Cyclepiece Theater: A Verhoeven Double Feature

There are pros and cons to riding indoors vs. riding outside. On the one hand, when you’re riding outside you get to experience terrain change and adjust accordingly — you can work hard to climb hills, coast on descents to give your legs a break, etc. You also don’t have to worry about creating a lake of sweat underneath you when you’re moving along an actual bike route, and your place won’t smell like wet feet and buttcrack when you’re done with your ride.

Riding indoors, however, gives you some nice luxuries — you don’t necessarily have to get up super early to begin your workout, you’re always near a bathroom, and you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel or getting in a crash. These are all nice perks, but my absolute favorite reason for cycling at home is the obvious one, and that is I can watch whatever crap I want for the duration of my workout.

Jason and I watch a lot of movies when we ride. We watch TV too, but usually save the DVR’d shows for shorter recovery rides and opt for full-length movies or TV on DVD for longer workouts. Our preferences typically include the following:

  • something with subtitles so we don’t have to blast the volume too loud
  • no heavy dramas or depressing crap that can suck the cadence right out of you; this means we usually end up watching a lot of mindless action movies or lighthearted comedies
  • something that’s long enough to last the entire ride (either we’ll watch a bunch of TV episodes in a row or we’ll try to find a movie with a running time that matches closely with our workout)

I thought I’d try to chronicle some of the movies we watch while cycling in a segment I’ve coined Cyclepiece Theater. My first two entries come from the Paul Verhoeven collection, my favorite guilty pleasure director. Two weekends in a row we watched some awesome vintage Verhoeveny goodness.


Pretty accurate depiction of Detroit

Genre: Action

Year Released: 1987

Running Time: 102 minutes

Awesome?: Yes!

Memorable Quote: “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.”

Lesson Learned: Crime doesn’t pay! Also, in Verhoeven-envisioned futures, men and women share locker rooms because they are sooooo progressive (see also the Starship Troopers communal shower scene).

When I first met my friend Matt and told him I was from Detroit (I’m not, but saying “I’m from Detroit” to people who aren’t from Michigan is better than saying “I’m from 40 miles outside of Detroit”), he perked up and said, “Oh, really? I don’t know anything about Detroit — do you guys just have a bunch of RoboCops wandering around the city policing it?” Dude, I wish! That’d be supremely awesome. Alas, I have to make do with watching it while doing a dumb cycling workout. Boo.

The movie holds up well, although you might be weirded out seeing the dad from That 70’s Show acting like a total dickwad to the entire population of Detroit. It’s a good one to cycle to — you’ll get caught up watching Peter Weller transform into RoboCop while his partner who had been paired up with him for literally less than a day feels an inexplicable bond with him (it’s like those d-bags you barely spoke to in high school who are now all of a sudden coming out of the woodwork to friend you on Facebook because OMG REMEMBER WHEN YOU BOTH WENT TO THE SAME HIGH SCHOOL?! BESTIES 4 LIFE!!). He mops up the street while Clarence Boddicker mops his toxic waste-soaked henchman off his windshield (that scene is so nasty-cool).

The actual citizens of Detroit want to erect a statue of RoboCop and are planning to pay for it out of pocket after Mayor McAsshole shot down the idea. I am in full support of this movement; if RoboCop inspires me to get through a Sunday morning workout, he can definitely rally an apocalyptically poor city to flourish and thrive once again.

Total Recall

Ahnuld. Mahs.

Genre: Action

Year Released: 1990

Running Time: 113 minutes

Awesome?: Yes!

Memorable Quote: “Get your ass to Mars!”

Lesson Learned: If you’re trying to sneak through interplanetary customs dressed as a towering fat woman, pre-record more than one phrase. Also, three boobs is one boob too many.

Total Recall has everything: a sheisty Sharon Stone, Arnold making his standard gutteral noises that he passes off as acting, a midget hooker, a mutant renegade leader attached to some dude’s chest, and the evil executive bad guy from RoboCop playing an evil executive bad guy. The special effects are still pretty good despite the weird Arnold puppet face when he’s extracting the tracking device from his nose (and, of course, minus Three Boobweirdchestington).

It’s Inception-lite, meaning you could spend the duration of your ride wondering whether Arnold is actually trapped in a dream state or if he’s really living out this Martian adventure. Considering it’s an action movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’m thinking you should go with the less cerebral option and save your thinking cap for when you watch Jingle All the Way and wonder where the last shreds of his dignity went.

One Response to “ “Cyclepiece Theater: A Verhoeven Double Feature”

  1. Sara Keogh says:

    You will need to keep posting these spin movie recommendations – it’s a good theme. I still remember the day Mark opted out of YET ANOTHER Ironman DVD at Sunday spin and went with GI Jane instead. Great stuff, great stuff.

    And, maybe we have discussed this before, but I’m from East Detroit? Did we already discuss that? I’m getting old, so it’s likely we did and I just forgot about it.

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