KSL MOVIE SHOW

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Hard Miles’ is a a little movie gem

Apr 19, 2024, 10:20 AM

ksl movie show host steve salles stands next to hard miles poster...

In this KSL Movie Show review, host Steve Salles says 'Hard Miles' might be one of his favorite movies of the week.

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s been a while since a little movie gem like this has crossed my path. It’s always easy to laud or trash a major motion picture, but it’s a whole different animal when it’s something nobody sees coming and then is most grateful when they do.

“Hard Miles” is based on a true story, set at Ridge View Academy in Colorado. It’s a medium security correctional school for troubled young men, who are one step away from slipping through the cracks and into the main prison system.

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An upbeat social worker, Greg Townsend (Matthew Modine) has been planning a getaway vacation cycling trip from Colorado to the Grand Canyon for nearly a year.

It’s a 750-mile journey he’s been looking forward to, but an injury sustained by co-worker Haddie (Cynthia Kaye McWilliams) means he’ll have to cancel his trip and babysit these bad boys on a lame campout known as “hoods in the woods.”

It’s more of a public relations stunt to bring out new, interested donors, but nobody likes doing it, including the boys and the faculty. So Greg comes up with the brilliant idea to have a handful of these young troublemakers make their own bikes in shop class, train them how to work as a team and do the cycling trip as he had hoped.

Everyone thinks he’s nuts, especially the young men who want absolutely nothing to do with any of it.

Build bikes, ride 750 miles through desert heat, work together long, difficult hours getting ready for a ride they couldn’t care less about.

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While all this is going on, Greg is getting guilt calls from his brother to visit their dying father in a rest home in Cedar City. They haven’t spoken in years. He is avoiding any contact, suggesting he’s too busy at work.

Well, as inspirational sports movies go, this one feels fairly genuine as it takes forever for most of these boys to come around. There’s some language involved, but each time a word comes flying out, Greg or Haddie are on them immediately with – “Hey, language!”

I thought all the tactical cycle training was well-crafted. It didn’t hurt that Matthew Modine is an avid cyclist and fit perfectly into the role, as did the Haddie character who took no guff from anyone, including her co-worker Greg.

So “Hard Miles” might be one of my favorite movies of the week, one you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a seat for. Once you do see it, you’ll want to tell your family and friends about it.

That’s all we can ask from a movie that no one has heard about, until now.

HARD MILES (B+) Rated PG-13 for strong language, thematic content, suggestive references and some teen drinking. Starring Matthew Modine, Cynthia Kaye McWilliams, Sean Astin, Jackson Kelly and Leslie David Baker. Co-written and directed by R.J. Daniel Hanna (“Miss Virginia” “The Boys in the Woods”) – filmed in Los Angeles and Lone Pine, CA. Running time: 109 minutes.

The KSL Movie Show with Andy Farnsworth and Steve Salles airs Fridays on KSL NewsRadio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow the show on Facebook, and join The KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500.

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KSL Movie Show review: ‘Hard Miles’ is a a little movie gem