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Pierre Minhondo has been making snowboard flicks for as long as some snowboarders have been alive. Years ago his vision changed a group of Tahoe scumbags into instant success stories, he then moved on to make a series of movies I didn’t really care about. But “Pretty Wise” is pretty entertaining. Classically uplifting and whimsical, Mr. Minhondo has created something worth watching, and even buying if you’re into the softer, kinder side of life.
Anyway, Will Lavigne opens this movie up. He hits a ton of rails and some of them are really scary looking. Especially this one ledge that closes into a wall. But then the movie shifts radically.
Starting in Whistler with Robbie Walker and Jake Kola, “Pretty Wise” takes us all around the world (kinda) with footage from B.C., Quebec, Austria, Mt. Baker, Alaska and Montana. The footage is a mixture of scenic/moody filler shots, vertigo inducing jump shots, actually great GoPro moments and rail shots that for one reason or another leave something to be desired. But there are highlights, plenty of them.
While in Whistler Robbie and Jake show us how to spin without double corking as Minhondo showcases the land just as it should be, an epic playground of perfect landings surrounded by a heavy and raw wilderness. Also, there is a standout cliff jump montage.
We then head to Quebec where Jason Robinson and Scot Brown actually hit new spots. Prepare yourself for some awesome urban jumping, plenty of flat rails and the coolest rainbow rail ever.
Hop on a plane or just sit back and we end up in Austria. Again, the land is showcased perfectly. This European oddity is shown to be nothing but fun, and filled with floaty powder that blends mountain and town into one amazing place to ride. At this point you’re getting jealous of Rusty Ockenden, Shayne Pospisil, Elias Elhardt and Marco Smolla. Especially when they start their wallride section.
Next up is Mt. Baker. The powder hound’s wet dream. A place where pillow lines meet gaps, jumps and a world built for men willing to die for the ride of their life. Unfortunately Shaun McKay is the hero and well, at least there are really pretty mountains to look at.
Ok, up to Alaska with Jason, Johnny Lazz and Scot. First off, the whole urban jumping thing gives me a boner. That said, thank god for Lazz. All of these dudes are good, like truly good snowboarders, but Lazz has that ingredient that makes me actually give a fuck and forget the oddly sterile vibe coursing through this film’s soul.
Back in Whistler again with Shayne, Lonnie and a really amazing song. Just listen to the song and try to focus on the little figures dancing in powder. Man, great song.
Mark Carter pops in to film an awesome night shot and ride big mountains. Seems oddly placed, but whatever. Kind of feels like Warren Miller.
Back to the urban dudes, this time in Quebec. Lazz, Jason Dubois and Lavigne are all doing their thing and it’s a total trick porn nightmare until one of the heaviest bangers ever happens.
More Shaun McKay…
At this point my eyes became a bit tired. I’d been watching this movie for a really long time and needed a change, an ending or anything that would breath new life into a story I had now enjoyed and was beginning to tire of. Perfect timing for a whole section dedicated to the Spring. Tons of dudes get wet, naked, huck flips, ride in massive lines, enjoy slushy landings and soak their gloves. It’s a good, and much needed break.
Montana and Whistler come in next. Whistler is really boring at this point, but Montana, or God’s Country, couldn’t be more exciting. There are a lot of animal shots. There are shots of cool mountains. Then there is some snowboarding, but honestly it’s just cool to see how these boys captured Montana and what you could experience if you got out there.
Finally, after what seems like eight snowboard movies it’s ender time. Who got it? Rusty Ockenden. Do I know who that is? Barley. Does that matter? Not anymore. This dude fucking rips. From mind blowing GoPro footage to disturbingly scary rock slides this part is a stand out. In all ways Rusty proves he’s a legit new addition to the snowboard world, and someone who picks really good music to edit a part to.
Oh, wait, there are like six hours of credits. Well, while they roll I’ll wrap it up. This movie is light, fluffy and creates a sense that risking life and limb is really just a fun thing to do with your buds. That said, it’s also a very interesting approach to how to make a movie these days, it’s got plenty of trick porn and it has some truly great shots, spots and features sprinkled throughout. Minhondo did good with “Pretty Wise”.