Film Review: 10 MPH, 10 Yards

i-a7d76e53b8686a92438f56d65bd7dedc-10yards.jpgWhen I was offered a review copy of the new documentary film 10 Yards Fantasy Football, I replied, “No use sending that to a guy with no interest either in real nor imaginary football. But please do send me your award-winning 2006 Segway documentary road movie, 10 MPH Seattle to Boston!”. Film makers Hunter Weeks and Josh Caldwell kindly decided to send me both films, and it turned out I was right. I liked 10 MPH with its beautiful landscape footage and charming roadside interviews. It has my recommendation, for what that’s worth to a movie that’s already won the award for best documentary at numerous festivals.

10 Yards, however, is IMHO strictly for those tens of millions of people who take an interest in American football. I understood little of it, and while I can see the same fine cinematic craftsmanship here as in 10 MPH, I quickly got bored with the content.

Fantasy football is a huge fan pastime where players assemble imaginary teams at the start of the football season, each made up of actual players scattered across many actual teams. Then you follow your players game by game and add up their accomplishments according to certain scoring rules. Thus, at the end of the season, your fantasy team may win its fantasy league. Along the way you make friends with the other fantasy football managers. Seems like a perfectly reasonable hobby to someone like myself, who likes to play boardgames and has hunted down hundreds of tupperware boxes under stones in the woods using his GPS navigator. But it’s not my hobby. More importantly, it’s a completely non-visual hobby.

I don’t know if the film makers were aiming to reach a non-football-literate audience with this film. In 10 MPH, we see them do something pretty grandiose that they have never done before: they ride a slow vehicle across the US on small back roads where there is a lot to see. Here, instead, we see them engage in a rather mundane hobby that’s been part of their lives for years.

Weeks and Caldwell are good at what they do. For their next project, I hope they will once more take on a subject that is unfamiliar to them and has some level of wider appeal. I have no doubt that they will then be able to make another film as fine as 10 MPH.

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Comments

  1. #1 DianaGainer
    January 14, 2009

    Let’s see them take on something like a real boardgame — say, Monopoly, the king of all boardgames, especially as played by families, with the kind of rules that expand over the years, bent for the younger players, tightened for the adults, throwing in new ones to make it more interesting, lots of shouting and getting red in the face when someone has probably invented a new rule, the box lid has long ago been lost, so no one can prove what the real rules are, but that someone is insisting with a poker face that he’s acting perfectly lawfully by putting this hotel on his square without having bought any houses first and you’d better pay up! Meanwhile the bank is quietly slipping $500 into the poorest player’s pockets behind the screamers’ backs, just to keep the game going a little longer. Now that I might just watch! No, no, I take that back. Been there, done that.

  2. #2 Trin Tragula
    January 14, 2009

    Here’s a couple of Scandinavia-themed movies that might be more your style:
    Dead Snow is a Zombie Nazi flick set in Norway.
    Outlander is a Vikings vs. Aliens action film.

  3. #3 Hunter Weeks
    January 15, 2009

    Thanks for the write up on 10 MPH and 10 Yards! Next up, I’m working on a film with Mike Dion about the world’s longest (and toughest) mountain bike race in the Rockies. It spans 2700 miles from Canada to the US/Mexico border. Totally self-supported. Thanks again – @hunterweeks