Best fuckin movie EVER?

Folks this week I’m gonna cut right to the chase. I have just seen a movie that is new to dvd that is VERY likely the BEST FUCKIN MOVIE EVER. This is a movie many of you have probaly never seen and hell I never even HEARD of this piece until the other day however it is, for those of you just joining us, the BEST FUCKIN MOVIE EVER.

Now I have been tallying and calculating votes for the top 100 Badass Films of All Time and this picture has not received one vote. And I’m not complainin because this is not a Badass picture per se. It is more of a drama than an action film and is more about feeling and sentiment than about attitude and breaking a motherfucker’s arms or whatever.

The name of the picture is Knightriders, a film directed by George A. Romero in 1980. It was one of those movies that did very poorly at the box office and was never heard of again…. until it came to dvd and most people discovered that it was the BEST FUCKIN MOVIE EVER.

The picture opens with a whisp of mystical medeival flute and a black raven flying through a forest. A young Ed Harris and a pretty gal wake up naked in the woods. Ed bathes in the pond, meditates on his sword. He puts on his armor, the gal puts on her crown. She stands behind him and embraces him. The music grows triumphant as he pulls down his face shield and revs up his motorcycle.

Yes, this is a picture about knights who ride motorcycles. And that is only one of the reasons why it is the BEST etc. etc.

Ed is King Billy or Sir William, the leader of a troupe of individuals who travel around the country and hold renaissance fair type deals. This is where everybody dresses up like knights and monks and shit and pretend its hundreds of years ago. They sell swords and maces and wine and all this type of garbage. It is basically the same as Star Trek conventions only without action figures or that fucking kid from Trekkies with the camper shaped like a spaceship.

KnightridersThe reason why this type of behavior is considered acceptable to ol’ Vern is on account of the motorcycles. You see the main attraction is that they joust on motorcycles. There is a whole lot of motorcycle stunts in this movie – people crashing into cars, flying into lakes, going off of ramps. They even got a motorcycle that gets loose and smacks right into a gal in the audience. This is good stuff as far as knights on motorcycles type stunts go.

And yet, like I said, this is not an action picture. It is really a melodrama and a poem about living by your ideals. Most of these characters are just a bunch of real good friends, a bunch of hippies and bikers who like to dress up in armor and joust together. But the King takes it a little more to heart. He is an individual who really stands up for his beliefs. He refuses for example to pay off the cops who threaten to shut down the show if they don’t pay him off. Instead he tells them to shove it up their ass. Then he willingly goes to jail until things are straightened out and makes a solemn vow to the cop that some day he will kick the shit out of him. And King Billy lives by his word.

The code of honor theme really starts rolling when a little kid shows the King a motorcycle magazine with pictures of the knight riders and asks for his autograph. Billy refuses to sign it and says that he is not about that.

Afterwards the queen argues with the king. The troupe is running out of money. Embracing fame does not mean compromise. Why couldn’t he be nice to that kid who idolizes him.

“That kid… that, that kid… thinks I’m Evil Kneivel!”

“That kid thinks you’re Billy Davis. Sir William the knight. You’re his hero.”

“I’m not trying to be a hero! I’M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!”

This is when you first realize that the King is a little bit, uh, fucked in the brains. He’s one nut short of a sack. But maybe you have to be crazy in order to be a purist in this world, in order to really do what is right for your heart and what not.

The story is mainly about how a sleazy entertainment agent discovers the troupe and tries to turn them into a hot “act”. A group of disillusioned knights led by Sir Morgan (Tom Savini, who was so great on the commentary track for Maniac as well as this one) takes up the offer and we see the clash between the ones who “get a spiritual fix” out of the knightrider lifestyle and the ones who are willing to give that up if it means glamour and money and floating around smoking pot in swimming pools with hot chicks (and one fat one).

But it’s not what it sounds like. Hell I am a Writer but I don’t know how to do justice to this one with the words. It’s not an exploitation movie and its not really funny. It is 145 minutes long and it is sad and moving and reaffirms everything I believe in and reminds me to stand up for my ideals 24-7.

You know how all those dudes feel about Braveheart? You know who I’m talking about. Well that is how I feel about Knightriders. One reason why it is the best fuckin movie ever is because of its sincerity. It is sort of like how Billy Jack is an action movie with all those corny left wing ideals mixed in. Well this is the same kind of thing with better writing and acting and directing and especially singing, and not quite as corny. And with knights on motorcycles.

George A. Romero obviously made this film as a reflection of his life as an independant filmatist. The cast and crew were living this lifestyle and enjoying it. It becomes very personal and real and if you listen to the commentary track on the dvd you can tell that they really believed in this. And hell, they should.

Most people start out life with dreams of all the great things they want to do. They want to write movies or do ballet or be the first bank robber to be widely accepted by the mainstream or whatever. But then as they get older and they realize that they’re not as talented as they always thought and things aren’t as easy as they had hoped they give up and settle in to their 9-5 and forget about chasing dreams and even resent people who do. This movie is about doing the opposite.

The character Merlin is a doctor who quit medicine to become a mystical healer and storyteller for the knightriders. The backgrounds of the other characters is not revealed but I think King Billy may be a former pro motorcycle racer who quit the life to follow this dream. Fight Club says that we’ve been raised to believe we’ll become rock stars and movie gods, but we won’t. This movie says that we can, but FUCK THAT. Why would we want to? Instead we should carve out our own lifestyles. We should dedicate our lives to the things we like best, regardless of money. We should be knightriders. Outlaws.

The movie plunges us into this lifestyle and shows us why it’s so good. These are people who like to joust and swashbuckle and build weapons and sit around the campfire singing “Sygnifyin’ Monkey.” They like to chase the bikers that steal their rubber axes and trick them into crashing their bikes. By the end you have so much invested in the lifestyle that anything that threatens to fuck with it upsets you. Sir William is a symbol for the true outlaw hero we should aspire to be, because he lives his entire life by his own code of honor. He refuses to buckle down to pig oppression, to sell out for money, to live any other way. He takes all of the substance of being a knight of camelot and gets rid of all that sissy horse riding shit because he is so good at riding motorcycles instead. And unlike Fight Club or The Beach the Knightrider Club does not go sour, and will live on forever. God damn I love it.

This is a truly beautiful and poetic knights on motorcycles movie, one of the best you will ever see and god damn it if it didn’t make ol’ Vern cry. I love this fucking movie. I mean it, I love the shit out of this movie. It is the BEST FUCKIN MOVIE EVER. Take this movie, add in a couple of Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen’s best, and you have everything I know and believe about what it means to be a man. Minus what I learned in the can.

I don’t want to give away anything else but please, if you are in the mood to see a GREAT FUCKING MOVIE please rent this bitch and let me know what you think. Hell, I’m gonna put it all on the line – if you rent this movie, and you think it sucks, I give you my 100% guarantee that I will call you a retard.

“I mean it’s real hard to live for something that you believe in. People try it and then they get tired of it, like they get tired of their diets, their exercise or their marriage. Or their kids. Or their job. Or themselves. Or they get tired of their god. You can keep your money you make off this sick world, lawyer, I don’t want any part of it.”

Hell, the other knights have a point when they talk about ways to earn some money to help the group survive. I sure know how they feel. But I would like to live by Sir William’s code. If you think I’m getting tired of it, or leaving my ideals behind, please let me know. Send me an e-mail or throw a brick through my window I don’t give a fuck. I want to live by the outlaw code. I’M FIGHTING THE DRAGON.

Knightriders forever

thanks,

Vern

This entry was posted on Monday, July 31st, 2000 at 1:08 pm and is filed under Vern Tells It Like It Is. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

25 Responses to “Best fuckin movie EVER?”

  1. I thought maybe if I commented here, it’d bring this astonishing film to someone’s attention. It’s late, I’m not tired, and I have no desire to achieve anything that requires leaving this chair, but if someone glances at the recent comments and somehow discovers KNIGHTRIDERS then my insomnia will have discovered the grace and purpose of its existence. Goodnight, good sirs.

    Also, that Tom Savini’s got some moves.

  2. Alfonse, to my shame I must admit that I have never seen this movie. But I just ordered it on account of rereading this review, which your comment brought to my attention. Sleep the sleep of the just, my friend.

  3. Been reading your writings for a long time now. Just finished watching this movie and was pleasantly surprised. My second non-zombie movie from Romero I saw ( The Crazies the other one ) and what a good one! Cant say for myself if it is the best fucking movie ever, but a very good one nontheless!

  4. The 30th Anniversary of Knightriders is Saturday, April 10th, 2011. Celebrate this excellent picture by re-watching it or, even better, sharing it with a friend. Or if, like me, you live close enough, travel to the film’s principal filming locations in Pennsylvania. More information can be found at: http://www.filminglocationsdetectives.com/films/knight_riders.htm

  5. Whoops. The 10th is a Sunday.

  6. Man, I love that movie and that poster is awesome.

    This might sound like heresy but Knightriders is one of those movies I would not mind seeing remade. It’s pretty good but I never thought the movie lived up to its premise.

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  10. Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it out.

  11. is that a severed Ed Harris action figure head?

  12. Whenever I watch “Best fuckin´movie EVER?” I always get emotional about it. I wish I had a set of ideals that I could stand by no matter what. But since life seem to be about compromising all the ideals usually gets thrown out of the window. It makes me sad and angry.

  13. This is literally one of my very favorite films. I mean no horse shit, “desert island” kind of favorite. I have the same kind of weepy “man tears” reaction that you do to it, Vern. Everything, about living the life that you want and that makes you the happiest despite the pressures of the outside world really resonated with me. Every once in a while, when I’m working my truly dull office job I’ll think about “Knightriders” and know I should be trying to be more like Billy. Even if he is a little crazed, a character that lives for noble goals is a character to be admired. It’s truly a beautiful, yet supremely bad ass piece of cinema. I have no idea why its not a more popular with the the Larp/DnD/WoW crowd. You’d think it’d be mentioned along with films like the original Conan and ,like you name checked in your review, Braveheart.

    Everything about it is wonderful. Rich characters, amazing brutal stunt work, and again..just beautiful concepts and ideas.

    One of my very favorite pieces of movie memorabilia is a signed mini-poster of the theatrical one sheet you linked in the review, signed by Romero and the artist, Boris Vallejo.

    Why isn’t this review listed under “Knightriders”, by the way? I kind of just stumbled across the review by accident.

    Anyway, Keep fighting the dragon, Vern

  14. This shit is about to hit bluray over here with some serious extras like a commentary by Romero and fucking posters,booklets and shit. I love this movie more than the movie loves me, but that´s ok. It´s the kind of onesided love I can accept.

  15. Matt – this review was written as my column Vern Tells It Like It Is that I wrote weekly back then. But you’ve convinced me that it’s more important to tell people about the movie then to have historically accurate organizing of my writings. So I just changed it.

    I gotta watch this again when the blu-ray hits.

  16. But the way to find it was always the alphabetical listing where it was listed as KNIGHTRIDERS! Wasn’t seeing “The best fuckin movie ever” more interesting as the linked article title in Recent Comments and the VTILII list?

  17. Oh yeah, it does show up. I switched it back.

  18. Knightriders awareness spreads! This review remains the definitive writing on the film, but Cracked.com has a story about it. It is extremely superficial and never once brings up concepts like honor, dignity, righteousness, sadness, inspiration, or poetry, but I’m just happy for the potential for it to reach a wider audience.

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-insane-moments-from-manliest-movie-ever-made/

  19. Shout Factory is putting it out on blu-ray in November. I bet it will get lots of good reviews and new converts then.

  20. I finally got my hands of a copy of this on Blu, and I couldn’t agree with Vern more. KNIGHTRIDERS is a unique film. On the surface it is about a group of carneys struggling to make ends meet as they travel from town to town hosting renaissance festivals/LARPing events centered around staged mid evil motorcycle duels, but the core of the story is about a king who knows his crown and kingdom are in jeopardy and his struggles to “fight the dragon” and keep his kingdom from crumbling. To some that may sound silly and at first glance it kind of is but there is nothing silly about a man trying to stick to his principles and care for others in the face of greed and materialism and I was genuinely moved by the film’s final act. This really is a great film that I wish I had seen sooner.

    PS: Tom Savini is so awesome in this film. This may be his best performance.

  21. I’m glad you liked it Charles. I picked up the blu-ray right away but stupidly haven’t watched it yet. Maybe when I do I’ll want to do a re-review.

  22. I just ordered a copy of KNIGHTRIDERS. It god damn took me awhile to get around to it. I am very excited to see it again by the same reasons Charles mentions why it is so good. I am also happy to see a lot of extras on it as always with the Arrow Films/Cult labs genre releases. Expensive but you always get a good product for your money.

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