Hard Miles

The film is based on the true story of the cycling team at Colorado’s Ridge View Academy, which for decades has given at-risk youth a second chance through academic rigor, targeted treatment, competitive sports and leadership.

  • Released:
  • Runtime: 108 minutes
  • Genre: Drama
  • Stars: Zachary T. Robbins, Jackson Kelly, Leslie David Baker, Matthew Modine, Jahking Guillory, Sean Astin, Jaxon Goldenberg, Damien Diaz, Judah Mackey
  • Director: R.J. Daniel Hanna
  • ferguson-6 - 19 April 2024
    coming of age on wheels
    Greetings again from the darkness. When Greg Townsend states, 'hard work overcomes hard luck', it's as much a reminder to himself as it is a motivation for the boys he's dealing with. The film from writer-director RJ Daniel Hanna (MISS VIRGINIA, 2019) and co-writer Christian Sander is inspired by a true story, and comfortably fits into the 'inspirational sports story' category, perhaps most similar to MCFARLAND USA (2015) starring Kevin Costner.

    Matthew Modine plays Greg Townsend, a social worker at Ridge View Academy. It's a correctional facility for troubled youths, and Greg is a teacher and mentor. When the state threatens to revoke Ridge View's charter, Greg decides to take the four boys from his welding class on a 762-mile bike ride to the Grand Canyon. Previously termed Tour de Greg by his co-workers (or Tour de Canyon by Greg), his belief is that the trip will teach life lessons and cooperation to the boys. Without his realizing, it's also a trip to help Greg himself deal with an ailing (and estranged) father in hospice, an imprisoned brother, and some health issues of his own. Just like in real life, everyone has stuff going on.

    Greg encourages (begs) the local bike shop owner, Speedy (Sean Astin), to sponsor his rag-tag team of misfits. Child psychologist and Ridge View co-worker Haddie (Cynthia McWilliams) agrees to drive the SAG wagon (supplies and gear). And after welding the frames of their own bikes ... and fighting with each other ... the boys reluctantly agree to go on the trip. The boys are Smink (Jackson Kelly), Rice (Zack T Robbins), Atencia (Damien Diaz), and Woolbright (Jahking Guillory), the latter being the most troubled of the group.

    The trip goes about as you'd expect - with literal and emotional ups and downs. In fact, the movie itself is easily predictable and formulaic for the genre. However, it's an inspirational and uplifting story and we find ourselves rooting for the boys to pull together as a team, and for Greg to deal with his own demons while teaching the boys the ultimate life lesson: keep going. The best movie focused on bike riding is probably the classic BREAKING AWAY (1979), and this one from filmmaker Hanna could be called, coming of age on wheels.

    Opens in theaters on April 19, 2024.