I finally lived an Extreme Day(s).
Whether it was because of the massive popularity of the X-Games, BMX bikes and scooters or the prolific Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for Playstation my decidedly black neighborhood was taken over by a fascination for extreme sports.
Hell, I had both a Razor scooter and an officially licensed Harley Davidson scooter; which was garbage by the way.
Naturally hundreds of extreme sports films were released in the late 90’s and early 2000s, movie-going audiences were treated to hits like The Fast and the Furious and Point Break as well as tons of direct to VHS features.
Somewhere in the mix of all this came Extreme Days (2001), a Christian, extreme sports, road-trip movie that you have never heard of; and if it wasn’t for marketing gimmicks of the early 2000’s I wouldn’t have either.
This movie has existed in the periphery of my life since I was around 7 years old. Back then entering contests through the mail and TV commercials would often result in you winning something, no matter how small it was.
To this day I’m not sure who submitted my name for entry, but one afternoon I come home from a long day in the first grade and to my surprise there was a package with my name on it on the kitchen table.
In the box, from what I can vaguely remember, was an Extreme Days branded messenger bag (which was the style at the time), t-shirt and copy of the soundtrack.
My mom still has the bag, but I’m sure the t-shirt is long gone. As for the CD, I listened to it a million times, taking it with me to college but finally getting rid of it before I moved into my current apartment.
For years it was my white whale, I was nowhere near Ishmael, but in December I decided to finally track it down.
Considering how obscure this movie is I probably had my hopes far too high in assuming it’d be available streaming on Amazon or Google Play, but I had recently gotten back into Netflix’s DVD service, and so to the top of my queue it went.
It arrived in the mail, I ripped open the mailer and, as if some cosmic force was preventing me to peeling back the veil of the universe, when I removed it from the sleeve the disk was cracked in half.
It’s not like I expect Extreme Days to be a masterpiece of cinematic history, I know what I’m in for, but this is getting ridiculous.
Nearly eight months later on July 20, 2018, I finally have lived an extreme day; universe be damned.
Extreme Days is actually a perfectly fine direct-to-video movie for its time, albeit a little clunky on the story side. Basically, four childhood friends go on a road trip up and down the west coast; initially to Mexico for fun, and later to Seattle because the grandfather of Corey passes away and supposedly leaves him an inheritance.
Throw in a lot of outdoor sport stock footage, some weird Christian values and throwaway characters and you’ve got a recipe for…this movie.
Like I said, perfectly fine; probably watched a ton of these without realizing it as a kid.
What I think happened, since nobody on the internet cares other than me, is that someone wanted this to be made and the only producers they could find asked them to shoehorn in the religious subtext.
The focus alternated between focusing on Brian trying to woo the uninterested love interest by not taking no for an answer, and Corey who lost his grandfather and had a crappy stepfather back home who sent him on a wild goose chase up the coast.
If i’m being honest, Corey’s story was much more interesting, though it wasn’t really explored, and Brian probably would’ve ended up being arrested for stalking and at the very least had a restraining order put on him.
There were only a handful of original action-y sequences, two paintball fights, a surprisingly well-done grocery store race, and an entirely out of place kung-fu fight which goes on for two minutes too long.
I’m guessing that between each of those scenes they were contractually obligated to remind the audience about how awesome God was, and if cool guys like them could like him so should you.
Despite all the misgivings, and my low expectations, I was actually surprised at the cinematography. Aside from one or two jarring cuts, the aerial and landscape shots were beautiful and even the smaller scenes grabbed my interest.
I’d definitely throw this on again in the background.
For some reason it feels nostalgic and I think it’s partially because I’ve seen this formula a before, and partly because I lived through a bit of it. I remember clunky cell phones, clunky skate shoes and being an awkward adolescent.
Was Extreme Days worth the wait? Yeah, sure.
This movie is like so many others that I hold dear to me and come back to because it reminds me of the “extreme days” I’ve already had, and it reminded me that I need to have more of them.