Everyone has their own definition of what makes a BMX video “great”. Editing, team selection, soundtrack, multitude of bangers – all of these elements combined are what make certain videos stand out from the rest. Web edits flash by the eyes of thousands of riders each day, and most of them are forgotten by the first page refresh, but full-length vids (hopefully) stand the test of time. The invention of the DVD, along with advances in editing & filming equipment made the 2000’s the most progressive period yet for BMX flicks, and this list runs down the decades best. Got a problem? Hash ’em out with me in our forums.
This video could’ve been complete dogshit surrounding Van Homan’s final part and it still would’ve made the top of the list. Luckily for viewers, the LD team at the time consisted of some of the most popular riders of their time, and while it might be the oldest video on the list, most of the footage still stands up to any contemporary clips. From Nate Hanson’s straw-mouthed peg bonks to Marvin’s fury-fueled bike tosses, everything here is gold. As a 17-year old BMX geek, I was lucky enough to attend the CM premier at a now-leveled indie theater in beautiful Binghamton, NY. In all the premiers I’ve been to since, there has never been a video that got as crazy a response as Derek Adams’ masterpiece. As soon as that spraypainted Chevy Caprice hit the screen, the crowd erupted with a howl that I’ve not heard duplicated since. Each passing part merely exacerbated the crowd; by the time Van’s part came to a close, I thought every seat would be torn from the floor and thrown through the screen. Fireworks, bottles and fists flew as riders made their way from the exits. The Forward premier the following spring was heavily secured, and with good reason.
Rooftop & Ruben might have two of the most opposite styles in BMX, but they both manage to fit perfectly into Dave Parrick’s 2002 Etnies-branded flick. Parrick’s most intricate film, featuring a diverse cast of thrasher from the East, West, mid-coast & beyond, Forward managed to live up to the years of hype that preceeded its debut. You can’t fuck with the style of Taj, speed of Stricker and precision of Freimuth. Also, this is one of the 3 videos on the list to be released before the death of VHS tapes, so all you “collectors” can go dig the bargain bin at the local Bike N’ Hike, you might find a copy.
(Shreditors Note: Due to the magic of Youtube and copyright infringement lawsuits, sometimes you will find an video part with the music missing. Savvy uploaders have taken to re-editing parts to their own song selections, but this kid chose to just help out Rick Ross’ beat and record his own version of “Hustlin”. Brilliant.)
The Trend/Empire family has a long history of great shop vids, and Chill Bro! is easily their best yet. Aaron Ross whips & hustles his way into the hearts of the collective BMX world. Tony Cardona puts down his bindle long enough to crank out a 2-minute blast of wallrides and kick outs. Austin’s BMX prodigy, Chase Hawk, is given the final spot of the DVD, showing up every trail kid to ever grace 9th Street. Hawk & Black Sabbath go together as well as bong rips and Sleep records.
Animal Bikes began as a no-frills street company, shilling pegs and sprockets all over the East Coast in 2000. The simplicity of their marketing & product line, along with a diverse team of riders from all across the country lent itself to an excellent series of videos; the crown jewel being Can I Eat? There isn’t any filler, and you won’t find any intricate film tricks, but you do get a diverse soundtrack and a wide-range of riding styles that inspired a whole new generation of street riders. Vic Ayala & Edwin put NYC back on the map. Debbie Harry coaxes Bob Scerbo’s icepicks and rail moves for his most solid part yet. The hightlight, however, is Steven Hamilton. Garrett Byrnes might have popularized pegless street riding years prior, but the creativity of Hamilton almost makes Byrnes an afterthought. His ability to turn the most unrideable spot into a virtual skatepark coaxed hundreds of bad web edits for the last half of the decade. He might be absolutely kookednow, but expect a return to glory in the next team DVD, due out this year.
I’ll admit, I’m not a huge advocate of fancy editing & “innovate” camera work. I can respect the effort of videographers looking to break up the monotony of clip-clip-clip sections, but there are times when flash animation & fades are taken too far. Jordan Utley, however, does an amazing job of making the look & feel of That’s It! match the intensity of the Utah shops’ massively skilled team. Dave Thompson, who I’d never heard of prior to TI!, starts things off with a shotgun blast of speed, while Cameron Wood scares the piss out of everyone throughout his 5-minute section. Rob Wise proves that he’s Layton’s answer to Van Homan, and Mike Aitken deservedly gets the final part, cementing his legacy as one of the most skilled & smooth riders to ever grace a 20″.
Square One was a brand that, in retrospect, confused the hell out of me. They never really had a well-defined image, and went through various owners & retail outlets, but no matter what the incarnation, the most lasting part of their legacy was Wide Awake Nightmare. Names like Chris Doyle, Corey Martinez, Kris Bennett & Brian Wizmerski make this 2004 release well worth searching for.
The 2000’s were a period where BMX videos seemed to take themselves way too seriously. Lots of web hype, over-editing and “epic” music selections took a lot of the fun and excitement out of grabbing a new DVD from your local shop. Banned 3 erases the boring mistakes of the past decade and brings back the rawness that’s been missing from BMX since the Baco days. Many of the featured riders in Banned were relative unknowns, but it didn’t really matter; the balls-out moves combined with the perfect mix of general debauchery gave the Florida natives instant notoriety. If there is any video of the last 10 years I’d most like to see video producers emulate, it’s Banned 3. Drop the film burns & ledge dancing, kids, and get fucking sketchy.
Before their nasty breakup, Robbie Morales & Chris Moeller managed to create one of the strongest brands in all of contemporary BMX, and Fit Life is the perfect representation of their efforts. Brian Foster & Van Homan dial in amazing sections, and the BMX world was formally introduced to guys like Eddie Cleveland & Chase Dehart. My only gripe is the Chad Muska intro; Rob-o, we know you have an affinity for skateboarders, but I don’t need some washed-up b-boy introducing a bike video. Disregarding that, A+ on all accounts.
Prior to their 4th release, FBM had a history of producing mixtapes of chaos; Crandall’s concoctions were filled with footage of East Coast legends and no-names, marinated in piss, ashes & broken glass. Following the legendary Albert St., the FBM boys switched to a more traditional format, giving each member of the then-prolific team their own section. As great as the clips of Tag, Scerbo, Ayala, and the rest of the team are, my favorite part will always be Kelly Baker’s. Looking tough as hell and still pulling supermans at age 40, Baker manages to smile even when eating shit. A country boy can survive, indeed.
This is probably my most debated pick, but full sections by a (healthy for once) Jimmy Levan and Sean Burns eek this 2008 release onto the list. While not necessarily filled with the cleanest editing or smoothest landings, this is as rock & roll as BMX gets, and brought some much needed attention back to the Metal brand. Only thing missing is Mike Griffin’s kickflips.