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Viewed and Reviewed – “Second Floor: The Movie”

Words: Joey Leppien
Alright, do me a favor real quick, and picture this; it’s a holiday at your local ski resort, and the crowds are rushing in by the busload, literally. There’s children careening into every group of people like tiny, out of control kamikazes on a suicide bombing mission. Lift lines are long and painful, the terrain park turns into more of an obstacle course of avoiding said kamikazes, and the highway is backed up 3 miles from the resort. Then, you look up. Through the crowds of Jerry’s and Joey’s, you see a group of guys all reconvening at the base of the hill. These are the same guys that you see sending sketchy cliff drops, surfing the pipe, and catching virtually every little piece of tranny the resort can offer, all without ever letting their smiles leave their faces. If you’re riding at Boreal, Northstar, Mount Rose, or anywhere else in the Lake Tahoe area, odds are that this group you saw are the Second Floor guys.

A group of twenty-something college students, some graduates, all focusing on a common interest; to make a full winter video, all while having the best possible time doing so. Some hail from the area, and some hail from the east coast. The east-coast in them is very palpable, given their keen abilities to slam straight to their faces in ice cold temps, all just to pop up and laugh while hiking back up for another go. Heavy slams and even heavier makes, all combine for a comical, yet jaw-dropping movie. With deep powder turns and cliff-drops, late night street spots, indoor mini-ramps, and hilarious B-roll, these boys are well-versed at the art of keeping the audience entertained.

I truly only have two negative things to say about this video. Although, I suppose they could be taken as positives. First, I wish it were a bit longer, and I only say that because I wish I could see more of these dudes. However, I understand, first hand, how difficult it is to film a full movie while being a full time student and/or having a full time job. Even having the final project be 11 minutes is absolutely worth praise in this case. Second, and lastly, I just got so sick of how good looking they are. I’d watch 11 minutes of just their B-roll. Honestly, if they just flashed those pearly whites and winked at the camera the whole time, I’d buy ten copies and a video projector for my bedroom ceiling. Uh, anyways.

This is the perfect video to watch while drinking your morning coffee, doing yoga, eating breakfast, etc. Vibes are high and the times are clearly good for these guys. It’s very evident that they never leave a spot or mountain unsatisfied. They make the best of the times that they are given and I find that absolutely admirable. This is the group that you want to see at your local resort, and the type of group that snowboarding needs to keep around.

Watch it, enjoy it, learn from it.

PRO’S:
• Fast paced
• Very entertaining
• Heavy slams
• Heavier makes
• Good vibes
• Great friends
• Comical B-roll
• They’re all so good-looking

CON’S:
• Could be longer
• They’re all so goddamn good-looking

Follow them on Instagram for more: @Second_Floor_

Video featuring:
Bryant Davis, Jake Brayton, Austin Smith, Tim Bloom, Peter Rispoli, Marco Gooding, Cory Rudolph, and Ian Weiczorek.

Watch it now!

Part by Part: Think Thank’s Methods of Predictions

As it has been receiving rave reviews on social media, I was obviously extremely excited when Think Thank’s latest, “Methods of Predictions,” arrived at my doorstep in analog form. It’s not just a DVD, though. The movie also comes with a zine full of things every snowboarder loves to read (ahem, mostly pictures) and FREE stickers! How did I get so lucky? I’ll never tell. But over the next several weeks I’ll be reviewing the latest releases for Yobeat and MOP is the first up!

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Intro
Traffic cones, barricades, corrugated tubes, shovels, and the occasional rail/box, mixed with a surplus of creative minds at work makes for a good intro. I’m already digging the art in the transition parts, sponsor list, and openings for parts. So far, so good.
Overall: 8/10

Nial Romanek
Before I even watched this, I thought Nial was a boss. He goes on to blow my mind with some nuts rail tricks such as a switch back lip through the down-to-rail. Add in Nial’s insane creativity and the mix of urban spots and backcountry jumps to makes for a part that exceeded all my expectations. Not to mention his style is always on point… Also, he was my Windells coach… 9/10.

Erik Karlsson/Freddy Perry
First off, a railroad gap… what? And Freddy kicks the orange face mask, which is tight and matched the ubiquitous traffic cones Think Thank loves so much. The urban spots they hit are sick, Europe, man. I dig Erik’s style, and I get a Dan Brisse vibe. Pretty good part. 7/10.

Parker Duke
This dude’s hair is metal. Respect. The Hex Dispensers’ H.D. Local 23 goes well with his fast, aggressive style. He had superior rail riding maneuvers and even two jump shots which were insanely stylish, which I wouldn’t have expected from that kind of rider. Solid 8/10

stickers

 

STICKERS!!!

Sammy Spiteri/Brandon Hammid
I’m a huge fan of urban lines, and that’s the first shot of this shared part. At this point, I find it hard to critique this movie…It’s hard to find anything negative to say other than the traffic cones may be a bit excessive. The creeper rails are real in this movie, and so is Brandon’s beard. Also, the board tap front board was insane. Like, what?! I love the dance party at the end, 9/10.

Jesse Burtner
This may actually be Jesse’s 100th video part, and the OG Think Thank Mastermind, has some sweet one footed clips, and also ollies a baby, that is in fact named Ollie. Based off his intro clip, he likes pizza and good times.. His creativity, one-footed, and no-footed shots make this movie that much better. I’m a huge fan,and kickflips on snowboards are messed up. 8.5/10

The Big Mess
The obligatory mashup section is appropriately named. There were zero lame tricks and even more traffic cones. Even a skate shot. My expectations were matched and then some. Wow, would watch multiple times. 10/10

Brandon Reis
This guy has cool pants, good style and clearly a lot of humor/creativity. Urban jumps are sick, more people need to do that. At this point this movie has officially made me want to go snowboarding, brutal seeing as it’s September. 8.5/10

Max Warbington/Sam Hubert
Max unlocked the swag this year, and now he’s mastered it. LTC is sick, and so is he. Most his tricks I would classify as insane, and the ones that weren’t were still way too good. I’m surprised at the amount of helmets I’ve seen, which is good, safety first kids! Max’s unbinded tricks are a highlight, and the lines were real af. 9/10

Justin Keniston
Ok, now I have to ask, where do they get all these traffic cones? Did they rob a highway crew? Also, where did they find two old TVs? Justin’s urban lines had me bouncing in my chair. His clear no-care attitude towards traffic cones improves his part all the more. He’ll hit em, grind em, ollie em… savage. 7/10

Desiree Melancon
Personally, Des is my favorite girl rider, and she did not disappoint, but snot rockets are disgusting. She really shows girl snowboarding isn’t nearly as weak as some people make it out to be, and honestly I wouldn’t want to be the guy who had to follow her part. 7/10

Ryan Paul
If you watch RP’s intro, you will find out finally how they acquired all those traffic cones. I grew up watching RP ride, so I knew to expect some crazy flips, and he came through. Also, he shows us that you don’t even need snow to snowboard anymore.(P.S his banger is sick.) 8.5/10

Mitch Richmond
His name kind of rhymes, and his song selection is sick. I also wonder how many trash can tops that s thing took. I mean, he is singlehandedly keeping the trash-can lid business afloat with his homemade S-rails. His part has only added to my respect for this movie. I also have no idea where it snows right next to a sandy beach, but I’d love to go there. The variety of spots throughout the movie makes it so much better. 8/10

Ted Borland
So far every part of this movie has been a solid reason to watch this movie. This is just like the other parts in the best way possible. I don’t want to spoil any tricks, but a lot of the tricks so far have been pretty spoilable and you should see them for yourself. Ted had the final part, and it was well deserved. 8.5/10

Final Review
This movie was non stop, from start to finish, and not once did I feel like reviewing it was a chore. A lot of creative ideas, good music, and traffic cones went into it , and they got a lot out of it. I would highly recommend buying this movie, it was among the top 45ish minutes I’ve spent in my basement this summer! Get a copy before it’s gone at www.thinkthank.com.

Stan and Catfish Movie Review: Almanac and Right Turn, Left Turn

For our final review of the season, we give you two reviews in one! Get the rundown on both offerings from Think Thank.

Stan & Catfish Review: Heavy Mental

When a movie has heavy in the name, expectations are high. Stan and the Catfish spell it out for you.

Buy it on iTunes.

Under Review: People’s “Pretty Wise”

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”.

Viewed and Reviewed: Hard to Earn

hardtoearn

If you’ve been paying attention to snowboarding at all, then you probably know exactly the type of rider featured in FODT/MFM Production’s Hard to Earn. Snow Gangsters, I believe they are called.

But for the sake of humor, let’s pretend to be an out-of-touch person right now. What would their reaction to this movie be? Well, they would be amazed that there were so many midgets who were so good at snowboarding. They would think, with that many midgets, maybe I should start a brand specifically catering to the little people who snowboard so they are longer forced to wear such giant apparel! And then we would end up with another ridiculously specialized brand run by some moron.  Great.

Wait, what? That’s not really that funny? Crap.

Let’s go with another approach then, because in reality I’ve seen a bunch of snowboard videos, including all the free ones on the Internet. Here’s how Hard to Earn stacked up: It was like a really well-made homey film. Meaning, the crew we’re obviously homies, in the literal and figurative senses. The locations were, for the most part, creative shit that any kid who wanted to put a little effort in, could go ride. I’m referring to tractor trailers, jungle gyms, and normal rail spots used in creative new ways (dude, he jumped over the rail!)  The FODT crew seems to know it ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none.

The cinematography however, is head and shoulders above what you’re going to find Vimeo. Multiple camera angles, dolly shots, and super high quality HD, dawg. Of course, by around Jake Devine, Chris Bradshaw and Yan Dofin’s shared section, the “Ty Evans” shots we’re starting to make me a bit nauseous. But it was definitely far more pleasurable than any shaky hand-held crap you’ll get for free.

The line up featured just about every pro snowboarder who lives the thug life, MFM, Travis Kennedy, Lucas Magoon, Jonah Owen, etc. Even the super famous TV star Louie Vito makes a cameo and only has one pipe shot, which may or may not effect his chances at making the Olympics. The biggest surprise for me was the ender by Johnnie Paxson. In Oregon we’ve known this kid is no joke for awhile now, but it was sick to see him getting the ender-ender action he deserves.

So if snow gangsters bum you out, this probably isn’t the movie for you. But if you like watching snowboarding, it definitely offers an entertaining and quality version of it.

Viewed and Reviewed: Nice Try

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By Graham Mueller | The Bored Yak

What do you want from a snowboard movie? Rails, powder, park, backcountry freestyle, big lines? Gimme a break, videos are getting more diverse every year. Last year’s “stunningly well-rounded” is this year’s “complete, yet lacking creativity.” We need more. Double corks? I hear the Chinese are already on to double corks. Next thing you know kids in North Dakota will be doing them. What else? Sketchy avalanche saves? Yawn. How about handplant to cliff drop? Do I have your attention now? Boy literally destroys rail? Snowmobile catches fire and melts into a different sort of watery grave while bewildered riders attempt to salvage gear? That sound like your kind of movie? Then give Nice Try a try. People Creative’s navy sets to the frozen waves like the Spanish shred-Armada, plundering all powder and pillaging every park. Casualties are experienced in gnarly fashion, but in the end victory is claimed.
Marben starts it out by throwing methods in every possible circumstance. Yes, including urban. Robbie Walker demonstrates stylish slow rotations and double corks. Curtis Cizek, Louie Fountain, Bryan Fox, Jonas Carlson and Josh Mills get together on a pow bro fest or is it a bro pow fest? Hell of a fun section anyway with dudes slashing laybacks, dropping cliffs and otherwise making the flakes fly. Made me want to joint them. Shaun McKay, well, he’s got a hell of a story for an insurance adjuster.

Featured riders: Wille Yli-Luoma, Seth Huot, Robbie Walker, Eiki Helgason, Lucas Debari, Zac Marben, Shaun Mckay, Will Tuddenham, Jon Kooley, Curtis Ciszek, Bryan Fox, Louie Fountain, Josh Mills, Jonas Carlson, Ricky Tucker, and Max Baillargeon

In the interest of full disclosure, Yobeat also gave me the DVD (and we got it from the People themselves.)

Random Video Reviews

Every year, around this time, a bunch of snowboard companies put out videos. And for some reason, some of them believe that Yobeat is a credible enough source that sending us a review copy and thus having us publish a review will actually help promote their video. So this year, I’ve compiled the ones that are so random that I can’t get paid to review them into what I’m going to call the most random video reviews ever. Oh yeah, and the skate video, well, I just wanted that one so I asked for it and they were nice enough to give it to me.


All Day
NP Productions

This video from Bend, Ore. is the most national local video of the year. After all, real pro snowboarders reside in Bend, so some of them are in this video. They also have plenty of snow and big mountains to ride. This makes for some fairly epic boarding. All this adds up to a video that’s almost like the big guys, except not quite so inaccessible to the little people who might aspire to do the things they see in videos. For this reason I enjoyed this movie. It wasn’t particularly original and the music reminded me of the parties I used to go to in 9th grade (yeah alt rock!) but it was fun to watch and it made me want to snowboard. Mission accomplished.


Nope
Hardwire Productions

You made be scared off from this movie when the first thing that pops across the screen is “A film about Ohio snowboarding.” But if you are its because you don’t know that Ohio is the best place on earth, especially to snowboard. Okay, well maybe that last part is a lie, but Ohio is awesome, and this video is a pretty good showcase of that awesome-ness. I’m going to go ahead and make the claim that Hardwire is like the Neoproto of the Midwest. After all, it’s very clear that’s who they look up to in snowboarding, hence all the extreme jibbing and drops of death. Maybe the bigger picture here is the Neoproto crew should make their video in Ohio. Anyway, back to the video. Nope does a good job of working with what it has. The music is good and editing is pretty neat and it made me laugh at least 4 times. Now you know.


Human Doing Vol. 2
Illicit Media

This Michigan video is like, the ultimate showcase of park riding by kids from Michigan. They hit parks from Michigan to Colorado, Mammoth and back again. The amazing part about this video is that it was essentially made by a bunch of random kids in the Midwest, but the film quality and editing are as good as any of the biggest professional videos. The riding in the video looks fun. Sure, it’s hard to get too excited about park riding, but for what they had to work with, I’d say these guys did alright. For a bunch of riders I’ve never heard of, they did ride the parks well. Plus everyone needs a video to watch to get psyched to go ride parks (which is probably more likely than the number of people who watch the video to get psyched for riding backcountry kickers.)


SnowDVD

I was watching this video and thinking, who would want to watch this. I finally came up with the answer: my dad. He likes this stuff. Basically this is a video resort guide that features over 2 hours of random footage from resorts around the world. There’s a bunch of B-roll of restaurants and people walking around ski villages, and a lot of hockey games. And then there’s some mediocre snowboarding and mogul skiing. Admittedly this video did make me want to travel, but of course, watching ads for Travelocity does that too. What can I say, I love that stupid garden gnome.


Static II: The Invisibles
A Prospects Production

I have been reviewing snowboard videos for about two weeks straight now. So perhaps the reason I liked this movie so much is that it is not about snowboarding. But I doubt it. I think I liked this movie a lot because it’s really, really good. And I’m not just saying that because the film’s creator told me I made him laugh and offered to send money so his movie would get a good review. No, it’s good because it has rad music, good skating and is just plain fun to watch. The skating in this movie is both technical and all that crap, but better yet, is kind of funny. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I mean it like, it’s humorous and creative. The best part of this video though is the editing. Instead of having only the beginning of the song play and then fading out to deceive the viewer into thinking the skater had enough footage to fill a full song, the whole song plays, multiple people have parts during said song, and the skating goes with the music. Finally, as someone who likes to point out every single person I know in a video, I really appreciated the name credits every time there’s a new skater. Not that I know any skateboarders, but if I did it would be really helpful to my cause. So watch Static II. They go to Egypt and skateboard.

-Brooke Geery

Y2K Snowboard Videos

As technology improves, and the number of DV Cameras and iMacs per household grows, it seems that everyone and their brother is making a snowboard video these days. It doesn’t really matter what your doing, if you catch it on film, it will probably be part of your video part. Now, instead of going snowboarding for fun, any day could be the day you catch that trick on film. Perhaps this is why there were about 5000 videos released this year.

At this point I think I’ve seen enough of this season’s videos to give an overview, and perhaps save you from what seems like a good idea, but is actually 40 minutes of powder turns.

The very brief reviews:

411 Snow: Issue One

It seems like this has been coming soon for about two years now, and that everyone you meet is filming for 411. Well, it’s finally here, and one thing’s for sure, you can tell how long they’ve been filming for by the fact it’s about 4 hours long. Three bail sections, a couple profiles and spot checks later, and it’s over. You will learn how to backside 360’s, why Breck’s park is in so many videos and what Jeremy Jones does everyday, but other than that, you might have to use your remote a little more than you’d like.

Open Season

This is not so much a snowboard video, as a documentary on the 18th US Open. It features footage from the halfpipe, boardercross and big air competition as well as interviews, all set to a slamming techno soundtrack. It is straight out of Southern Vermont, with all the redneck appeal of such, and although some of the snowboarding is tedious at times, it does do a good job of making you reminisce about what possibly the best contest last year.

Cold Fluffer

Like a good issue of Eastern Edge, this video is only really good if you are from the east. However, if you do make the ice coast your home, you’ll be psyched to root for your boys from all over the North East. Filmed across the country, this video features only riders such as Rahm Klampert, Mark Reilly, Kyle Clancy and the Kass brothers, showcasing the fact that we do learn to ride things other than halfpipe in Vermont.

Destroyer

After the rave reviews of last year’s Revival, Whitey obviously had no trouble getting a budget to make this film. Great skits, which include plenty of car crashes abound, set to the sounds of the early 80’s and the riding of all of snowboarding’s superstars. Possibly the most entertaining of all videos, simply for the fact that it requires rather impressive acting from those involved.

Hi-Fi

Two years in the making, Hi-Fi showcases most of last season’s contests, a bunch of Mammoth backcountry, and plenty of Mt. Hood. While the snowboarding in the film is at high technical level from the riders, a basically new crop of them, the rather bland locations are somewhat detracting. However, what is lost with lack of variety, is made up for with incredible lifestyle footage all shot on film, and a great, diverse soundtrack of punk, emo, rock and hip hop.

The Resistance

At first the idea of a Forum video is somewhat depressing, because it shows how powerful the six remaining dwarves really are (they can sell a video all by themselves), but after watching The Resistance, you’ll still be stoked on the team. Other than being some of the best snowboarders out there, they also manage to display a sense of humor. Although their image shouts hip hop, the soundtrack is only partially that, and even includes a little Twisted Sister and Ween. For entertainment value check out Peter Line and JP Walker’s part, as well as the Devun Walsh confessional during the credits.

Amp

Amp would be the exact opposite of the previous. You watch the entire thing, and then wonder, where was JP’s part? After 12 years of watch snowboarding set to punk rock, Mack Dawg’s movie was lacking something, and it was the content of the Resistance. It’s not to say that the snowboarding in Amp wasn’t top of the line, because it was some of the best, it was just somewhat dull.

TB9

Jeremy Jones helmet cam, which made snowboarding look frightening. Insane big mountain lines and avalanche footage. Johan riding freestyling his way down first descents, riding part of one switch. This is what makes TB9 worth watching. The rest of the video is more of the same, but, hey, they cleared all the music this year!

And that, it just about enough of that. While Yo Beat intends to bring you more concise reviews of selected videos, this is enough to give you an idea. Still not convinced, here’s what I learned watching videos this year:

Snowboarders have a blatant disregard for the welfare of goldfish. Five goldfish were harmed in the making of this year’s movies, 4 in Hi-Fi (Louie Fountain and Aaron Bishop’s part) and one in The Resistance (Peter Line’s part).

Fake Blood sells. Just check out the fight scene in the Resistance, and the entire film of Destroyer.

The following locations were the most played out of all the videos: Mammoth’s Halfpipe and park, the Breckenridge park, the Snow Summit Park, High Cascade’s bent rainbow rail (I don’t know what else to call it) and the burly death gap which I assume to be somewhere in Utah (although it is sick enough that it will never truly be played.)

The video after the video is alive and well. At least it is present in most of the aforementioned films.