There are a lot of really bad sports movies out there. Like, more than you can even imagine. And the problem is, they haven't just been making these awful sports movies since like Drumline or Surf's Up came out. They've been making bad sports movies FOREVER. I know some of you won't really appreciate me saying this, but Pride of the Yankees? That's a bad sports movie. It is. I'm sorry. Watch it again sometime. On a scale of "good" to "not," it is pretty far away from the "good" side.
This week I use Netflix to journey all the way back to 1983, to check out Nicole Kidman's film debut in a little ditty we like to call BMX Bandits. Wish me luck. Here's the trailer. Please watch this trailer and realize that I WATCHED THE WHOLE THING.
lol dig the australian version of "in a world ... " voice
This movie is some of the most 80s shit I've seen, but it's also extremely convoluted and, above all else, exceedingly Australian. Also, it's not really about BMX. I'll just go ahead and give you the "highlights" ... such as they are.
Market confusion between "BMX" and "Bandits"
There are guys riding BMX bikes when the movie starts. Good. Fine. Then the movie cuts to some legit, illegal banditry. And you know this is some real-deal bandit shit because they are wearing NOVELTY MASKS. I know from films like Point Break and The Dark Knight and The Town that if you're a true professional, you gotta wear a goofy rubber mask. It's foolproof.
The guys wearing pig masks are actually making pig sounds -- even when just talking among themselves. That's a little weird, but whatever. Maybe it's because of Australia. Oh yeah, this is all happening in Australia. Where will this film rank on the all-time Australian movie list? On the scale from Crocodile Dundee to Walkabout, I mean. Oh, right; Crocodile Dundee isn't an Australian film. Okay, fine: on a scale from Meet the Feebles to Muriel's Wedding.
The piggies knock off a bank. Great. Fine. While the police are en route, the BMXers (NOT bandits, it would seem) are tearing ass through the streets of wherever and really wanging the hell out of their handlebars.
All I can do is think about the time I was like eight or 10 years old and hanging out with an older friend who was saying something like, "You know how it feels like you're riding super fast when you move your handlebars from side to side while you're pedaling?" And I didn't really learn to ride without training wheels until I was like 13 so I just sort of lied and went, "Heh, yeah, totally." But I stand by this: it doesn't look like that herky-jerky motion is actually doing anything beneficial for you, BMX pals.
The BMX hooliganry somehow leads to a priest getting a mannequin stuck around his neck.
What the eff, Padre? Just let go of the sexdoll.
While the two BMXeteer arseholes stand around and chuckle at their horrible actions, this cop steps up behind them and commences to say THE MOST AUSTRALIAN THING I'VE EVER HEARD.
"Awlroight you two. Hope you realize it's against the lawr to ride yer pushbikes in this plaza. Get out o' me sight before I book yer." PUSHBIKES
So we've got BMX people and we've got bandits. Inept bandits! After the heist, the head creep shows up and brings them all their cuts of the loot. This is notable for being the first time in cinematic history that a briefcase filled with money was just the guy's normal briefcase.
Look at that. Pens and shit all stuck in the places where things go. Did the prop master forget to prep a money briefcase so he just used his own and forget to take the stuff out? Or was this a conscious decision? Please, please tell me it was on purpose. I want to live in a world where criminals and bank robbers work a day job but ALSO have to deliver cuts of heist money to people on their way home from the office. You'd only need one briefcase for that. Even if you're robbing banks, there's no reason to go hog wild with the briefcase budget, people.
The guy illustrates how they'll pull off the next heist heist using toys, which he ALSO HAS IN HIS BRIEFCASE.
What's up, homie, you couldn't just explain that happening? You had to have the Matchbox cars in the briefcase? Okay, I take back what I said about the briefcase budget earlier. You can stand to make cuts in other places. ALSO from his briefcase, the baddy withdraws a "special model" of walkie-talkie "all the way from the U.S." that listens in on the police radio frequencies.
"We can hear them, but they can't hear us." Uh, you know, you could just listen to the police scanner and like ... NOT push down the walkie-talkie button. But whatever, I'm not a criminal. I don't know these things.
Later, the movie muddies the waters by having the kids show up in "BMX BANDITS" shirts. What the hell?
Whom here is the bandit and whom is the bandit-ee? Well, at least the actual bandits have a pretty bitchin' boat, which is the 70s conversion van of 80s speedboats. Just look at this bad boy:
That's seriously the greatest boat in the history of cinema. It's also pretty much the highlight of the movie. Well, except for a completely unintentional highlight.
Nicole Kidman Interlude
Holy Christmas, how tall is teenage Nicole Kidman?
And say, who's that human lime pushing a shopping cart? WELL SHIVER ME KOALAS IT'S NICOLE KIDMAN.
Who apparently has always looked like that. But these photos don't really give you an adequate sense of scale. Let's see if we can do better.
There we go.
Thaaaaat's the stuff. A giantess, no joke.
This story makes no sense and is mostly about walkie-talkies
I mean, you could have called that. But still. The kids, while looking for seafood to sell (don't ask), stumble onto the shipment of walkie-talkies (because OF COURSE THEY DO), which they reckon to be "a few bucks' worth." Nicole Kidman says there's bound to be be people "down at the club" who will want them. Yeah, probably. In 1983, a walkie-talkie was the closest thing you could get to a smartphone. By which I mean the closest thing you could get to a phone. By which I mean it was like a really shitty phone, but you could use it OUTSIDE. One of the kids says, "We better change the range first. We don't want kids complaining they can do better with a Kool-E." And I have less than zero idea what the fuck that means.
Oh, and the two main BMX kids are named Goose and P.J. P.J. is the one wearing yimpers and looking like if you cast Gabe Kaplan to play Chachi.
Shake it don't break it, non-Chachi.
The entire plot of the movie is this: the actual bandits need the walkie-talkies to pull off a heist. The BMX "bandits" have the walkie-talkies and sell them to friends. The actual bandits try to chase and/or kill the kids to get the walkie-talkies. That's the entire movie. There's a 10+-minute chase through a graveyard and a twenty-plus minute normal chase. Chases really eat up a lot of screen time! (Said the director, screenwriter and producers of BMX Bandits.)
Honestly, this should really just be called BMX Vs. Bandits In the Case of the Walkie-Talkies. Based on the title of this movie, I was hoping it was going to be like Ocean's 11, but on bikes.
(Note to self: write Ocean's 11, But On Bikes.)
The "comic relief" is a human fart synthesizer
Then there's this kid, whose slightly divergent body type and the fact that he's walking out of a candy shop eating chocolate are meant to tell us he is a comedy-relief fat kid. Oh, also because the INSTANT he is on the screen, some synth Bulk and Skull-level WOMP WOOOOMP WOMP WOMP WOMPPPPPP music fires up. It's like a Moog is farting. Because fat people fart, you know. Have never been able to stop farting. That's what 80s movies taught me about fat people.
Apparently rich, too. This guy is like if Bulk and Skull were Francis from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. And Australian. And ... a miner, I guess? Not sure what the hell is up with that visor, bro.
Every time he shows up in the movie, he's either eating or falling down. At all times, he's accompanied by the fart synth. Here he is eating two bags of fries (or "chips" if you're in country) and drinking a milk out of the carton.
All four tens in this film drink milks out of cartons (usually through a straw), because nobody who made this movie had ever seen a teenager before. Or maybe milk was HUGE among Australian teens in the 1980s.
Just for the record, though:
Things the filmmakers have never seen before:
- Walkies and/or talkies
At one point, Goose and P.J. finally realize Nicole is about to be killed and race off after her. But they're not too busy to not steal Fart Synth's ice creams and make him fall in the ice creams and get ice cream on his bottom.
Totally necessary. Totally necessary to be going off sweet jumps and tricking over cars while A GUY IS TRYING TO KILL YOUR FRIEND WITH A MEATHOOK.
Go to hell, movie children. Sorry everyone is such a jerk to you, Fart Synth.
Aaaaand here he is just eating.
Remember: it's okay to body-shame people if they're fat. And especially if they're children. And ESPECIALLY especially if it's the 1980s.
Wouldn't be a 1980s kids movie without some god dang hijinx, would it? Like going down water slides with your bikes!
Getting pushed down a water slide by a tubby kid in a French flag Speedo and a lingering shot of his torso.
That rugby goal should not count, everyone.
Remember that 20-plus-minute chase scene I told you about earlier? Of COURSE it involves a pie in the face.
Children attacking criminals with flour and A NET:
The stupid, stupid ending
At the climax of the film, Nicole is snatched and taken away, but P.J. manages to run down a speeding garbage truck. (Holy shit, P.J.) And Goose is in hot pursuit.
Somehow it's more difficult for Goose to catch up to the garbage truck on his BMX than it was for P.J. on foot. You suck, Goose.
We cut away from this thrilling showdown to show you some people spraying "foam fertilizer" which is a thing I have never once heard of before.
P.J. and Goose roll a tarp down over the windshield to end the chase, because that is TOTALLY A THING YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE SITTING ON THE ROOF OF A SPEEDING GARBAGE TRUCK AND YOUR BEST FRIEND IS IN THE CAB.
The truck crashes, which naturally leads to HIJINX IN FOAM WHILE RAGTIME PIANO PLAYS.
This is literally the next shot after the foam.
oh i guess that reward was enough for the track that was pretty lucky gg
WAIT THESE ARE THE CREDITS
WHAT IS THAT AN AWARD FOR WHAT IS HAPPENING. WHY IS THERE A CHARACTER NAMED MOUSTACHE
Welp. Well played, BMX Bandits. I never would have expected that twist ending of THERE IS NO ENDING.