wheels,” “Electra Glide in Blue” (from 1973 about Harley-riding cops), and the 2011 racing documentary “Closer to the Edge.” Maybe some lazy Sunday viewing for this coming weekend.

Trapper John is program director and afternoon host on 105.3 ROCK. Don’t judge him because he used to ride a used scooter to work every day.


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Craig Ballantyne

I love anything to do with Harley Davidson and have two beautiful children and a beautiful partner. In my spare time i like building websites and love anything to do with the internet.

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