The story of Frank P. DeLarzelere III aka Biker Fox, Tulsa, Oklahoma's misunderstood motivational bicyclist, nature conservationist and muscle car guru. Part-documentary and part-self-help ...
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The story of Frank P. DeLarzelere III aka Biker Fox, Tulsa, Oklahoma's misunderstood motivational bicyclist, nature conservationist and muscle car guru. Part-documentary and part-self-help testimonial, the film navigates the uneasy relationships DeLarzelere has with both the city of Tulsa and himself, as his Biker Fox character's intentions of spirited goodwill sometimes neglect certain boundaries. Written by
Expecting the worse, i.e. old, shaky, hand-held rough cut, random clips, a sellout crowd of over 300 fans were treated to a real must-see gem at the Tulsa premiere, 17 July 2010. In sweltering heat, Fox himself was on hand for the de rigueur photo opps, before the movie, shown at AMC 20.
Opening with a short scene of Biker cooking hamburgers, hot dogs, and french fries, then proceeding to throw them all away, with the admonishment not to partake, this reviewer braced mightily for the most embarrassing, absolute worse of what Tulsa filmmaking has to offer, sure to be a major setback with another in a long-line of half-baked third-coast efforts.
Yes, there are random, senseless scenes. At least on first brush. There's the occasional profanity. But, apart from the ridiculous spandex, booty shakes, and Dumb and Dumber-esqe vibe, it was difficult not to laugh, belly-busting out loud, amidst serious underlying ruminations on love, life, and its first cousin, death.
As the documentary draws viewers into Biker's "weird" world, what became apparent was the need for an antagonist, good vs. evil, the killer app to make the whole 86 minutes of total running time mesh into some semblance of coherent narrative.
What antagonist would be the perfect foil to a protagonist who: 1) feeds raccoons; 2) front-flips from bicycles; and, 3) prays like a contrite, lonely little boy seeking protection?
At the requisite Q&A session, producer Jeremy Lamberton relates the originally conceived film was planned to be a long succession of random clips from years past. Basically, a very expensive home movie.
But, all that quickly and unexpectedly changed. The perfect killer app, the most ideal antagonist, emerges as a dastardly dangerous Tulsa Police officer. Who knew?!
Without Tulsa Police Officer Timothy J. Pike beating Biker for no good reason, and arresting him on bogus trumped up charges, the film would have been just a banal barrage of boring clips. Unwittingly, Pike MADE this doc work. Maybe he should receive film credits, if not residuals? Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.
Anyone who participated in the Critical Mass of violent years past will totally appreciate the strange predicament of an out-of-control cop, with a prime directive mission to rid the world of cyclists from the public roadways versus ONE lone, recalcitrant cyclist, doing nothing more than just riding his bicycle. So what if there's some booty shaking in front of virgin eyes stuck in cages on four wheels, at the red light?
Pike changed Biker from a ridiculous caricature into a human being to care about, even if he is in way-over-the-top spandex, showing more than a nun would care to see. Who could forget the haunting voice-over on raccoons being taunted in front of chroma?
Cutter Elvis Ripley is due major credit, for this and many other poignant moments of raw humanity at war with itself. Bill LaFortune, former Tulsa Mayor, in his real life role as counsel for the defense, gave a spot-on legal analysis of bicycle laws. No self-respecting judge or prosecuting attorney on criminal dockets, more interested in justice than votes, should miss it.
So, what's the spoiler? For all his craziness, the weirdness we all love to laugh at on the website, and the full frontal bike flips, Fox is a Billy Mays type pitch guy, worthy of way-over-the-top, blaring late night buy-here, pay-here used car commercials. This reviewer, for one, has vowed not to wear his watch to bed to check the time in the middle of the night.
The film should play well on the festival circuit, with the truly indie aficionados for years to come. If the production does recoup its budget, estimated at somewhere south of 50G, IFC is the most likely benefactor/patron to propel it to the next level: Campy B-movie icon. Maybe it will achieve the lofty status of perennial favorites, such as Eraserhead, Plan 9 From Outer Space, or maybe, gasp, Rocky Horror? Naaaaaaaaaah. Not a chance. Not in a million years.
9 out of 10. Fox and crew stuck to the traditional distributor pay-out business model. They TOTALLY missed key product placement opportunities, that could have made bank, from the get-go, with, or without that all- mighty, all-knowing deity oracle: the sugar daddy distributor with pocket change to burn for high-risk flyers. Too bad it will be difficult for the sequel to be as entertaining.
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