By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Patient: Extreme Days
Profile: Ostensible action sports/Christian message movie that begins fresh but descends into formulaic love story with intermittent hi- to middling-jinks. Think Endless Summer meets Jackass meets Beach Blanket Bingo meets Davey and Goliath.
Symptoms: There's a lot to appreciate about this film—the resourcefulness needed to get it made (much of the movie is shot on video), the virtuosity of the athletes (skaters, surfer, boarders, bikers), the Christian message that doesn't hit you over the head, the young characters who aren't angst-driven or tragically hip. Unfortunately, the filmmakers get so caught up in trying to look like a real movie that they get away from what is initially novel about their movie. Soon enough, we're getting less and less action and more he loves her/she hates him but really digs him crap. I expect Extreme Dayswas supposed to make me think about God—or skating—but I confess that after a while, I could only think of porn in that there wasn't nearly as much action shown as had been promised and because the action shown was many times out of focus and didn't have enough exceptionally hot/tall lesbos with well-defined calves. (Coincidentally, this was also my criticism of On Golden Blonde and Gandhi.)
Diagnosis: Too little action and an appalling lack of exceptionally hot/tall lesbos. Where's your Messiah now?
Prescription: If you want to make an action movie, make an action movie. And if you're going to make an action movie, make sure we can see the action, Leeuwenhoek. If a guy is doing some amazing feat, I would like to see and appreciate that, not your cameraman's homage to Zapruder. After a while, it was hard to tell whether your cinematographer was prone to artistic flourishes or seizures.
Now, about the story. Instead of breaking into it every 15 minutes with two to three minutes of canned action footage that seems lifted from a Wahoo's commercial (Wahoo's owner Wing Lam is actually quoted in the Extreme Days ad; hmmm . . .), lose the love story. Let the boys be on the road and meet up with other extremely minded people in a series of 10- to 15-minute vignettes in which they not only get all extreme but also take part in a self-contained parable that has the boys learning a valuable lesson about charity or shaming.