A generation of obese kids with poor social skills.
As well documented over at Not in the Kitchen Anymore, the online gaming experience can be pretty abusive if you are a woman. A lot of this comes from the growing numbers of angry little boys playing Xbox (and Call of Duty in particular) these days. Aside from the crazy loco levels of bigotry expressed by these angry little gamers, we know that many of them are obese and that all this sitting down they are doing is likely to result in them having short, angry, little lives.
Unfortunately these angry little boys are going to go through a phase of being in charge of the planet at some point – do you want someone like this running the place? Even worse, these angry little boys are going to be responsible for the movies that get made, which means that we’ll just end up with more lame-ass movies like Battleship, aka Old Men Striking a Pose on a Battleship (skip to the 1:00 mark for their appearance).
So what went wrong? We took the BMX out of kids movies!
Back in the 80’s the BMX bike was rad. As a plot device, the family home was a place of safety, but also of paternalistic surveillance and control. The BMX bike on the other hand was the vehicle by which the kids could escape the safety of the home to be more independent, more adventurous, take risks and make mistakes. You can’t learn anything without making mistakes, you can’t learn not to be a rage-quitting angry little boy on Xbox without facing adversity and learning how to deal with it.
Egged on by sensationalist media, we have increasingly looked at the outside world as a place to be feared, full of terrorists, child molesterers, bikie gangs and crazy Justin Beiber fans. Our response has been to lock ourselves – and our younglings – away from the world. We’ve denied ourselves our own BMX moment- that’s the part of the movie where we gather our own personal Scooby Gang, get on a bike and go out and find some aliens/demons/bank robbers to do battle with.
As a result, we’ve also denied ourselves and a whole generation of younglings the opportunity to have totally awesome Facebook status updates. Instead we just end up with self-centred (and boring) crap.
So for the sake of the children, and your Facebook popularity, here are three classic movies from the 80’s with BMX bikes and the lessons we can all learn from them.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Kids on bikes stick’in it to the man.
A lonely boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) finds an alien in his backyard tool shed. Along with his siblings and some new friends, he helps keep the alien a secret from the government long enough for the alien to get a lift back to his home planet.
How BMX saves the day
Essentially if it weren’t for the kids bikes, ET would have ended up being on an autopsy bench. First of all, he gets snuck out of the house on Halloween to “phone home” dressed as a ghost. Later on when they need to escape those dastardly government agents, ET ads a little alien-mojo to all the kid’s bikes so they can all just fly off into the safety of the nearby forest.
Former lonely-boy Elliott not only ends up with friends (there’s nothing like being on the run from some government agents to create a social bonding experience), but he also ends up with an interstellar pen friend in the form of ET.
The bikes in this film are symbolic of the kids to breaking free of parental control, both their biological parents and the paternalistic oversight of an over-active government that tries to manage the situation in everyone’s interest but really just screw things up.
Better Off Dead: Turn your life around for just $2.00!
High school kid Lane Myer (John Cusack) gets dumped by his girlfriend for the captain of the high school ski team. He takes it rather badly and spends much of the movie moping around being slightly suicidal while trying win her back.
He is assisted in his journey the French exchange student across the street, Monique (Diane Franklin). He ultimately proves he “really is the best” to his ex by racing the ski captain down a mountain on one ski while being chased by a paper boy, also on skis. By the end of it he realises that Monique is heaps cooler (she’s a French expert-skiing mechanic after all) and he goes off with her instead. Oh he also gets a Camaro.
How BMX saves the day
This one is a little less obvious since Lane spends most of the movie crashing one car, then at the end drives off in a Camaro. However, paperboy Johnny Gasparini (Demian Slade) spends almost the entire movie on his bike egging him on to stop being such a drama queen and move on with his life.
Every point of the movie where Lane needs a bit of a motivational boost, Johnny is there to chase him through the park after his $2. This ultimately results in Lane finally facing his fears and heading down that K12 ski slope on one-ski ride to greatness.
So effectively, Lane would never have gotten his crap together, got the girl, got the kudos and got the Camero, if it weren’t for a kid on a BMX bike.
BMX Bandits: Fight crime with BMX and flour bombs and foam
PJ (Angelo D’Angelo) and Goose (James Lugton) are two kids who also happen to be BMX experts. They meet Judy (Nicole Kidman) who is saving up for a BMX bike of her own. They come across a box of stolen police-band walkie-talkies which they attempt to sell until the bank robbers who stole them in the first place come looking for them and need them to… well rob stuff…
The three “BMX Bandits” get chased around by the bank robbers, but evade them on their BMX bikes, including riding down a waterslide… on their BMX bikes. This culminates in the three of them recruiting a few hundred local kids, on BMX bikes, to ride around the bank robbers and throw flour bombs them like its 1983 (flour bombs were totally the in thing in the 80s).
The end result is the bad guys go to jail and Judy has a BMX bike.
How BMX saves the day
Well basically this whole movie is about how BMX saves the day.
While some might say this movie is essentially a clip fest of BMX bike tricks, this is also a movie about kids being industrious in the face of adversity.
Judy wants a BMX bike – she doesn’t ask her parents for one, she gets a job as a trolley collector at the Warringah Mall to save up the money for herself. When PJ and Goose accidentally get Judy fired from her job, they go out into Sydney Harbour and search for cockels to sell – only in 1983 would kids go looking for clams in Sydney Harbour to make a quick buck… When they find a stash of stolen police band walkie talkies, they get all entrepreneurial and start selling them for money.
These are clearly kids who know what they want and are motivated enough to go out and get it – on BMX bikes!
Plus their bikes totally make a wooshy noise whenever they do stuff that you just don’t get these days…
Think of the children!
Hollywood isn’t going to put the BMX back into kid’s film, so we have to take inspiration from the BMX Bandits of yesteryear and do something about it ourselves!
Step 1: Buy everyone you know a copy of BMX Bandits for Christmas
If you are Australian, think of it as also being your patriotic duty to remind the world of what Nicole Kidman was like before she was contaminated by Tom Cruise and plastic surgery.
Step 2: Chase after any emos or the emotionally draining on a BMX bike and yell out “I want my two dollars!” a lot
Even better is if you do this to children so they learn at an early age the benefits of exercise and hard work. I would suggest you only chase around your own children, or those that you are related to since chasing around kids you don’t know might get your arrested. You might even get $2 out of this step.
Step 3: Explain the importance of being nice to aliens
We’re all going to be pretty pissed off if ET comes looking for revenge because one of his mates was stranded on Earth and some snotty brat let him starve to death in the tool shed because he was too busy sprouting sexist abuse on Call of Duty.