American Flyers (Widescreen/Full Screen)
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American Flyers could roughly be referred to as a cross between Breaking Away and Brian's Song. Sports physician Marcus (Costner, sporting a ludicrously big mustache) coaxes his flaky brother David (Grant) into doing something with his life and training for a grueling bike race in the Colorado Rockies. The scenario is complicated, though, by family frictions and the fact that the brothers' dad died of a cerebral aneurysm that has been handed down to one of the brothers. The two train rigorously for the big event (part of their routine involves outrunning an angry pit bull every day), then pack the van and head West. Marcus' girlfriend is also the ex-wife of his main rival in the race circuit, providing a bit more intrigue. Veteran action director Badham (Saturday Night Fever, War Games) excels during the bike-race segments, capturing the breathtaking scenery and the demanding nature of the event nicely. The film is somewhat hobbled, though, by the screenplay and character development; the film plays a bit too much to the sports-movie cliché and the dysfunctional-family story seems like a lengthy prologue to the race. Also, try not to be too bothered by the annoyingly dated soundtrack, and this should be a fairly entertaining, unpretentious little film. --Jerry Renshaw
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Level 1: With books like "Fast Food Nation" and "Diet for a New America," among many others, blazing the trail for liberal post-consumer society revolutionaries to create all-organic farms and end corporate rule, etc., it becomes hard to appreciate, and quite easy to hate, some truly American traditions. Like McDONALDS. Now I know that if we look at what McD's does for our current society, it's quite easy to say that we would be better off without Brazilian "meat," fatty french fries, obesity, and everything else McDonalds brings to life. Gandalf: "Do not be too eager to deal out death and judgement." There are so many ambiguities about McDonalds, and everything, that we are not at all qualified to judge it. Perhaps the person that is going to lead a great cultural renaissance and create a harmonic utopia on earth will grow up in a Ronald McDonald house, no one knows. The point is that McDonald's is partially good, and this movies makes you remember that.
Level 2: The Hell of the West aka Coors Classic. Inspirational for any cyclist or racer. Those who have ridden the Morgul, Colorado National Monument, or Evans know, and those who see the movie will understand. When it's been 20 degrees and snowy for 2 straight weeks and I have trouble seeing the big races in July while slogging out hours on the trainer in the garage, I pop AF in, and am soon sprinting against Muzzen, Belov, and Sommers. Simply amazing
Level 3: Humor. You can't help but laugh with, and at, this movie, Especially when you visit the Jackie Robinson Sports Institute. "You're not dead yet, so die or do something."
Level 4: Randalph. I am quite frankly disappointed that none of my other fellow reviews (that I noticed) talked about the true gem of the movie. Randalph will NEVER cease to amaze. Randalph. see for yourself. Randalph.
This is the story of a type-A+ doctor/Olympic cycling team alternate (Kostner) and his unfocused-but-talented brother Danny and their somewhat wobbly voyage of male bonding, family catharsis and, of course, competitive cycling. We start with the annoyingly, eternally cowboy-hatted Danny getting a call from his estranged brother, a very skinny and huge-moustached Kostner (the pair in fact look far more like gay porn stars than athletes) informing him that he'll be visiting the family. We soon learn that their father has died of a cerebral hemorrhage and that each family member is bitter at the other for the way the final days were handled. Mom, worried that favorite son Danny may be next, has Kostner take Danny to his sports lab/university/hospital to check him out.
After a few more minutes of painful family pathos and the introduction of Rae Dawn Chong as Kostner's love interest, the focus soon turns to training for the Big Race, and '80 cliches start a-flowin'. To blaring, cheezy synth music, we see Danny overtrain to a horrifying degree at the sports lab to cheering Spandex-clad "athletes," the pair take goofy training rides (inexplicably spinning about a 140 cadence) replete with whooping and hollering, dog chases and Danny improbably pulling a mile-long wheelie while waving that freakin' hat, which he must have Velcroed to his head for the ride. Oh yeah, along the way they also pick up a beautiful hippie chick who, naturally, will soon become Danny's love interest/the film's gratuitous nudity.Read more ›
Right from the start, "American Flyers" is weak in its storytelling. There was some sort of family fallout regarding the death of the brothers' father. Marcus blames his mom for something or other and hasn't spoken to her or his little brother in a year and a half. The reasoning is never made very clear. Anyway, Marcus calls and lets his mom and brother know that he is coming for a visit. He shows up late for dinner and then announces he is already going home the very next morning. All the while, he is quite mean to his mom. Nice guy. It's made all the worse by not allowing us to get to know the mom at all. She is one dimensional and hardly has any dialogue.
The "story" has two main topics. The father died of a cerebral aneurysm and the viewer is left wondering if one or both of the brothers is going to suffer the same fate. The film is also about a bicycle race. I would go more into detail but you can guess what is going to happen right from the start. There is no suspense whatsoever.
Throw in what amounts to a McDonald's commercial part way through the movie and you have a real dud. Rae Dawn Chong and Alexandra Paul also star as the brothers' girlfriends. Both give decent performances but it's all for nothing. Writer Steve Tesich was trying to repeat the success he had with his other bicycling movie "Breaking Away". He had obviously run out of original ideas and this film pretty much ended his career in Hollywood.
Most recent customer reviews
Terrific movie, terrific cast.....watch some of these movies folks......forget all the negative Waterworld hype and watch a Kevin Costner movie. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Sandy B
Perfect film for the fan and quassi cycling fan. Kevin Costner plays a might-have been star, who gets his brother to tag along to ride in Hell Of The West (Coors Classic). Read morePublished on June 25 2009 by N. M. Poulton
American Flyers is truly an inspirational film. Finally a movie that addresses the plight of gay male couples in American society. Read morePublished on June 13 2004 by dave
This movie will inspire those who have competed with and against their brother. The fights and the competition between the brothers brings back good memories of how competitive my... Read morePublished on Dec 31 2003 by James
How can people like this piece of trash?What a stinker!I think the dad died from boredom after listening to his two idiot sons. Read morePublished on Dec 12 2003
If you enjoy cycling in any way, recreational or competitive, and enjoyed Hoosiers, then American Flyers is just what the doctor ordered. Read morePublished on May 30 2003
I've seen this movie so many times, I know this film word for word. As a movie, I would rate this film as average, or 3 stars. Read morePublished on Dec 19 2002
In the prime of Greg Lemond's career, this cycling movie was made... none since then- However, this movie delivers an interesting backdrop to a movie, which is at times, too... Read morePublished on April 30 2002 by William Schneider