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Film Review : ROWDY Movie Highlights Competitive Drive and Demeanor Behind NASCAR Legend Kyle Busch

Film Review

'Rowdy' (2022)

Director, Richard Valenzuela

2nd Director JJ Terry


ROWDY chronicles the career of bad-boy and two-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch. Commonly referred to by his fans as 'Rowdy', a nickname he was given in his first several years in NASCAR's truck series, Busch was compared regularly to Michael Rooker's Rowdy Burns character from the 1990 film Days of Thunder.

The world of the motorsports documentaries is currently thriving as auto racing continues to return to a place of dominance in weekly television and sports ratings as they once had in the 1990's. With the success of other projects such as 'Race: Bubba Wallace', and 'Formula 1: Drive to Survive' having success as mini series, and Michael Waltrip's 'Blink of an Eye' being successful at the box office, it makes sense that a passionate driver such as Busch would feel an urge to share his story.

"The Thing you want to be able to do is to be well-liked when you retire. I know right now I'm not close to retiring, and I'm not close to being liked."
- Kyle Busch

The film begins with Kyle's wife Samantha Busch, going through the dramatic details, from her memory on a day that changed the entire future of the Busch family's life.

" know, I remember everything from the day. I remember what I had on. I was like 27 weeks pregnant at the time. I could hear the spotter and Kyle, and the crew chief.."

The buildup continued, with action shots, and monstrous sound of both quality b-reel and Fox Sports footage of the 2015 Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway. The race occurred the day before the premier Daytona 500, which Kyle Busch was an annual favourite for despite winless in the crown jewel up to that point.

Kyle's brother, 2004 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch and Fox Sports veteran analyst Jamie Little are introduced into the film as more action build-up sequences rise to a boiling stop. Viewers are suddenly stimulated with action shots of the crash that becomes the priority topic of the remainder of the feature. We hope the audience has had their final pit stops and Coca-Cola refills, they're not gonna wanna get up from their seats the rest of the feature.

Kyle Busch is the most polarizing driver in NASCAR.
- Jamie Little

We the fan learn and watch in the second act as the story covers Kyle's youth, his relationship with his older brother, and his younger experiences in the world of NASCAR. The addition of several other opinioned figures in the world of motorsports continue, including Hall-of-Famer's in Rick Hendrick (Owner) and Jeff Gordon (former driver and executive).

It's explained that Kyle's Rowdy persona isn't necessarily all his fault. Upon his entering the national tour, older brother Kurt was invested in an accelerated motorsports career. Kurt both helped and hurt Kyle's early growth with fans. He himself, later nicknamed 'The Outlaw', was a vocal 'bad guy' in the Cup Series. Kurt had multiple rivalries with other drivers, but defended them on track winning the series championship in 2004. Kyle would enter as a rookie contender the following season. While infamous Kurt didn't help Kyle earn any fans from the gate, name recognition and networking definitely assisted Kyle land opportunities through the ranks.

"I'd never seen anybody with more talent than Kyle had.."
-Rick Hendrick

As Kyle's career continues, the chronicle 'Rowdy', shows exactly that. He was Rowdy! One of his earliest rivals and NASCAR's all-time most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. shares in the movie distinctly that he didn't always appreciate various times in Kyle's career path, even stating that the industry 'enabled' Kyle's sometimes frustrating actions.

One of the things that makes the movie so genuine is that everybody's thoughts weren't always praising of Kyle. Often times it promotes him as a good, hard-working, and honest man...because Kyle Busch is each of those labels. He is good, he is hard-working, he is an honest man. However, he'd be the first person to admit that he can lose his cool, he hates to lose, and he wants to represent his family, fans, and sponsors by WINNING. The final portion of the movie shows a less intimate side of documentary interviewing, almost a behind the scenes, as they show Kyle sitting down, clipping on his microphones, and you can hear the filmmaker asking him questions. Kyle is given a platform to finally and transparently clarify various lows, and emphasize the significance of his outstanding highs of his racing career.

The film reclaims the intro topic as it closes and provides wonderful closure to what eventually led (and if you're reading this on our site it isn't a spoiler) to his 2015 NASCAR Cup Series championship. One critique I would have liked selfishly would have been content about Kyle's fill in drivers who helped support the #18 team when he was injured, but their omission did not sour anything. This thing is well put together.

Other contributors to the movie include NASCAR Hall-of-Fame car owner Joe Gibbs, highly respected motorsports writer Marty Smith from ESPN and Kyle's parents.

From graphic, but not uncomfortable images and videos of Kyle's rehab, to a full tour of the Busch family and Kyle Busch's upcoming, to a brief preview of his son Brexton's start to racing, this is a film that should be appreciated and engaged upon by his biggest fans and haters alike. The motorsports world is thriving in new cinema, and this is a wonderful piece of racing movie media that we will be able to learn from for many years to come. I recommend it to our entire Racing Refresh audience.

In short, it was informative, exciting, and authentic. Rowdy will play in most cities, one night only on June 29th. Click HERE for ticket availability in your area.

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