09 September 2013

Movie Review: "Extreme Days"

Rated: PG for some thematic elements and crude humor
Starring: Dante Basco, Ryan Browning, and Cassidy Rae
Released: September 28, 2001 (theatrical) / January 29, 2002 (DVD)
Synopsis: Four Californian guys (Dante Basco, Ryan Browning, A.J. Buckley, and Derek Hamilton) are on the road trip they've dreamed of their whole lives, when one of them finds out that his beloved grandfather has died.  While en route to Washington state to claim his inheritance, the guys meet the lovely Jessie (Cassidy Rae), a Christian young lady who is in kind of a tough spot.  Extreme sports action, romance, and surprises abound for all five of these young people.  Featuring music from contemporary Christian artists such as TobyMac and PAX217.

Artistic Merit

Plot: 3/5
The story starts out interestingly enough, but it isn't long until it veers into inanity.  Granted, guys will be...well, guys, but some scenes are stupid enough that they're only enjoyable in the train-wreck kind of way.  Even the ending leaves some plot threads unresolved.

Soundtrack: 2/5
Do I like Christian music? Yes.  Did I like this movie's soundtrack? No. Why, you ask? Most of the songs featured are noisy and/or annoyingly repetitive, with lyrics apparently taken out of context to make them sound like what you'd hear on your local hard rock station instead of what you can find at your local Christian bookstore.  The song mentioned in the title, "Extreme Days" by TobyMac, doesn't appear until the final credits, and gets cut off before the best part so that a dumb song can be played instead.

Production Values: 2.5/5
I didn't notice any problems with the acting, but the filmography leaves something to be desired.  The extreme sports sequences look like they were taped from ESPN and stuck into the movie.  Also, the video quality varies, with some scenes looking okay, others looking a bit grainy.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 3/5
Jessie's Christian faith is portrayed in a positive light.  She also refuses to engage in sex outside of marriage, even though she admits past sins in that area.  One of the guys shows some generosity to a few homeless people.

Sexual Content: 3.5/5
See the second sentence under "Positive Elements".

Nudity: 4/5
One of the guys is shown shirtless, and part of Jessie's midriff and back are shown once each.

Language: 5/5
No profanity.

Violence: 3.25/5
The violence in this film ranges from rough-and-tumble extreme sports action to comedic pratfalls.  It's all done without blood and gore, though.

Drugs: 5/5

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 5/5
None that I remember.

Other: 2/5
The "crude humor" that the MPAA warned about is quite present here.  One of the guys gets into the bed, unclothes, and "dirties it up" so that no one else can use the bed.  All four of them try to light their flatulence on fire, which is both dangerous and dumb.  A poem alludes to "crushed privates." Not only that, but two of the guys have a bet going on, and it is only canceled due to lack of funds and emotional stress.

Conclusion: When this movie came out, I was a die-hard fan of Christian music, especially TobyMac, whose song "Extreme Days" was likely the genesis of this film.  Somehow, though, I missed it, and even checked it out from the library at least once, but never got around to watching it before the due date.  Thanks to the clearance rack of my local MovieStop, I was able to find this for a mere three bucks, and thought I was getting a great deal.  Now that I've watched it, I feel that I wasted my money; despite its Christian moments, CCM soundtrack, and PG rating, it still didn't amount to a very good movie.  Fans of extreme sports may disagree; however, I've found that a movie can be enjoyable, even when the subject matter is of no interest to me.  The Climb (a mountain-trekking film) and Believe in Me (which was about girls' high-school basketball) are perfect examples of that.  Still, Extreme Days failed in that regard; even if you like extreme sports movies, I would suggest the Disney Channel Original Movies Brink! or Motocrossed instead of this mess.  It had such potential; what a shame it didn't live up to it.

Score: 2.25/5

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