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Posts Tagged ‘Movie’

Did you join the fight?

I’m talking about the ‘super-hero’ fight in the latest Avengers movie sponsored by Harley-Davidson.

Last month I wrote a post about how the motor company was looking to cement their mainstream outreach and joined up with Marvel on the 2012 The Avengers movie promotion.

They have now released more promotion information about an “Assemble Your Freedom” contest where you ‘heed-the-call’ to assemble your team, your bike and once completed you are now in the pot for a chance to be drawn into an upcoming Avengers comic.

Beware because when you click HERE the link will ask you to develop a super-hero story.  I decided on a character called “MacSword”…

He’s a psychic that can only use his powers while he is fighting. He has five swords from a giant sword all the way down to a small blade, because I based him off an artist that draws a picture using his swords as he fights. So the swords are like paint-brushes to him. As he fights, the way he cuts things and destroys stuff will fit into his picture and he predicts the future. But he blacks out when he fights and has to interpret the fight through pictures.

He was a child prodigy in his small Milwaukee village but went rogue to find out why he was drawing these pictures and their meaning. He joins up with this organization called Sector 72, which took him in and promised to teach him more about his power which is used to fight evil.

Yeah, it doesn’t have to make sense.  So, get your imagination in gear and win that comic competition.

Photo courtesy of H-D and Marvel

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Triumph -- Jolie -- Salt

The persona projects a take-no-prisoners ferocity along with unapologetic James Bond intelligence.

I’m talking about Angelina Jolie and her movie ‘Salt‘, a spy thriller where she plays Evelyn A. Salt, a rogue CIA agent who tries to clear her name after being accused of being a Russian sleeper spy.  The movie released this past weekend to fairly positive reviews and attendance figures.  Being a mom of six you’d think taking the kids to see Toy Story 3 would be the goal of the day vs. getting back to gunslinging and fistfighting while clinging to the side of a building, leaping from a balcony or racing a motorcycle.  But actors need to earn a living too and this is a chance to show off the action-star talent again in what many see as another franchise – can you say ‘Salt 2’?

Scoring a major product placement opportunity in the film was motorcycle manufacture Triumph.  Jolie was filmed in a motorcycle chase scene as the ‘Salt’ character rides a 2009 Triumph Street Triple R in the film.

Photo courtesy of Triumph

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Sam Worthington (Jake Sully) -- Avatar

We’re always being told how moviegoers set new revenue records during the holiday.

Last weekend not only did the movie industry set the largest single weekend at the box office with three movies topping over $50M each, the blockbuster film from James Cameron, ‘Avatar’ set a new 10 day gross total of $212.7M.  Maybe that doesn’t mean anything to you, but how about the fact that the movie has more than 400,000 fans on Facebook?

And though no motorcycles were featured in the movie Harley-Davidson managed to secure a primo clothing promotion from Sam Worthington’s character (Jake Sully) who established an “outlaw” biker image in wearing a H-D logo laden t-shirt in a bar.  More than just a product placement it instantly helped create a rebellious tough guy tone with the audience.  To be candid, I’m not sure I would associate a biker bad boy image with a $35 t-shirt, but like I said it’s a movie.  More important it represents a rare opportunity for Harley-Davidson—a window if you will of opportunity—to be part of something successful and catch some PR/marketing buzz!

Sam Worthington is well known for movie parts with ties to motorcycles.  In Terminator Salvation he played a terminator with amnesia that had motorcycle killing machines based on Ducati’s Hypermotard.  Footage is featured on Ducati’s website, showing the motorcycle terminators being put through their paces during filming.

I’m a fan of James Cameron who is famous for writing and directing successful movies such as Terminator, Aliens and Titanic.  However, as people dropped $15 of their hourly income to absorb the 3D cinematography in ‘Avatar’ — I can’t help but think he’ll be remembered more for being an arrogant ass and reinforcing I’m “privileged” and above the fray.  TMZ posted a video of an alleged “fan” seeking Mr. Cameron’s autograph on an ‘Avatar‘ poster at LAX.  The man is snubbed, threatened and called an ass by the famous and privileged director.  Nice.  Way to put your fans first.

Trying to smooth over the situation musical artist John Mayer wrote a nearly 1,000-word essay on his blog standing up for Mr. Cameron’s a’tude and basically stating it’s okay to be above the fray and crap on the hoi polloi or just ignore the teeming masses… Homey don’t play that no more John.  Never having met the man who ask for Mr. Cameron’s signature, John Mayer quickly assumed he was an e-bay whore.  Now isn’t that fascinating.  Cool that you have an opinion, but talk about the pot calling the kettle black…did you ever stop to think that selling yourself out to corporations and shilling products works for more than just a musician?  Hypothetically even if the guy was going to sell it on e-bay.  So what?  Step down from your mega-million-$$ ivory towers and mix with the regular people.  How much do you think H-D paid Cameron to use that t-shirt?!

Celebrities and musicians are beholden to their audience, the public, and the consumers.  And despite the undeniable pain of the global recession we have been willing to plunk down hard earned $$ to keep you famous for another fifteen minutes!   We’ll forgive the mistake… make apologies and continue to try and get it right in the future.  If not, then we all live with brand new rules because it’s an era of immediacy and 24 hour news cycles.  You’re now in the pit with your customers and if you want to escape the groupies then you’ll have to live in a bathroom with the lights out!

Photo courtesy of Fox.

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Talladega“Shake ‘n Bake”…  as the Harley-Davidson financial wizards turn off the Speedway lights and come on cost savings ideas like a spider monkey. 

I blogged in October 2008 that H-D reached an agreement with Chrysler to use part of the Arizona Proving Grounds facility. The facility is located about 25 miles south of Kingman, AZ on the old Yucca Army Airfield.

Given the dismal Q3’09 financial results and closure of Buell, they have now decided to further reduce operational expenses by closing the test facility in Talladega, Alabama, eliminating about 100 jobs. The testing facility was opened in January 1981 and had performed several kinds of vehicle tests including high-speed performance tests on Talladega SuperSpeedway.

The companies operational plans had previously committed to cease testing in Mesa, AZ (the GM Proving Grounds) by July 2009 because the testing ground had been sold for a variety of planned developments.  Consolidating test operations from Talladega; and Naples FL., to the Arizona Proving Grounds in Yucca, AZ., is new information.

Clearly the company is aggressively cutting costs where it can and must be necessary to align cost with the new economic reality of reduced sales. I’m truly starting to wonder if H-D has lost its way and offer up the movie opening title card as a reminder to H-D management: “America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, bad-ass speed. – Eleanor Roosevelt, 1936.”

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

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ObserveToday is the first day of fall and I’m on the road with the wind in my face.  Street Vibrations is the destination, but the journey is what it’s all about.

As I admire the scenery along the country roads of Oregon, I can’t help but think about the book, Crisscrossing America. It’s a story of one man’s journey across the United States — twice.  On retirement, John Gussenhoven, did something a lot people dream about doing. He bought a motorcycle, took a Rider’s Edge class and learned how to ride. Then he loaded up his saddlebags and made a two-year, two-leg journey crisscrossing the U.S.

In the book, John writes about his experiences on the road and some of the people he encounters along the way.  As a photographer I can tell you the book contains some beautiful pictures of the U.S.  It turns out that each night, John carefully recorded his thoughts as well as his GPS locations from the day. Then he shared these with his friend, Jim Wark, who took arial photographs of the same places. Cool photos with out a doubt.

I’m not doing a book, but I do appreciate the unique perspective of the landscape in our country.  I’ll be observing and reporting back from this road trip in a week, but for the next several days the comment approval process will be delayed.

Ride safe.

Photo courtesy of film web site.

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Opening scene of Semper Ride

Opening scene of Semper Ride

I’ve blogged previously about the folks in the armed forces, the increased number of motorcycle accidents and dealer responsibility.  The military draws many parallels with motorcycling and with overtly male-dominated advertising the stats are very clear.

Military personnel have a higher fatality rate than the civilian population which is too high!  In fact, Yamaha launched and I commend them for doing so, an ad campaign specifically targeted to members of the military due to the increased number of riding accidents.  And let us not forget that the amount of female military personnel on active duty has increased from a 1.4% in 1970 to over 15% to today.  Although women make up only 10% of all riders they represent about 25% of new motorcycle purchases.

In a broad effort to promote more responsible riding the U.S. Marines have produced Semper Ride, a film and web site designed to catch the attention of young soldiers.  The seven minute movie combines big-action and a message on riding safety from stars such as Jason Britton, Keith Code, Jeremy McGrath and James Stewart.  The movie from One Eyed Bird Entertainment, uses a mix of educational and rider-to-rider advice from experts in freestyle motocross, racing and stunt riding.

The movie is very effective in conveying the message of riding responsibly, no matter what your experience level.  After watching it I felt compelled to purchase a dirt bike and hit Sand Lake!

Photo courtesy of U.S. Marines.

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Easy Rider Replica Bike

Easy Rider Replica Bike

Not the fictional character who appears in comic books, but I’m talking about the classic motorcycle movie Easy Rider which marks the 40 year anniversary this week.

About two bikers (Fonda and Hopper) who travel the America landscape to experience freedom of the open road from the seat of their motorcycles.  Fonda played “Captain America” and his bike is one of the most recognizable motorcycles in history.  Stories vary, but according to the H-D Museum there were two choppers used in the film.  There is some irony in that both were created from H-D FLH police motorcycles.  One was destroyed in the making of the film and the other mysteriously disappeared from the movie set.  By some accounts there were a total of 4 motorcycles used which 3 were stolen.

Jack Nicholson played an alcoholic ACLU lawyer, George Hanson.  One of his more memorable comments after observing that Americans talk a lot about the value of freedom, but are actually afraid of anyone who truly exhibit it was:

“This used to be a hell of a good country.  I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with it.”

Ten years ago for the 30th anniversary celebration Fonda and H-D collaborated to build an exact replica of the California chopper which is now featured in the H-D Museum.  In 1998, the movie was added to the U.S. National Film Registry have been deemed culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

I posted previously about producer William Hayward, his role in the movie and his unfortunate death.

Photo taken at H-D Museum during 105th Anniversary Celebration.

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