HARD MILES – A Review by Jenn Rohm
Pulling from the life of Greg Townsend and his work with the Ridgeway Academy Cycling team, R.J. Daniel Hanna has directed and co-written Hard Miles.
Reminiscent of films in the late ‘80s trying to make a change with troubled youth such as The Principal, Stand and Deliver, and Lean on Me. And a little closer with the addition of sports programs in Hoosiers and Wildcats. We have a modernized tale of a social worker with a lot on his personal plate, adding to the stress is his job as a Social Worker in a reform school with some of the most violent youth. Looking forward to some pre-planned time off and even at the school has Greg Townsend (Matthew Modine) changing his plans. Now instead of a solo ride to recenter and find himself, Townsend is taking five residents of the academy with him on a 762-mile ride. Following along with the equipment in the “sag wagon” Haddie (Cynthia Kaye McWilliams) with her master’s in psychology helps balance out Townsend when his dreams get ahead of him and guide working with the teens. The goal is to see the Grand Canyon.
Personally, watching someone ride a bike is not entertaining to me. Fortunately, there is a whole lot more to this movie than just watching bike riding. We learn about all the males on this ride with the inclusion of flashbacks. Some are a bit more detailed while others are not so clear. Interactions during the ride and breaks flow from comical, high-tension, serious to even healing. The movie kept me pulled in and the pacing was nice. I found myself cheering when any of them struggled to keep going. I am not sure if these teens are based on specific people or an amalgamation. Enough story was provided about each that created a feeling of care for them. I really wanted to know what their future holds.
Bentonville Film Festival feature entry
Director: R.J. Daniel Hanna
Written By: R.J. Daniel Hanna, Christian Sander
Cast: Sean Astin, Matthew Modine, Leslie David Baker. Cynthia Kay McWilliams
MPAA Rating: Not yet rated.
Genres: Drama, Sport
Selig Rating: 3 stars
Runtime: 1h 49m
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.
4 Stars – Good movie/show
3 Stars – OK movie/show
2 Stars – Well there was nothing else…
1 Star – Total waste of time.