What are people saying about the Jimmy Levan Documentary?
The reviews are in!
Review by Stuart Fenton
Go Fast Pull Up is a triumph of epic proportions that will make any BMXer proud of our culture, proud of what it stands for and proud of one of our Forefathers, Jimmy LeVan. Three years in the making, it is a clear labour of love for Chris Rye and co-producer Will Smyth who'd originally approached Chris at PROPS with the idea of making the movie as a follow up to DIG’s Garrett Byrnes documentary ‘Coming Down’; which he’d previously commissioned from Stew Johnson. Chris ran with the idea and took it to another level, putting an enormous amount of effort put into sourcing original video imagery and testimonials from those that lived those key moments with Mr LeVan.
An obvious point that struck me whilst watching the film, is that Jimmy LeVan is a super talented bike rider (seriously!). I am familiar with his latter day career but I had no idea he raced at such a high level and the scenes that focus on his X-Games escapades are indicative of how well he was able to make the jump to dirt. To start at A. (racing) and end up at B. (the cutting edge of street riding), via dirt jumping in the middle, is the absolute epitome of freestyle and is played out perfectly on screen with vivid colour and description.
Jimmy comes across as a hugely magnetic personality and free spirit on and off the bike. Like the key riders of their era he fully influenced BMX culture outside of riding in that people copied the way he dressed and wore their hair. He never played by the rules and nor did he purposely go out to break them; which is everything a free spirit should be. This is evident in the way he rode his bike through landmark moments from perfectly flat Bar Hops (which look insane), pioneering Toothpick hangers and the iconic Austin Church Gap. The documentary does a fantastic job of breaking down his signature moments and presents an analysis of his thought process and approach to these moments of magic. There is a tendency to view massive gaps as simply huge displays of bravery, but Go Fast Pull Up presents both Jimmys vision and skill in these situations. The Austin Church Gap was such an influential feat in that Jimmy was literally jumping from one era to another and taking the entirety of BMX culture with him. These scenes help our understanding of these spectacles and add further emphasis to Jimmy's genius on a bike.
"The Austin Church Gap was such an influential feat in that Jimmy was literally jumping from one era to another and taking the entirety of BMX culture with him."
- Stuart Fenton
As he moved onto the formation of Metal Bikes Jimmy helped define the zeitgeist of BMX of the early 2000's through classic rock, parody logos and a Keith Richards attitude to riding bikes. If Metal was a 'scratch and sniff' it would have stunk of stale whiskey, burnt brake pads and fresh blood (you get the picture). People really bought into the brand and, by association, bought into what Jimmy was all about. Jimmy was Metal Bikes and Metal Bikes was Jimmy and the two are completely synonymous with each other.
Those familiar with Jimmy's story know that his later years were surrounded by intrigue and obscurity. GFPU is tinged with real sadness for this reason as we learn that repeated head injuries and a big accident while skateboarding have had a terrifying and long term impact on his life. It's hugely sad to see that a guy who gave everything to BMX has struggled with health problems. This in the context of the helmet debate, awareness of CTE and Dave Mirra really brings the viewer back down to earth with a bang. GFPU reminds us that we have the Jimmy Levan's of the world around in BMX for such a short time and that we should cherish every moment they are on a bike. Likewise the film evokes important questions about the after care of our heroes once they leave BMX. Could and should we be doing more?
Unlike skateboarding we don't have much in the way of documentation of our history but we are now blessed with a wonderful snapshot of a prosperous era in BMX and one of its main protagonists. Go Fast Pull Up was the perfect motto for Jimmy to ride and live by and the film perfectly brings the viewer along for the ride. PROPS and DIG via the direction of Rye, have achieved something that is more than simply the story of a bike rider that feels grander in scope, emotion and appeal to anything we've had in BMX before. Is it too early to start an Oscars campaign? - Stuart Fenton
"It brings a tear to your eye and a smile to your face." - Garrett Byrnes
“An absolute triumph of a production.” - Matt Barton
"You gotta get this. You gotta learn the history." - Robbie Morales
“As good as any documentary made by anyone anywhere.” - Robert Vasey
“Will make you laugh, make your heart pound and make you fucking cry.” - @lcirricione
“Beautiful. Absolutely inspiring.” - James Covington
“Told Jimmy’s story so well in ways that made me laugh and cry.” - Brendan Thompson
“Seriously amazing.” - Trey Jones
“Exceptional. Engaging and fucking exciting.” - Greg Walsh
“Top work. What a watch!” - Dave Sowerby
“Stellar watch.” - Stew Johnson
“Fucking amazing.” - Brian Castillo
"A Turbulent and epic BMX journey." - Steven Hamilton
“Work of art.” @hardcopy_bmx_archive
“Really, really good.” - Brian Wizmerski
"Captures the essence of a true rock-n-roll BMX legend" - Steve Crandall
GO FAST PULL UP ‘The Jimmy Levan Story’ - A Feature length BMX documentary IS OUT NOW!
UK/EUROPE - http://www.digbmxstore.com
US/ROW BIke shops: propsbmx
UK/Euro Bike shops: 4down
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