It's February, so you know what time it is! It's time to watch my favorite Peter Billingsley movie. Now some of you might be confused by this and/or are muttering "Lousy Steve watches Christmas Story in February? What an asshole." Well guess what! That's not my favorite Peter Billingsley movie (Christmas Story 2 helped nailing the final nail in that coffin, FYI). No, that title belongs to the Dirt Bike Kid. If you've never seen Dirt Bike Kid, it's about a sentient flying dirt bike that somehow flies. Because '80s movie magic. And because some coked out movie exec watched that scene from E.T. and said "fuck it, I can make an entire flick from that but lets take the alien away and make a dirt bike alive because radical!" Courage.
Special Note: I'll be watching from the VHS even though I own the blu ray because that's the only way to watch the flick and because it also includes the trailer to this:
I suggest you watch this (and the movie, which if you look to the bottom of this review, will let you know where to find it) to prepare your eye palate. Yes, I'm pretty sure eyes have palates. And yes, Lori Loughlin was pretty hot back then too but that's a subject for another time.
Our film begins with our hero, Peter Billingsley watching tv while his mom gets ready for a job interview. Right away, you'll notice Peter is kinda a dick in this or in other words, he plays the same character he did in Christmas Story. He brings on the charm when his mom asks him to buy groceries with their last $50 dollars and instead buys the dirt bike after some guy tells him the bike is "special" in the most awkward manner and the "kid best friend in the Hawaiian shirt who somehow is girl crazy even though he's ten but every '80s movie had one" pressures him.
So after a "fixing up the bike" (it was covered in mud so he wiped it off) montage we now have magic bike that is powered by the souls of dead babies or something. A dead baby soul powered dirt bike if you will (they don't actually explain it so that's what I assume).
"The look on Peter's face pretty much tells us he just shared a boner with a magic dirt bike."
So the bike comes to life and takes Peter on a joyride where he encounters bikers who have nothing better to do than pick on Peter Billingsley because who wouldn't want to pick on Peter Billingsley? After "comedy" that involves head biker getting hit in the nads, the bike literally flies so they can make their escape. Cheap knock off of the E.T. theme plays and if you actually see the scene you're starting to wonder whether the thing about the coked up movie exec I mentioned above is true.
"E.T. sue for copyright infringement."
The next morning Peter tries to talk his mom out of selling the bike by telling her the truth but flying sentient dirt bike is just as stupid said out loud as it is written on paper. She gets her $50 dollars back (which for a dirt bike seems kinda low?) but the dirt bike escapes from its new home and makes its way back to Billingsley.
So this is where the E.T. knock off territory stops for now and we get into "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo" knock off territory... because that was also a popular film in the early '80s. Peter is on a softball team who hangs out at a hot dog stand that is going to get demolished by a bank so that they can build their new headquarters on the land.
Y'know, it's at this point that I have to wonder why he doesn't sell the fucking magic flying bike to the military or Honda or something. That would solve all these problems. Also, people have seen the bike move on its own now so they can't claim he's crazy. Oh wait, Peter Billingsley is a dick.
Meanwhile, Peter Billingsley's mom goes to the bank's manager for a job or loan or something but that gets messed with thanks to Peter riding his bike inside the bank. Now, normally I'd blame alive bike but again, Peter Billingsley is a dick. Peter's mom tells him to return the bike but Pete weasels his way into making deliveries instead so he can keep the bike and that's the end of that plot thread.
Peter then decides to go to the bank manager's home to talk to him about not closing the hot dog stand with the dirt bike even though the owner of the stand is not doing this himself. But clearly he'll listen to the kid that rode a dirt bike in the bank he works at. So after interrupting the bank manager's...date? (it seems like he's holding her captive?) He tells Billingsley he's having a board meeting the next day and can argue there because he wants to get back to his date and doesn't want her to escape, which she does.. out a window..so I'm pretty sure that wasn't a date.
"You don't "release the hounds" on your date. Not when it's literal."
So after that meeting is a success? (He rides the dirt bike into the bank again, eventually convincing nearby reporters there to see a bank building model or something that the hot dog stand is important. He saves the hot dog stand by riding over the model.. because Peter Billingsley). They celebrate but unfortunately, guy who keeps women captive cannot be trusted for some reason and forecloses on the hot dog stand anyway. And so Billingsly takes matters into his own hands—by endangering human lives. For a hot dog stand. He mounts a trailer that could have been filled with explosives or pillows, your guess is as good as mine, and drives it into a busy intersection. For a hot dog stand.
"For a hot dog stand."
So police chase ensues rightfully because Pete tried to kill people over hot dogs. He endangers a few more lives and eventually ends up flying over the city of Los Angeles. But he can't escape from the law and so the dirt bike gets arrested and Peter gets off scot-free. They don't impound the bike, they actually arrest it. Like it's in people jail now. Instead of taking it to a lab or even a mechanic to learn how it flies or why it's even alive, they put it in a jail cell.
"I wish I could tell you Dirt Bike fought the good fight- but prison is no fairy-tale world."
But just like the human legal system, the bike is quickly released on bail. Never mind the multiple crimes committed, they literally let him ride it straight out of the station. Now having a taste for destruction however, the bike uses its baby soul powers to control a tractor and destroy the construction site even more, eventually causing a rift between Billingsley and the bike. The bank manager orders for the bike's capture and so the police send out an APB.
The screenwriter's coke most likely kicking in a bit more when he wrote this has Billingsley and the bike eventually make up and by using his baby soul powers again, uses Billingsley's computer to flash images, getting his attention. Peter translates that to hacking into the bank's computers to change the location of where the bank will build its new location. Of course he needed a fucking magic dirt bike to tell him to do this instead of doing this himself even though he had the know how to do this. Billingsley eventually finds better places to build the bank but finds out that the bank manager owns the land to the hot dog stand and that he has tricked the board of directors into buying it for half a million dollars..which is actually a decent plan for a villain. They also embezzle some money, including giving a widow a million dollars. Which is nice, I guess, even though its a major crime but fuck it, Peter Billingsley almost killed people over fucking hot dogs so compared to that, this is fine. But the bikers, now hired by the Bank manager, find Peter and give chase.
Peter eventually leads them over to the site of the hot dog stand demolition. The bank manger rigs the bulldozer so that it bulldozes the hot dog stand with the push of a button, which doesn't seem safe or logical (I'm pretty sure you need a special license to drive those) but we'll blame coke. But before he can get on with demolition, Peter's baseball team starts a giant pie fight. Don't ask why someone would bring a dozen pies to a demolition, they just did. The bank manager presses the bulldozer's button, which slowly starts to roll toward the hot dog stand. Very slowly. Like someone could probably reach for the keys and stop it that way with ten minutes to spare. But no one does. Instead dirt bike and dozer go head to head until dirt bike attempts to commit murder with his baby soul power, sending the dozer toward bank manager. Very slowly. He just gets out of the way. He's fine. But Pete and Dirt Bike end up kidnapping the bank manager, making this his fourth-fifth major crime they've committed in this thing?
Through extortion (the sixth crime) he eventually convinces the bank manager to help the hot dog guy keep his stand. Yes, this was all for a hot dog stand. Apparently Peter can also speak dirt bike as it tells him he has to go to his home planet or something.
And so Peter gets his hot dogs and some kid activates the bike back to life with the power.. of.. believing in it?
I need a drink.
"Meat, water, salt, milk protein, E250 sodium nitrate, Monosodium Glutamate and cellulose casing. That is what hot dogs are made of. I only mention this because saving a stand that sold those was Peter Billingsley's end game in this."
Who would star in the modern/gritty remake to this: Jonah Hill as Peter Billingsley and Channing Tatum as Dirt Bike.
Buy it here: