I’ve been highlighting the films from HBO’s Summer Documentary Series when they hit every Monday because I always enjoy me some doc talk, but I think tonight’s entry might be the one I’ve most been looking forward to. The Crash Reel follows the story of snowboarder Kevin Pearce as he tries to recover from a traumatic brain injury he suffered in 2009.
In 2009, American snowboarding champion Kevin Pearce was enjoying the most successful competitive season of his career, winning several events and challenging the dominance of his friend-turned-rival, the legendary Shaun White. But on Dec. 31, while riding the slopes of Park City, Utah in final training for the 2010 Winter Olympics, he suffered a traumatic brain injurythat left him in a coma, followed by a long road of adjusting to what would be a lifelong disability.
Directed by two-time Oscar nominee Lucy Walker, THE CRASH REEL is an exhilarating ride through the world of Pearce, whose story underscores the high stakes for extreme sports stars. This riveting tale takes surprising turns as it follows his close-knit family and friends, drawing on footage filmed over two decades, from 232 different sources, that captures the soul of the sport. Questioning the price people pay for their passions, the powerful documentary debuts MONDAY, JULY 15 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
I normally have to fast-forward through the ALS segments on Real Sports, as debilitating brain injuries are hard for me to handle (lost a grandmother to Alzheimer’s a few years back), but this story seems like more than a pure downer. I remember working on an X-Games-type set a few years back, and watching what those guys do up close makes it even clearer how utterly psychotic even the most standard tricks that they’re doing are. Knowing what the actual stakes are makes what they do that much impressive and entertaining. The Birth of Big Air is another really good doc on the subject from 30 for 30 a couple years ago. It’s always crazy to see how much these guys have to love what they do to risk everything they risk when they do it. It seems psychotic to me, but that’s why the only exxxtreme sport I participate in is partyin’. I take some crazy risks to keep keepin’ it super real. (*chugs Olympia*)