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Dan Wegmueller: A movie that's re cycle, not recycled
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Folks, I am sad to say that not much has changed, even with the coming of the New Year.

Darn it, and I was hoping 2008 would magically transmogrify (a little Calvin and Hobbes lingo there) into an era of productive, forward thinking. No such luck!

Having just checked my e-mail, I can assure you that the MSN Web site still is offering recycled hits such as, "Where does Pam [Anderson] rank in 2008?" Furthermore, O.J. Simpson still is making news, there still is talk of a Clinton administration, and for the second time since the '80s, there is a Bush in the White House. By the way, Pam Anderson has been gross since the Cold War; why should 2008 be any different?

At least I have the movie theatres to turn to when I am searching for an escape into new, groundbreaking territory! Let's see, there's "Cloverfield," replete with scenes of soldiers shooting skyward at an evil, undisclosed force while the Statue of Liberty's head rolls down the streets of Manhattan ... wait a second - iconic American national monuments being destroyed by a sinister, evil entity and a major city under siege; has this been done before? Will Smith takes on a world of vampire ghouls, but I think Wesley Snipes did something similar last decade - I may be wrong. Perhaps a witty romantic comedy will lift my spirits, but I can already guess the plot: guy meets girl, girl dumps him for a metrosexual dweeb, guy dresses up like a penguin and makes a fool of himself to win girl back, girl takes guy back because she realizes how dumb they both are and after all, two stupids cancel each other out, right?

Speaking of relationships, I found closure in one just last week. Let's face it - when something withers on the vine for two months, with both parties lacking the fortitude to take a stand, it is time to part ways. As a mentor of mine once said, "Make it a clean break - don't drag things out." Ignorantly, I had half-expected things to change. But, things don't change, as timelessly illustrated by O.J., Pam, MSN, Washington, D.C., and Hollywood.

Last week I finally took a stand, doing what was "right." Free of the burden I came home, but the house was not empty. Fortunately I had expected this - responsibilities do not magically disappear, which is why I had picked up fuel conditioner and polish while shopping in Monroe. The illusion of a January thaw long since vanished, I finally decided to winterize my motorcycle. It was not easy, as no breakup is. I had put 15,000 miles on my supersport crotch rocket over the season, including the Seattle/Vancouver excursion with fellow enthusiast Stewbert. Chain oil was caked and baked in odd places, gravel stones wedged between fairings, and bug guts literally cemented to the leading edges. As a final testament to the finality of the relationship, I parked Genevieve the Elite in her special secluded corner of the garage and slipped the cover over her until spring. It was over.

Like any guy, I was in the mood for a quick, uncommitted rebound. I needed something to pick me up, fast. Thus, a movie night was organized at my house with a couple of my best friends, Kim and Stewbert. They had both recommended the same motorcycle-racing flick to me.

Although I remember when "The World's Fastest Indian" came out, I had never paid it much attention. It does not feature the Statue of Liberty's head rolling down the streets of Manhattan, nor does it include vampires or hopelessly repetitive plot twists dripping with romantic sap. Simply, "Indian" is about a guy who possesses a lifelong dream of racing his motorcycle.

"The World's Fastest Indian" is a true story. The movie is based on a man who actually lived. His name was Burt Munro, from New Zealand, which is close to Australia - already I like this movie. In 1920, Burt stood gazing at a brand new Indian Scout motorcycle (motoh-SICKLE). It was brand new at the time, with leaf springs, V-twin engine and gleaming red paint.

From a 1920 Indian Scout, Burt Munro built himself a formidable race bike. He cast his own pistons, drilled his own cylinders, cut his own tires. The film follows Munro's journey from New Zealand to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Once there, the aging Munro is pitted against gleaming, corporate-sponsored speed demons. His rough, outdated little Indian at first draws smiles and chuckles.

I will not give away any more of the plot. All I will say is that "The World's Fastest Indian" is possibly the most enjoyable movie I have seen - ever. Filmed by the New Zealand Film Commission, "Indian" is patently non-Hollywood. It contains no ridiculous plot twists that typify a Hollywood movie and set it apart from believable real life. The movie is about a real guy doing something pretty darn amazing - and entertaining! Like the jacket boasts, "Based on one hell of a true story."

Having put my motorcycle away for the winter, Burt's message rang clear: "Anyone can buy a fast bike and go fast..." My bike, a 2006 Yamaha R1 supersport with 180 horsepower is exceptionally fast. I have gone faster than 150 mph on my motorcycle. But, Burt Munro's self-made 1920 Indian Scout is faster, with its leaf springs and two-cylinder engine.

Anthony Hopkins plays Burt Munro, and his portrayal is brilliant and enjoyable from the moment he trims his toenails with a cylinder hone, to his arsonist method of mowing his lawn, to the way he smooth-talks his way through the Bonneville tech inspection. The story is inspiring, uplifting and simple. It is truly remarkable that a movie without eye-popping special effects or sappy plot twists can be fantastic, but "The World's Fastest Indian" is just that.

And, for the record, Pamela Anderson will always be gross.

- Dan Wegmueller of Monroe writes a weekly column for Friday editions of the Times. He can be reached at