Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Geekumentary: 10 MPH

Seems like it's been ages since I reviewed a geekumentary here! I've been so focused working on my own, that in the meantime, some brand new ones have popped up.

I've got the Documentary Channel's sling website bookmarked, and have watched a lot of wonderful items since doing that. There was the documentary by Johnny Knoxville about an old moonshiner, and Johnny Berlin, a character-centric film about a porter on a luxury train. Both were FANTASTIC.

The most recent find, though, was even better. Their most recent blog featured a documentary called 10 MPH.

In this documentary, two guys give up their corporate jobs to trek from Seattle to Boston on the two-wheeled gyroscope contraption (a Segway), crossing some of the same paths as the Oregon Trail and the Lewis and Clark expedition all while traveling about the same speed as the Pony Express did way back when.

There is nothing geekier than a Segway, so welcome to the geekumentary club, guys! I really enjoyed this film, to the point that after watching it, I went straight to their website to purchase it. And there found that they are all about indie distribution. In fact, they even let you name your price for the film.

My copy arrived in the mail yesterday, and my husband and I watched it that night. At first, he was lukewarm about the whole thing, but I could see him get drawn in. He's a big fan of Into the Wild, and 10 MPH shares some strong elements with that story, including a soundtrack with a very similar sound. Its biggest strengths are in the people met on the journey, and their stories. It also didn't hurt that the end goal was Boston and Bedford, NH, about 20 minutes north of us.

As a documentary, they had all the right elements going for them. A storyline with a specific goal that the audience could easily grasp from the beginning but the achievement of which is not known straight away. Adversity, challenge, and a high degree of "I can relate" factor (who wouldn't want to quit their day job and pursue their dreams?). There were some technical facts I wondered about that weren't covered in the film, like how long a Segway battery lasts, how many they brought, and other trivia that would have been fun to know (may find that on the commentary). The chasing your dreams part was laid on a bit thick, but was nonetheless inspiring and heartwarming, and the medly of quotes at the end was a nice touch.

They've got a second film, Ten Yards, which is about fantasy football. I don't partake, but it's obviously a topic in my genre and I can see the potential for it to be entertaining (check out the trailer on that site). Josh and Hunter's real dream is clearly to make documentaries, and they're certainly doing it, with the third film they're working on, "Ride the Divide - a documentary about the world's toughest mountain bike race. The race spans 2711 miles from Banff, Alberta to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, and is fully self-supported."

I don't own a lot of geekumentaries, and many I do own I bought only because that was the ONLY way to see them. In this case, I saw the whole thing, and still wanted 10 MPH for my collection. I'm really looking forward to the director commentary, and to reading their take on indie distribution, because I know it can be quite an undertaking, even in the current self-publishing web 2.0 environment where one would assume such things are now easy. Which reminds me, I've been meaning to get a copy of BBS: The Documentary to review - that's another one you can watch online, but when you're talking about a 5 hour film...it's just better to own.

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