Making the Grades
Professional sports are all about competition--and not just for the players. With the ever-increasing variety of events and games available, executives are looking for ways to get their sport into the public eye. Lately, movies have become a popular promotional choice. Unfortunately the creators of Supercross were hardly subtle with that intent.The plot balances on the backs of two brothers, K.C. and Trip Carlyle (Steve Howey and Mike Vogel), who clean pools by day but dream of riding pro in the national Supercross circuit, just like their late father did. K.C. is the conservative type, while Trip is willing to push himself, and his bike, to the outer edge in order to reach his goal. (In case you get confused as to which is which, look at their hair--short and dark versus blonde and wild.)
After riding in a local event in the desert east of L.A., K.C. is spotted by Jeff Johnson (Ryan Locke), a manager of an up and coming motorcycle company. To promote their bikes, the manufacturer uses high-rev rider Rowdy Sparks (Channing Tatum). Now they're asking K.C. to be Rowdy's racing companion, which means moving from the little league of "privateers," where you pay all your own expenses, to having a "factory ride" shiny motorcycle and everything else provided to you.
K.C. is thrilled until he realizes he's nothing more than a "wing man" for Rowdy. Ordered by his manager to spend his time blocking other riders so the star can take the checkered flag, K.C. quickly tires of his babysitting job and determines to move to the front of the pack--even if it means beating Rowdy and losing his free ride.
While K.C. is doing ESPN interviews, Trip stumbles into depression and gambles away his pool truck. Fortunately, fate intervenes and brings the despondent man into the life of Piper Cole (Cameron Richardson), a perky blonde whose father, Earl (Robert Patrick), used to ride in the same motorcycle gang as Trip's dad. Now Earl owns a large motorcycle parts company. Taking a liking to his former biker buddy's boy, he offers the humbled rider a shiny new Honda (place advertisement here) for Trip to ride in an upcoming competition.
Chock full of scenes where bikes spit dirt while flying through the air, this film is an unabashed effort to get audiences excited about this two-wheeled sport. In fact, the love of the game even extends to the romantic sequences, like a scene where Trip and Piper take a spin around her father's ranch. (The pair of riders, both with their front wheels extended high in the air, have an unintended but curious similarity to the courtship rituals often observed on Animal Planet.)
When their relationship moves from getting acquainted to pulling off the young woman's shirt, parents may feel it's time to shut down the engine. A couple of other impulsive sexual scenes involving the brothers and their girlfriends, as well as plentiful profanities, also bog down a plot that's obviously contrived to attract 13-year-old motocross wannabes.
What saves the movie from becoming completely stuck in the mire is the developing bond between the brothers. Hotshot Trip has to rethink his attitude, while K.C. realizes fame and fortune don't make up for compromising his ethics. It's just unfortunate dusty clich0xE9s and muddy content obscure these positive themes.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Supercross.
Have you ever had to compete against a sibling? What can you do to ensure your relationship, and not the competition, is the number one priority? How did Trip make this change in his life?
Why do you think advertising executives see movies as such a lucrative promotional opportunity? How do you feel about them using this vehicle to peddle their wares?