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TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Squaw Valley Institute, in partnership with the Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema, will present “On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter” this Saturday,
This is the latest installment of the SVI Movie Night Series. There will be two film showings at 5:30 and 8 p.m. at the cinema, located in the Cobblestone Center in Tahoe City.
“On Any Sunday” changed the face of motorcycling in America when it premiered in 1971. Directed by Bruce Brown, who also helmed the surfing classic “The Endless Summer,” this insider look at motorcycle racing reached a wide audience that was fascinated by the heartfelt stories of real-life riders.
It earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature and opened up the mainstream’s eyes to a variety of two-wheeled sports that millions are consumed by.
Motorcycling has changed dramatically since Bruce’s film was introduced to the public in 1971. In America, professional Motocross and Supercross racing have become two of the nation’s most popular motorsports.
Four decades later, “On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter” shows that the passion for riding motorcycles is as strong as ever.
Bruce’s son, acclaimed filmmaker Dana Brown, directs this modern take on the original, capturing what it means to ride in the United States and globally. Shot in 4K Ultra HD, the action and emotion are breathtaking.
“On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter “journeys deeper into the humanity and excitement of motorcycle culture across disciplines — the passion for the race, the love of family and friends, and the thrill of the ride.
Dana Brown will personally present the film with a Q-and-A session.
This presentation is part of the SVI Monthly Movie Night Series at the Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema, which offers major motion pictures, independent films, action sports movies, a popcorn spice bar, and seven taps of beer and cider along with premium bottled beer.
Visit tahoearthauscinema.com for tickets.
SVI members are admitted free to both film showings, but are asked to make ticket reservations on the Squaw Valley Institute website in advance at squawvalleyinstitute.org.
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Anyone that’s ridden a motorcycle for any amount of time has probably at least heard of or seen Bruce Brown’s seminal 1971 motorcycling documentary, On Any Sunday. A groundbreaking film in it’s own right, it also came at a critical time in the history of motorcycles.
In 1971, the deadly debacle at Altamont, where the Rolling Stones hired the Hell’s Angels to work as “security,” was still fresh in the national memory, a memory that at the time, framed people on motorcycles as outlaws, miscreants and drug pushers. Vietnam was raging. Biker gangs were in the headlines. Motorcycle movies at the time had titles like Born Loser and Motorpsychos. Marlon Brando’s now-comical rebel inThe Wild One was still the frame of reference for the non-riding public, although Honda’s “You Meet the Nicest People” ad campaign was chipping away at the bad boy (and bad girl) image along with their approachable just-barely-a-motorcycle tiddler bikes.
And then came On Any Sunday.
On Any Sunday was ostensibly about various forms of motorcycle racing (most of which takes place on Sundays, thus the title), but it was much more than that. Using dazzling photography (which still dazzles, especially in light of period equipment) and boosted by the inclusion of manly man/’60s megastar Steve McQueen, who appears only briefly but as a serious and capable rider, the movie really was about the peoplewho rode motorcycles, rather than the bikes or events portrayed. And that pathos, those images of everyday Joes and Janes out for a fun spin or riding in a weekend race, helped crack the negativity held by the non-riding public, if only just a little bit. But it was enough.
At the same time, the motorcycle industry was undergoing a gigantic shift as Japanese bike makers, led by friendly Honda, began introducing larger, more powerful, more reliable and more innovative bikes. Within 15 years, the once-dominant British motorcycle industry would be reduced to ashes and American icon Harley-Davidson would seek government protection from the Asian onslaught, protection which saved their skin and gave them a chance – albeit a slim one – to recover, learn, and eventually thrive. But the bottom line was that a LOT more people were riding, due to a combination of the affordable and reliable Asian bikes, which didn’t carry a “biker” stigma, and a more positive outlook on motorcycling, helped in no small part by the huge success of On Any Sunday.
As the years went by, riders of every stripe would still gather to watch On Any Sundayat late night showings, revivals, and eventually, on VHS and DVD. Now, over 40 years later, there’s finally a sequel.
On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter is the long-awaited return of both the beloved subject matter and the family that’s been its steward, this time led by Bruce’s son Dana Brown, who is no slouch with a documentary camera as his Baja racing epic Dust to Glory and the iconic homage to surfing, Step Into Liquid, proved years ago.
The Browns have stuck to the same formula that made the original the icon it is: racing, the people who ride and impressive photography. Next Chapter also gets some help from modern corporate sponsorship, notably Red Bull, bike maker KTM and action headphone maker Skull Candy. You may wonder what these huge companies demanded of the filmmakers in terms of product placement and event inclusion, but I’m happy to report that for the most part, their influence seems slight and transparent, so we thank them for their support in helping get the film made.
As expected, Next Chapter visits most of today’s major riding events: The Springfield Mile dirt track race, MotoGP (with a focus on rising superstar Marc Marquez – good timing that), Supercross, Arenacross, the Bonneville Salt Flats and so forth. They also spend some time with stunt rider extraordinaire Robbie Madison, who completes a truly breathtaking jump off an Olympic long jump ski ramp. Along the way we meet gritty customizer Roland Sands, check in with racer “King” Kenny Roberts, whose star was just rising when OAS was coming out, and also meet some folks who are often overlooked in motorcycling: women riders and racers. And there are plenty of good looks at modern equipment: sport bikes, dual sports, motards, desert sleds, customs and more get screen time along with some clean classics and the insane technology of top-tier racing machinery.
But Next Chapter also takes a wider view of the sport, recognizing the importance motorcycling plays in developing countries and visiting bustling metropolises like Ho Chi Minh City (which was called “Saigon” in 1971), where literal fleets of motorcycles and scooters dominate chaotic but somehow accident-free city traffic. It is a sight to behold.
And beholding the many wonderful sights in Next Chapter is great fun indeed. The photography is fantastic with liberal use of super-slow motion to capture the intricacies of on-the-edge riding (especially MotoGP) and the theater’s surround sound system also gets a workout. Everything shot natively for the film was captured in now-in-vogue 4K Ultra HD, so seeing it on a big screen from a top-quality digital projector is a must. Failing that, maybe wait until the 4K Blu-ray version comes out and give yourself an excuse to upgrade your now obsolete “regular” HD TV.
Will On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter do for motorcycling today what it did for the sport 43 years ago? No, because it doesn’t need to be done. Today, motorcycle riders are cool. Green. Hip. Brave. That rider on the rumbling Harley next to you is more likely a Desert Storm veteran, a dentist, or a woman, not some methed-out crackhead. The mystery and romance of riding on two wheels has diminished over time as motorcycling has moved into the mainstream. More often than not, the guy on a motorcycle in the movies is the good guy, not the wild one.
But the mysterious allure of motorcycling is still the same. It’s hard to do well, but when it is done well, it’s amazing. It’s its own religion. And in that regard, Next Chapter is a worthy child of On Any Sunday, just as Dana Brown has proven himself a worthy heir to his father’s reputation as the creator of one of – if not the greatest – motorcycle movies of all time. Because once you watch it, you just want to ride and ride and ride.
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Get your motor runnin’ and head out on the highway as Bruce Brown’s seminal 1971 motorcycle docu gets a worthy 21st-century update.
Motorcycles of all shapes, sizes and velocities speed around the track — and, quite often, through the air — in “On Any Sunday, The Next Chapter,” director Dana Brown’s effusive valentine to two-wheeled motorized transport in all its incarnations. Taking his father Bruce Brown’s seminal 1971 motorcycle docu “On Any Sunday” as a model, the younger Brown canvases the globe from Vancouver to Vietnam as he explores motorcycling as sport, hobby, practical necessity and even a means of artistic expression. The result is, much like Brown’s superb 2003 surf docu “Step Into Liquid,” an intoxicating blend of exotic travelogue, death-defying derring-do, and affecting profiles in courage and perseverance. Brown’s pic should delight gearheads and grease monkeys of all stripes in its targeted theatrical run (on 250 screens nationwide), with a long home-viewing shelf life to come.
One of the very few sports-themed docus to earn a feature documentary Oscar nomination, the original “On Any Sunday” looked in on a wide range of amateur and professional trail riders, desert racers and motocross junkies (including the era’s leading exponent of American macho cool, Steve McQueen), all set to the mellow drone of Brown’s wry, pun-heavy narration (like a surfer-dude Yogi Berra). It was, above all, a wonderfully democratic portrait of motorcycling as an extended family, in which a Steve McQueen was no more or less important than some unknown tyke skidding up and down mounds of dirt just for the fun of it.
The younger Brown (who previously explored the need for speed in his 2005 “Dust to Glory,” about the Baja 1000 off-road race) is nothing if not a chip off the old block, right down to his own self-effacing voiceover work. And if “On Any Sunday, The Next Chapter” is largely a study in how much motorcycle technology and riding styles have evolved in the last 40 years, it also reflects those same decades of progress in the art of motion-picture making. Where Bruce Brown was a veritable one-man band, shooting his films in 16mm and with post-synchronized sound, this new “On Any Sunday” is as high-tech as any Hollywood blockbuster, with startlingly crisp HD imagery (by d.p. Alex Fostvedt) shot from a battery of stationary, mobile and aerial cameras, and a sound mix (designed for the new Dolby Atmos sound system) that’s like being at a rock concert given by Penzoil.
Bigger isn’t always better, but Brown has managed to enlarge his father’s canvas without compromising its fundamentally human-scale appeal. Employing a loose, episodic framework, he strings together a series of wonderfully entertaining portraits, of Australian-born freestle motocross champ Robbie Maddison (a kind of latter-day Evel Knievel whose accomplishments including jumping his bike the length of a football field and riding it off the replica Arch de Triomphe in Las Vegas), of the “Rush”-like rivalry between rising MotoGP racers Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa (whose cutting-edge bikes are like real-life versions of “Tron’s” light cycles), and of Derrick Simuunza, a Zambian village doctor whose motorcycle allows him to service some 300 patients per day.
Injury and disability do little to deter those who feel born to ride. Early on, Maddison jokes that his family was fortunate to live on a street called Hospital Rd., so named for its proximity to the local ER. Elsewhere, Brown introduces us to 24-year-old Ashley Fiolek, a women’s motocross rider who has excelled in the sport despite having been born deaf. And we catch up with one of the stars of the original “On Any Sunday,” former American Motorcyclist Association Grand National champion Mert Lawwill, now a developer of prosthetic limb technology that makes it possible for amputees to ride. In what may be the film’s most moving episode, Brown follows X Games gold medalist Travis Pastrana as he pays a visit to his boyhood idol, motocross legend Doug Henry, paralyzed from the waist down in a 2007 accident, but still happily riding thanks to a custom-built harness that resembles a mad garage inventor’s prize achievement.
Fittingly for a father-son filmmaking team, “On Any Sunday, The Next Chapter” returns time and again to parents who have passed the love of motorcycling on to their children, like bike mechanic Trevor Dunne and his son Carlin, seen, in one of the docu’s most humorous episodes, competing for the land speed record at Utah’s shimmering Bonneville Salt Flats. Brown even opens the film with disarming home-movie footage of a young girl climbing on to a child’s motorcycle and quickly speeding off into the grass as her alarmed videographer dad gives chase. And if Brown’s movie holds any larger message in store, it’s the gentle but persistent advocacy of the open road and the great outdoors in an era when the rise of video games and overly protective “helicopter” parenting has curtailed the adventurousness of many childhoods.
Like McQueen in the original “Sunday,” assorted celebrity riders and enthusiasts (including Mickey Rourke, Scott Caan and Bo Derek) make fleeting appearances here, but are afforded no special treatment. Music plays a key role, too, in the form of composer Dave Palmer’s extensive but never obtrusive original score an an energetic, 24-cut soundtrack that runs the gamut from Queens of the Stone Age to Arlo Guthrie’s immortal ditty “Motorcycle Song,” plus an end-credits reprise of the 1971 film’s catchy Dominic Frontiere-Sally Stevens title track.
Film Review: ‘On Any Sunday, The Next Chapter’
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On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter, continues the saga of one of the world’s great love stories: the one between a man and his motorcycle. The documentary by Dana Brown captures the enduring romance of the two-wheeled machine. Dana Brown is the son of legendary director Bruce Brown, who directed the original, iconic On Any Sunday (1971). The new movie takes the subject a step further. focusing on many different arenas that help the viewer realize just how far the influence of the motorcycle has spread.
The freedom that riders get from motorcycles is the main theme, revealed again and again in a wide range of locations, from a frozen lake in the middle of British Columbia to the busy streets of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.
Brown says that another big draw of the motorcycle is the sense of community and camaraderie that riders share, in addition to their love of free-spirited adventure. And the man-moto love affair is one that captivates not only able-bodied 20-somethings who are willing to risk injuring themselves. The motorcycle truly is a siren that calls both to small kids and to old men who are fast approaching, or even speeding past 70.
Celebrated Australian stunt rider Robbie Maddison, who is featured in the film, was more than happy to tell about the attraction that he feels toward his bike.
Maddison says that his four-year-old son has aspirations of riding dirt bikes and “being like Daddy” when he grows up, unlike the usual preschooler who wants to be a firefighter or an astronaut. Maddison told me that he wants to let his kids “live life to the fullest,” but all his four-year-old talks about is riding dirt bikes, so whether he lets his son go down his path is another question. Plus, Robbie’s wife, Amy, might blow a gasket if she has to nurse her son through the same injuries that her husband has suffered.
What Brown’s film does perfectly is show the intensity of the motorcycling world. Of course riding a motorcycle takes a lot of skill. There is little room for error. Mistakes in operation and judgment can lead to broken bones and worse. This brings up another aspect of the motorcycle’s aura: fear.
Maddison points out that the original daredevils of the early andmid-20th century were commonly seen as“druggies” or people who simply didn’t care about their well-being. However,Maddison insists that such an image could not be further from the truth.
Amazingly, Maddison, who has accomplished such feats as ascending to the top of the Arc de Triomphe at Paris Las Vegas before jumping back down, and executing a back flip across the Tower Bridge in London, does feel fear. He just blocks it out until after he is done with whatever insane stunt he is hell-bent on completing. He confides that when his self-preservation instinct is telling him not to do anything crazy, he puts that instinct in its place and says, “Let’s do the jump first and then we can have a discussion.”
Maddison refuses to give in to his doubts or to the aches and pains of his surgically repaired body. In the movie, Maddison launches himself off an Olympic ski jump in Park City, Utah. Beforehand, he says, his recently surgically repaired back tightened up on him. Luckily, the doctor who had operated on him, sports chiropractor H. Rey Gubernick, better known simply as Dr. G, was there to massage him and alleviate the tightness in his back, allowing Maddison to complete his stunt.
The enthusiasm of a rider likeMaddison is not lost on Dana Brown, who celebrates the daredevil’s genuine love of stunt riding. It is rare to see a grown man so clearly in awe of another man’s passion. He says that cynics might call him a “cheerleader,” but defends himself by saying, “maybe [I am], but you hang out with the guy [Maddison] and tell me you don’t come away with the same thing.”
Fortunately for those who love the world of motorcycles and everything that it encompasses, Robbie Maddison is joined on screen by other big names in the two-wheel world. We meet motorcycle enthusiasts such as Jake McCullough, an amateur amputee rider who races on a flat track with a prosthetic specially designed and made by motorcycle racing legend Mert Lawwill, and such world-renowned racers as 2014 MotoGP world champion Marc Márquez. You come away from the film with the clear message: For these devotees of the sport, the motorcycle symbolizes life. For them, the motorcycle is life.
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33 years after his father shot the definitive original, Dana Brown captures hair-raising motocross riders and their spine-tingling stunts in ‘On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter.’
Five years after director Bruce Brown made the seminal surfing movie “The Endless Summer,” he made what many considered the definitive motorcycle movie “On Any Sunday” (1971), which included some of the world’s leading bike-race enthusiasts, including movie star Steve McQueen (whose jump over Nazi barbed wire in “The Great Escape” had been feeding adolescent fantasies since the Kennedy administration). Thirty-three years later, Dana Brown — who helped his father turn out “Endless Summer II” in 1994 — has directed “On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter” which includes some of the more hair-raising riders in the motocross world and some of their more spine-tingling stunts. (The film is currently in limited release.)
“‘On Any Sunday’ was the film I saw when I was 11 or 12, and made me want to become a filmmaker,” Dana Brown said in New York this week. “I thought it was amazing. And then I had this apprenticeship with my dad and then did my own things” – which included the extreme-surfing movies “Step into Liquid” (2003) and “Highwater” (2009) – “and when Red Bull Media approached me and wanted to do a film this idea came up and I said, ‘Well, maybe it’s time.’ My dad’s 77 now, and maybe it’s time to embrace this legacy and make a new chapter. I’m glad we did it.”
“The Next Chapter” features such two-wheeled daredevils as Robbie Madison, stunt rider Travis Pastrana and the deaf cyclist Ashley Fiolek, all of whom are Brown’s friends, and put their lives on the line on a regular basis. Which must cause him some agita.
“After all these years, I don’t still know if I have any more insight into why these guys get such bliss out of doing what they do,” he said, “because I’m not naturally that way. I like to get a thrill now and then, but not like these guys. But they’re so accepting of the possible consequences you just kind of go ‘All right, what happens happens.’ There is apprehension, but you you just have to accept it.”
It’s usually the people close to the people taking the risks who suffer more anyway, no? “I think that’s probably true,” Brown said. “And probably true about a lot of things.”
What gave him a little “trepidation,” he said, was getting in bed with Red Bull Media House, which produced the film.
“The Red Bull Media House is separate from the can business and they wanted to go more mainstream and saw me as a filmmaker who might help them do that,” Brown said. “I was a little bit nervous at first but I’ve enjoyed working with them and they kind of let me do my thing and they certainly know how to promote a film. Which is nice when you do one of these things –someone bothers to make people aware it’s out there.”
He said it was the first time he’d done a commissioned work, so to speak. “Usually I’ve gone the opposite — make it, then sell it, which is what led to some of my trepidation. I said, ‘well, I wonder how many cooks are going to be in the kitchen with this thing’ and there really weren’t.” He seemed concerned about the perception of product placement, but said that was simply a fact of moto-life.
“When you do something in motor sports and Red Bull’s involved there’s a lot of Red Bull caps, etc., involved and you can’t really ask the athletes to take off their caps — I don’t know what their contracts are and they have to pay their rent. So I just figured if someone’s into motorsports they understand that that’s the deal. If other people want to think it’s kind of purposeful advertising, they’re wrong.” He said it’s like car racing, sort of. “In NASCAR, there’s a lot more sponsors,” Brown said. “But in motorsports, it’s Monster and Red Bull and that’s about it.”
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Sequel to the classic ’71 documentary provides further insight into the sport.
BY SUSAN CARPENTER/ STAFF WRITER
It’s a daunting task to create the sequel to any major film success, let alone one that has long been considered the standard by which every other motorcycle documentary is judged. The 1971 classic, “On Any Sunday,” not only humanized and demystified the multifaceted and often misunderstood sport of motorcycling, it elevated its stars to a mythical status that endures today.
Malcolm Smith, Mert Lawwill, Steve McQueen – “On Any Sunday” chronicled their racing lives up close and in full color, showing the breadth of motorcycling from the 100-mph skids and wipeouts of flat tracking to 1,000-mile endurance desert races through Mexico and everything in between. It was a documentary snapshot of motorcycling as it existed in the late ’60s and early ’70s, when the country was home to 4 million motorcyclists participating in everything from motocross to drags to land speed record attempts at Bonneville.
“We knew going in that to take on this title, it was like saying we’ve got a new chapter of the Bible,” said Dana Brown, director of “On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter,” opening in theaters nationwide today. “You know there’s gonna be people that will fold their arms and say, ‘How dare you?’”
At least Brown’s dad isn’t one of them. Bruce Brown, who directed and narrated the original film, is executive producer on the sequel, as well as a featured talking head.
Like the original, “The Next Chapter” is a series of vignettes mining classic motorcycling disciplines roaming from dirt and asphalt to sand, ice and salt – only faster and with more evolved technology both in front of and behind the camera. While it highlights the same themes as the original, namely the camaraderie of the sport, the passion and the family involvement, it also throws in entire racing categories that didn’t exist 43 years ago, such as the millions-at-stake MotoGP, the Hare Scramble Enduro through an Austrian iron mine that yields 30 finishers from a field of 500 and electric motorcycles racing the 156 turns and 12.42 miles of Pikes Peak.
In the late ’60s, the biggest races were sponsored by the American Motorcyclist Association, whether they were run on a half-mile dirt track or were miles-long road races at Daytona. Today, motorcycling has splintered into too many new forms to be comprehensively addressed in “The Next Chapter,” so Brown narrowed them based on popularity, cinematic value and surprise factor, starting with Robbie Maddison.
A daredevil in the tradition of Evel Knievel, Maddison catches seemingly endless air as he jumps his motorcycle 96 feet up and off a ramp to land on the Arc de Triomphe at Paris Las Vegas in 2009 and secures the Guinness World Record for a motorcycle jump. In the film, Maddison breaks his own record with a 360-foot flight from an Olympic ski jump that drops 181/2 stories in the process.
Today “the bikes are better, the athletes are better, but at its heart motorcycling is the same,” said Brown, who grew up in Dana Point riding motorcycles from the age of 6 and hanging out with the living legends who starred in his father’s famous film, many of whom make cameos in “The Next Chapter.”
American Grand Prix champs Wayne Rainey and Kenny Roberts, as well as former motocross world champion Roger De Coster, are featured in the new film, as is Lawwill, who, after retiring from racing, went on to create a prosthetic arm that allows amputees to ride motorcycles. Lawwill’s device is even shown in action, worn by a disabled racer on the same dirt track Lawwill once raced.
To this day, the Browns spend Thanksgivings with the Lawwills, said Dana Brown, who plays up the family nature of motorcycling. In his film, X Games superstar Travis Pastrana is shown balancing an ATV on two wheels with his wife and infant along for the ride. The father of Supercross superstar James Stewart brags about taking his son on a motorcycle just two days after he was born.
Highlighting family “helps elevate the film out of, ‘Hey look, we’re doing this crazy fun thing’ to something that’s passed down,” said Brown, who is living proof. Not only did he start motorcycling because of his dad, he is also a surfer and filmmaker who has followed in his father’s footsteps.
After seeing “On Any Sunday” at age 11, Dana Brown started turning his own Super 8 camera to making spy movies and westerns and, as his father had done in the opening sequence to his 1971 documentary, shooting bicycle races. But it wasn’t until his dad asked him to help film the sequel to one of his movies that the younger Brown became a director himself.
Like Bruce Brown, who first made his mark with the 1966 surf film “The Endless Summer,” Dana Brown’s first film of note was the critically acclaimed 2003 surfing documentary “Step Into Liquid.”
Dana Brown had been considering a follow-up to his own surf film when Red Bull Media House approached him about making a sequel to “On Any Sunday” instead. In the works for two years, it is funded by Red Bull, the mark of which is definitely felt with appearances by some of its sponsored athletes as well as the spectacular photography with which Red Bull is associated.
When Bruce Brown filmed “On Any Sunday,” he pioneered the use of telephoto lenses that allowed up-close shots of racers as they smeared mud from their visors and dug themselves out of water-logged motocross pits. He jury-rigged cameras with higher-powered batteries to simulate high-speed equipment that was, at the time, too expensive. Long before the days of GoPro and the democratization of filmmaking, Brown experimented with helmet cameras, enabling him to capture images from the racers’ point of view that had never before been seen.
“The Next Chapter” benefits from modern helicopters and phantom cameras that put viewers in the saddle of a MotoGP bike as it careens around the track at speeds approaching 200 mph – and crashes, tumble weeding its rider across the pavement.
“Certain people are so fond of the original, it’s a little sacrilegious to do this,” Brown said. “I wish it could be judged on its own merits. I’m not trying to replace ‘On Any Sunday’ or make it better. I’m just trying to make something worthy of its name.”
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A review of “On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter”: Filmmaker Dana Brown follows up his father Bruce Brown’s 1971 motorcycle documentary, “On Any Sunday,” with a contemporary look at racers and stunt riders. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.
Special to The Seattle Times
A sports documentary for motorcycle enthusiasts, “On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter” is a glowing look at the world of two-wheel daredevil stunts and various forms of professional racing.
Non-aficionados might not be so quick to embrace the film, given abundant footage of bone-crunching crashes.
Directed by Dana Brown, who has made similar — occasionally better — films (the 2003 surfing documentary“Step Into Liquid” comes to mind), “The Next Chapter” is a follow-up of sorts to the 1971 motorcycle classic “On Any Sunday.” The latter remains a highlight in the career of filmmaker Bruce Brown, Dana’s father (who appears in the new work).
That theme of family legacy, in a general way, is sold hard in “The Next Chapter,” which repeatedly states that motorcycles can bond generations even when nothing else will. The notion starts early in the film when we meet Robbie Maddison, an extreme motocross champion who has taken up the mantle of legendary performer Evel Knievel.
Maddison’s amazing leaps on his motorcycle over canyons, football-field-length distances and tops of buildings are a breathtaking sequence in “The Next Chapter.” Yet what remains even stronger in one’s memory is the sight of his toddler son watching his dad with awe.
Brown celebrates racing, too, as a generational bridge for riders and fans alike. But it can be hard to reconcile those good feelings in an activity where calamity, a visual refrain in “The Next Chapter,” is so much in evidence.
Despite Brown’s unquestioning approach, “The Next Chapter” is a typically handsome, energized, nonfiction celebration of a sport embraced by die-hard fans.
Tom Keogh: email@example.com
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While watching On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter, you’ll be grinning most of the way through. There’ll be some chuckles, a few nods and audible exclamations. At other times, your eyes will be wide with wonderment and maybe even well up once or twice. The “Brown” brand of storytelling is firing on all cylinders here and we loved every bit. Bonus: We were very fortunate to have had the opportunity to talk with Dana, in person, before and after the film. Read on for our review…
There’s a richness in the overall presentation that goes beyond the incredible color and cinematography. If you’ve never seen the original On Any Sunday (1971), don’t worry, it’s not a prerequisite (but watch it, man!). If you’ve seen Dana’s Step Into Liquid (2003) or Dust to Glory (2005), expect the same kind of warmth and dig-deep insight into the emotional pull of motorcycling. Below is a breakdown of why we believe you’ll dig this film:
If You Liked the Original OAS:
If you liked Bruce Brown’s original window into the world of motorcycling in America, you’ll like Dana Brown’s approach on the status of motorcycling in America AND beyond. In both, you’ll hear clean storytelling (no ‘sex-sells’ elements, no vulgarity) and human interest aspects that families can enjoy together. We loved seeing a few instances, lasting only a few seconds, that paid homage to the original. We’re certain Dana was giving a nod to Bruce when showing a close-up of a motorcyclist breathing out in comical slo-mo. Less subtle similarities are the laugh-inducing moments that most editors would cast aside as an unusable trip-n-fall blooper in the Bonneville pits.
After the screening, some members of the audience stayed well after the end credits to talk with Dana. We walked over to Nancy Brown, his sister, who helped during the production of the film. We told her it was clear the subjects they interviewed were very comfortable with who was behind the camera. She smiled and pointed over to her brother;
“That’s Dana; he has a way of making them feel comfortable.”
She mentioned how their crew was small and they respected the time they were allowed with people like MotoGPstars, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. This, along with Dana’s demeanor, helped the guys drop their guard and open up. As for two other featured riders, the multi-talented Carlin Dunne and modern-day daredevil Robbie Maddison, Nancy said “we’ll be friends for life,” remembering how nice and accommodating they were during filming.
The film features folks who have proven involvement and influence in many different moto-disciplines. And, while there were a few characters from today’s in-crowd, like Roland Sands, their passion was the focus rather than an ego showcase that many content generators pursue. Outside the glitz and glamor of commercially-backed racing, theRiders for Health segment helped add a humanitarian element to the film. Overall, the movie lacked the popular bravado and showy personas; we dig that.
When you ask a motorcyclist why they ride, you might hear the words, “I don’t know, its…” as they look off to the side. They’re searching, but can’t quite find the exact combination of words to express what exactly it does to their psyche. But in OAS: The Next Chapter, the emotions attached to motorcycling are wonderfully and visually captured. The beautifully edited segment of motocrosser Ashley Fiolek and her dad, Jim, illustrates how the sport strengthens relationships and plays an integral role in many families. There are even heartwarming and playful scenes showing how Doug Henry’s perseverance and tenacity after paralysis makes even Travis Pastrana feel protective and (relatively) concerned with safety.
The emotions attached to motorcycling are wonderfully and visually captured.
Appropriately picked and rockin’ at times, the music will make you wanna Google the tracks used in this documentary. We did, and haven’t found a track-list just yet, but we’ll be looking for it. We own the original OAS soundtrack, full of its infectious Frontiere funk, which was more of a themed collection. The Next Chapter has more of an eclectic mix, from classic rock to a yodeling ditty. The songs all fit nicely.
Red Bull Bent:
Admittedly, we thought this was going to be more of an obvious commercial effort that spotlighted Red Bull products and athletes. We have to tip our helmets to Red Bull Media House for backing this effort and letting Dana Brown do what he does best as well as doing what they do best. Sure, it’s packed with sponsors and there are thousands of people that could’ve been featured who have no affiliation with the brand, but Red Bull’s credibility and sponsorship has opened doors and granted top-notch access to allow for killer footage. We have to thank RBMH for helping a motorcycle movie like this appear in the mainstream, especially on the marquee of our local theater.
Should You Go See It?
Short answer: Yes. We’d give it a 5 out of 5 stars. Long answer: If you want to spend a couple hours living vicariously through motorcyclists who’ve dedicated their lives to the sport, you’re in for a treat. If you have kids who can’t get enough of motorcycles, they’ll love this. If you’d like to watch something that doesn’t smack of in-yer-face, trash-talking, angst-ridden content, this is for you. If you don’t ride motorcycles, no prob; this is about overcoming challenges, building relationships, loving what you do, fighting for what’s right and, maybe most importantly, having fun.
A Quick/Cool Note About Dana Brown:
We were fortunate to have Red Bull set up a night where Dana could attend the national theatrical launch of On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter here in Central Indiana. He made stops at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Bob & Tom Show, then over to well-stocked Westfield Powersports to shake hands, talk and take pics with folks. He shared stories with a smile and didn’t once show any signs of needing to split. He talked to our sons and respectfully talked about his dad. Perhaps most impressive, when Jesse Johnson of Westfield Powersports offered him a motorcycle to ride down to the theater with a group of guys, Dana donned a jacket and threw a leg over a new Honda Valkyrie. After the movie he sat and answered questions for a good while, then hopped back on the bike for the ride back. Gotta give this Southern Californian props…it was 37 degrees that night.
A big thanks to Dana Brown for his time and to Red Bull Media House for making this evening happen. Another big thanks to Jesse Johnson at Westfield Powersports for hosting the evening and inviting us out. Click here for movie show times.
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“I actually don’t remember learning how to do it,” Mr. Brown said of surfing. “It was just something I always knew how to do.”
Same with filmmaking. When he was around 29, his father asked him to help with “The Endless Summer 2”, and from then on the younger Mr. Brown was pretty much hooked on moviemaking (his first surf film, “Step Into Liquid”, came out in 2003, to mostly excellent reviews). “I thought: ‘I’m good at this. O.K., I’ll do it.’ ”
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like Mr. Brown’s “Step Into Liquid” and Stacy Peralta’s “Riding Giants“, “Highwater” has enough magical shots of surfers standing deep in the curl, their hands rippling along the faces of giant waves, to keep you watching.