Directed by Jeremy Lamberton
As a native Tulsan, I was intrigued to see a documentary about one of my hometown’s most public figures, one I’ve nearly run over with my own car once or twice.
Biker Fox is the story of Frank DeLarzelere III, billed as “Tulsa’s misunderstood motivational bicyclist”. The 52-year-old has long been a target of public ridicule and even hatred for his flamboyant and excessive cycling around the city. It appears that Biker Fox is his attempt to express his side of the story, with much of the footage shot by DeLarzelere himself and ultimately edited by director Jeremy Lamberton. This explains the multitude of jump cuts and home movie-quality cinema, though Lamberton does an admirable job sorting through all the film to pull it all together into an interesting and hilarious testimonial.
Biker Fox’s message and demeanor are both clear out of the gate, as the opening shot of the film is a series of jump cuts of him grilling hamburgers and hot dogs before he starts shouting about the need for exercise and a healthy diet. In mere moments he exhibits a strong conviction about his message, wrapped in clumsy, impulsive behavior that ultimately seems to translate to the rest of his life, which is spent hawking car parts over the phone, befriending animals and performing tricks in front of cars with a camera strapped to his helmet.
It’s pretty tempting to just write the guy off as another nut, but, well, he kind-of is. We see footage of him feeding and kissing raccoons, grotesquely flexing a wound to his bicep, rocking out to Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” while on the phone with a customer and rambling and rambling and rambling as he attempts to extol his gospel of inspiring other people to happier lives by exercise and communing with nature.
The problem is that for all he talks about this, we never actually see anybody benefitted by Biker Fox’s message. The footage is mostly of him harassing cars, ignoring traffic laws and heavily cursing as he deals with customers of his car parts business and the Tulsa police. Rushing to his defense, Biker Fox’s lawyer and former Tulsa mayor Bill LaFortune rather convincingly argues that the police have unfairly harassed the cyclist, though he hardly seems innocent in these affairs as he constantly seems to ignore the law and general rules of public decency. The film plays out as a cry for attention and less as a self-help testimonial.
Also interesting is the way Biker Fox refers to himself throughout the film. He talks about quitting his job to become “Biker Fox full-time”, and how his mother “never liked Biker Fox”. This is the film’s greatest failure, that it doesn’t truly dig into his past or procure anything truly insightful from DeLarzelere himself.
It’s all a very interesting look into his life, which itself appears to be one large cry for attention, spiced up with hilariously bizarre animations and Biker Fox’s constant rambling. It does include a few shots we could most certainly do without (there’s nudity, but thankfully–THANKFULLY–no genitalia) and some genuinely terrifying excessive behavior (including one shot of him staring, wild-eyed into the camera while shouting about coming into your room at night and kicking your ass, backed by trippy flashing light) as well as plenty more close-up shots of his spandex-covered butt than necessary.
All told, Biker Fox is of value to almost nobody who isn’t curious about the guy, which limits the audience pretty severely (the Kerr Auditorium showing held maybe 50 people during its showing last night), but for those who grew up witnessing the cyclist’s constant hot-dogging around the streets of Tulsa, it’s a funny, insightful look into the life of Tom DeLaz-eh, Biker Fox, Tulsa’s strangest and possibly most deluded resident.
Grade: 2 stars out of 4