7 Fun Facts About the 1986 BMX Film, Rad

The locally shot film will screen on August 29 and 30 at Crossroads Market in a newly restored video format.

Shot locally and released in 1986, the movie Rad tells the story of Cru, a young man with a dream of making it big as a BMX racer by racing the “Helltrack” and winning the grand prize of $100,000 (and a sweet Corvette).

Now, 34 years after its release, it has been restored in 4K video format and will screen for two nights at Crossroads Market on August 29 and 30. The screenings are presented by Calgary Underground Film Festival and guests are invited to arrive by car or embrace the spirit of Rad and get there by bike.

Like most cult films, Rad is polarizing, but its deficiencies tend to be overshadowed by its iconic status. Here are some things you may or may not know about this enduring piece of pop culture.

  • Rad’s critic score rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 44 per cent, while its audience score is an impressive 90 per cent. The film reportedly grossed a total of $2 million at the box office. (For comparison, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, released the same year, grossed more than $6 million in its opening weekend alone.)
  • Main character Cru (Bill Allen) was loosely based on real-life BMXer Eddie Fiola, who was also Allen’s stunt double.
  • Cochrane’s current mayor Jeff Genung was an extra in the movie.
  • Lead actress Lori Loughlin was best known as Aunt Becky on Full House until she was indicted in the massive college admissions fraud case in 2019, eclipsing her sitcom celebrity. Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli have since plead guilty to conspiracy charges.
  • No official version of Rad had been released on DVD, Blu-Ray or any streaming service until 2020.
  • In 2018, Mongoose Bikes sponsored a three-day celebration of the race at the centre of Rad by re-creating the fictional Helltrack, near Dallas, Tex. Helltrack Festival included live music, celebrity BMX athletes, vintage bikes and appearances by cast members Allen, Martin Aparijo and Fiola.
  • Rad was the subject of an episode of How Did This Get Made?, a podcast about movies that are considered so astonishingly bad that hosts June Diane Raphael, Jason Mantzoukas and Paul Scheer ponder how it’s possible they were green-lit in the first place.

Calgary Underground Film Festival’s presentation of Rad takes place August 29 and 30 at Crossroads Market. More information and tickets are available here.

Editor’s note: The original version of this story has been updated to reflect an upcoming screening. 

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This article appears in the July 2019 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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