I’m a fan of Absinthe films, especially the last two, so I was really looking forward to this season’s Optimistic. It didn’t disspapoint – I think Optimistic’s a good snowboard movie with some exceptional parts… but for me, overall, it didn’t grab in quite the same way as Futureproof and More.

So which bits didn’t work? Mostly, I think it’s the case that having really liked Futureproof and then thinking that they took More farther still, Optimistic had a tough benchmark to beat. I do feel that as the film gets going, it kinda settles in. My favourite bits are mostly at the beginning, so it seems to mellow out as the movie goes on. Don’t get me wrong, the riding and filming is strong throughout, it just bobbed around my personal that’s so good meter, whereas More kept leaping above it.

What about the excellent parts?
Gigi’s section really appealed to me. The music’s funky and the riding is varied. There are some heli follow-cam shots of Gigi and Danny Davis hitting this backcountry kicker that might be some of my favourite ever. The action smoothly follows the rider showing how big the jump is and you get an idea of what the kicker might look like from the rider’s perspective on the run in, yet the rider and the kicker appear small in the vastness of the whole scene; awesome. There’s also this sequence of Gigi riding down a side street with steps and rails, how can he make that sequence look so good? It just oozes style.

As well as some pretty sick shredding (I really like the way he rides powder), MFM’s part has a true laugh out loud section – a snow-spray assault on skiers. You might think it’s a little harsh, you might think some of it’s justified, either way you’ll probably think it’s hillarious. The film is worth watching just for this bit!

Trees. There’s some excellent tree action in Optimistic. Trees and deep powder. The section shot in Canada towards the beginning of the movie shouldn’t be missed. Visually it looks fantastic, the trees, deep snow, the sun. And then check out the riding, Marco Feichtner and Wolle, it’s like the trees aren’t there, except when they’re jibbing off them!

Perhaps most impressive in the movie is Wolfgang. I reckon Wolle Nyvelt was on a mission last season. Seriously, he has so much footage in Optimistic, so much powder, so many good shots. It’s like he owns the DVD. The guy is riding deep pow on a wooden stick with no bindings better than most people when they’ve got both feet hooked in, it’s insane. His riding alongside Matt Beardmore is also top drawer. I can’t always tell who is who, but it’s all good. Wolle really kicks this film going, he’s killing it!

Other parts that I liked
Annie Boulanger is representing female snowboarders and has some really nice backcountry riding, pushing it pretty hard. I found myself liking quite a lot of the urban scenes. Mikey LeBlanc provides a lot of charisma along with some gutsy street moves. Then there’s Hans Ahlund putting down some really sweet jibs, making it all look varied. The section with Romain De Marchi and Danny Davis has a handful of hits from a backcountry kicker that deserve to be watched over – super smooth riding/filming and a sick tail grab in there.

If you’re into extras you may find the DVD a little thin in this area… having said that, Flipside’s The Making of More (part1) is included, and it’s really good!

The Soundtrack
I really like the soundtrack to Optimistic, there’s some nice tunes in there, the mix is good. I’m not going to try and classify it, I’ll just say it’s right up my street. The production of the movie’s intro is especially noteworthy. Excellent song, it’s pretty inspiring. Here’s the track list in the order played, with uk iTunes hook-up:

  • “Rusted Wheel”, album “Carnavas”, by Silversun Pickups
  • “Wolf Like Me”, album “Return to Cookie Mountain”, by TV On The Radio
  • “Season of the Witch”, by Donovan Leitch
  • “Calling For The Dissolution”, album “Criminal Saints”, by Scott Sullivan
  • “Don’t Sweat the Technique”, by Eric B and Rakim
  • “Frosty”, Meka
  • “Cadillac Dust”, by Elliot Brood
  • “John The Baptiste”, album “File Under Forgotten”, by The Ants
  • “C’mon C’mon”, album “Pawn Shoppe Heart”, by Von Bondies
  • “Ain’t Cha”, album “Hell Hath No Fury”, by Clipse
  • “Jamna Plagor”, by Dungen
  • “Spring and by Summer Fall”, album “23”, by Blonde Redhead
  • “The Man Who Came To Stay”, album “Killamangiro”, by Babyshambles
  • “I Love My Bitch”, album “The Big Bang”, by Busta Rhymes
  • “Presentazione Orchestra”, album “Stasera Shake! Volume 2”, by Rafaella Carra
  • “Fragments”, Meka

I added most of these songs to our snowboarding soundtrack. Well worth a listen!

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