Reviewed at AFI/L.A. Film Festival, Oct. 25, 1997. Running time: 73 MIN.
With: Martin Tobias, Alex Landes, “Liddo” Jim Cornett, “Scorpio” Cornett, Ilene Murphy, Andy Grow, others.
Part sociological portrait, part road trip and part romantic adventure, Adam Berman’s feature docu “Biker Dreams” provides a mildly engaging look at the Harley-Davidson subculture and its diverse membership. Pic is a bit tedious and not sufficiently entertaining for theatrical display; cut down to its 40 minutes of interesting footage, docu could screen on TV and cable.
At the center of the film is a romantic couple, Martin and Alex, who take their first motorcycle trip together from Seattle to Sturgis, S.D. Following the duo closely, Berman records their anxieties prior to the trip and periodic stops along the way, with the lovers addressing the camera directly, sharing with the audience their joys and apprehensions.
Far more revelatory and exciting arethe interviews with half-dozen bikers who differ in age, gender and values. Fun-loving old-timers “Liddo” and “Scorpio” Cornett, a married couple, talk about their club membership and the gratification they derive from riding the all-American bike. Other bikers talk about accidents and show off their scars like badges of honor.
Also recorded are testimonies by metal sculptors, including noted Harley-Davidson artist Arlen Ness; Vietnam-vet bikers; Willie Davidson, grandson of the company founder; and other eccentric members. “Biker Dreams” concludes with a rather exciting scene in Sturgis, at the annual Harley gathering that draws over 150,000 bikers.
Tech credits, particularly Andrea Rossotto’s lensing, are crisp.