Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kid in the Front Row Blogathon! ...sorta.

I'm supposed to be taking part in a blog-a-thon, put on by The Kid in the Front Row.  He mentioned it on his blog a while back, and I thought it sounded like fun, so I asked for the rules, via email.  This is what he said:

What I want everyone to do is read their favourite book from childhood, and then write about it. But please only join in if you have time to read it.

I want everyone to write about what it was like to read it again -- why did you/do you love it so much? Does it still resonate? How do you feel reading it? Do you have any new insights?

This isn't about writing a review or anything analytical, it's about reconnecting with your inner child by going back to your favourite book.

Fun!  Right?  I was pumped, I was ready.  Let's DO this!, I thought, the excitement of being part of something bigger than myself in the blog-o-verse running through my veins.  Then, I started thinking:  which book was my favorite as a child?  

...nothin'.  I got nothin'.  

It's not that I was a stupid kid.  I was actually very smart, even so smart as to qualify for the gifted program, GLEAM, in my elementary and middle school days.  I just wasn't a big leisure-reader.  

One of my first Catholic-guilt memories stemmed from my cheating at a summer reading contest sponsored by my city library.  Each week, Mom would take my sister and I to the library to check out as many books as we could hold, and we'd bring them home where I'd pretend to read them.  The librarian recorded the number of books we read, and by the end of the summer, whoever read the most books won some sort of prize.  I'm not sure I read a single one of those books, but I do remember placing in the top-five in that contest.  

No, books were never my thing.  Now, MOVIES--that's a different story.  My sisters, my best friend, and I would all watch the same movies over and over, including Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Dirty Dancing, Footloose, Heathers, and especially Rad.  

Therefore, instead of reading my favorite book from childhood, I'm watching my favorite movie:  Rad*.  Yeah, I'm breaking the rules, and Kid probably won't link to me because of it but, hey, I do what I want.  At least I get a blog post out of it, even if it's not the one I originally thought it would be.

So, Rad:

For those of you who don't know or have never seen it, Rad is the story of a BMX bike rider named Cru Jones.  Cru and his two friends are way into being gnarly BMX riders, and Cru dreams of becoming a professional one day.  He's so good that the whole town rallies around his riding, including his paper route patrons and the cop who chases him around the lumber yard for kicks:

Riding on a dumpster is clearly the quickest way to deliver USA Today.

Ride, Cru!  Ride!

In a twist of fate, a very important BMX race called "Helltrack" is being held in his hometown, allowing him the opportunity to compete and go pro.  Will Bart Conner and his Mongoose-sponsored teammates get in the way of Cru achieving greatness?  Will Christian, the only female pro-rider in the race, fall in love with him?  Oh, the drama!  Oh, the excitement!

I really enjoyed re-watching this movie.  I did so with my best friend from childhood who just happened to be in town at the time, which made it about ten times better.  It was bizarre how the film struck me as foreign and familiar at the same time.  While every frame of every shot was still imprinted on my brain, there were several elements to the movie that either went over my head or didn't occur to me when I was a child.  For example, Rex and Rod, twin Mongoose-sponsored riders, share a beautiful girlfriend whose name is Foxy.  No, seriously--that's her name.


The situation becomes uncomfortable to watch during a freaky dance number to "Music That You Can Dance To":

"Gimme five, bro!  We've got it all!  Mullets, futuristic jumpsuits, and half a girlfriend each!!"

Can we talk about Foxy for a minute?  I know I was seven or eight, and it was highly inappropriate, but I SO wanted to be her back then.  She looked outrageous in that zebra-striped unitard, and she really rocked that banana clip.  Lip gloss was a foreign concept to me at that age, so I was constantly licking my lips, trying to get them to look as impossibly shiny as Foxy's were.

The epitome of 80s glamour, right here.

So, yeah, the sexuality in this movie was a little jarring, watching it now as an adult and parent.  Another thing that struck me as funny was the use of stunt doubles.  Cru's love interest, Christian, is played by Lori Loughlin:

"I will win Cru over with my feathered hair and shoulder pads!"

But when she's bike dancing (oh yes--there is bike dancing!), she becomes a burly man in a bad wig:

"Or maybe I'll use my BMX skillz and my deep voice!"

They really couldn't find a girl rider to do her stunts?  Yikes.  Little things like that annoyed me now more than they did back when I was a kid--either because I didn't notice them then or I was just more able to suspend reality than I am now.  One or the other.  

One of my favorite things about re-watching this movie was that it turned out I remembered the words to all the songs.  Of course, back then I thought that one of them went "send me to Asia" when it was actually "send me an angel", but still--it was all in my brain.  In fact, I can't get these songs out of my head.  I just love 80s movie music.  Something about the catchy, tinniness of them all just leaves me wanting more.  This one especially sticks in my head: 

  ♫♪"They're dying to shake you...trying their best to break you!"♪ ♫

By the end of this movie, there WAS thunder in my heart!  I was right back in my living room in 1986, cheering for Cru to win the race and go pro.  

So thank you, Kid.  Even though I didn't actually do the assignment, and would have gotten an incomplete at best if this had been an actual college class, I really enjoyed completing my own version of your blog-a-thon post.  Maybe next time you can assign a poem to write and I can post a bunch of videos of songs from my childhood!  

...Oh, wait--I already did that.

* For any of you looking to find Rad on DVD, I am sorry to tell you that I cannot point you in the right direction.  The Hubby got a copy of it from a friend of his a while back, and that's where mine came from.  Sorry!  If you haven't already, though, take a moment and sign the petition to get Rad legitimately released on DVD.
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