In Riding Giants, a surfer dude compares riding a wave to a relationship with a woman. In Dana Brown’s Dust to Glory, a racer compares the uncompromising Baja desert to a girl trying to break his heart. Guys are funny like that, but these romantic analogies are actually rather endearing—they truly convey the deep-rooted bonds between men and the sports they love. In Dust to Glory, champions of the Baja 1000 reminisce about their favorite race, the history of the landscape they scale, and their relationship to the friends that fix their vehicles and the family that rides by their side. The occasion is the 2003 Baja 1000, when Mike “Mouse” McCoy looked to become the first man on a motorbike to ride the entire race solo. McCoy’s story isn’t the only one that’s compelling: So is the story of the rider who grapples with his role as a hero to a young Mexican boy and the story of JN Roberts, who defies his age by getting back on his bike after a nasty fall. Brown weaves a fast-flying tapestry of talking heads, historical and personal anecdotes, twists of fate, and landscape shots at once poetic and sinister, but makes the mistake of having Nathan Furst score the thing to within an inch of its life. Seriously, I don’t think there’s a single second from Dust to Glory that isn’t damningly scored with variations and remixes of whore-y James Horner and James Newton Howard compositions: when racers talk about their loved ones, the music turns family-friendly; when competitors race through silt storms, it’s Hidalgo all over again; and when a Hispanic man starts to discuss about his role in the Class 11 section of the race, the condescending score suddenly suggests “DreamWorks Logo: The Piñata Mix.” It’s a creative decision that can only be described as pathological, and it must be heard in order to be believed—in the end, it’s not unlike watching that Lord of the Rings trailer that uses the Requiem for a Dream music on loop for 90 minutes. The doc’s music and zippy fonts may help to attract those with short attention spans, but it considerably dumbs down Brown’s genuinely intelligent material and thesis.
- Dana Brown
- Dana Brown
- Jimmy Vasser, Robbie Gordon, Ivan Stewart, Mike Groff, Robbie Groff, Michele Jourdain Jr., Robert Guerrero, Mike "Mouse" McCoy, Johnny Campbell, Ryan Arciero, Alan Pflueger, Mark Miller, Malcolm Smith, JN Roberts, Jimmy Roberts, Larry Roeseler, Ricky Johnson, Parnelli Jones
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