Archive for the ‘Sportsdrama’ Category

Chacun Pour Tous – **

Posted: February 7, 2019 in 2018, Dramedy, France, Sportsdrama, X1/2

Flight movie #3

Several members of the basketball team that is selected to represent France at the Special Olympics in Sydney quit a few months before the actual games. The coach doesn’t want to lose his license and comes up with a terrible plan. The team is supposed to be existing of players with a mental disability (more specific: with an IQ less than 70), but he recruits several street players who are just in it for the money. All they have to do is pretend to be mentally disable and keep the fraud a secret.

It’s a terrible scam. Not only is it immoral, it’s also not well prepared at all. These new players can’t keep the secret of course and the press starts asking questions when the team performs really well.

The movie is based on true events. It was the Spanish team who only had two disabled people in the group. And they ended up winning the competition. A big scandal of course. Made into an okay and entertaining movie.

The makers really casted the actors well. It’s very easy to sympathize with these frauds. Some do it for the money, some for the fame, some just because they have nothing better to do. Only one is really troubled with the decision and feels guilty along the way. It’s very cliché, but the story focuses also about the team spirit and the fact that disabled and ‘normal’ people can work together just fine if they have the same goal.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8826496

 

 

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When a successful Indian wrestler retires, he vows to one day make his son a world champion, as he himself was never given the chance to fight internationally. Unfortunately, his wife can’t seem to give birth to a baby boy and he’s ‘stuck’ with four daughters. He’s left disappointed, until one day his two oldest daughters come home from school, having beating up two boys…  Suddenly he sees potential in them becoming wrestling champions, regardless of their gender.

Based on a true story, this movie is quite the joyful family fare (Disney produced it) with a clear message of Girl Power! At first, the girls are reluctant to follow the strict training schedule of their father, but along the way they start loving the game (especially after winning a lot of competitions and after realizing their father is trying to give them a better future excelling in something they are talented in, rather than sending them away in arranged marriages). They will finally give India medals in the Commonwealth Games of 2010.

It’s a great movie that shouldn’t be missed. Sure, it’s a Bollywood movie, and a lot of cinema lovers from the West aren’t really excited about the cinema coming from Mumbai, BUT this is such an accessible movie and is has a lot of funny moments. Yes, it’s overlong and yes there are musical intermezzo’s, but that’s part of the charm. Yes, there are cultural differences, but girls playing a sports for men, are looked strange at wherever you go. Just think about the status of female football players or female cyclists for a minute. It’s well filmed, well acted, and though simple and formulaic, the story fascinates.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5074352/

Borg vs McEnroe – *(*)

Posted: September 10, 2018 in 2017, Denmark, Sportsdrama, Sweden, X1/2

Back in the seventies, Bjorn Borg was quite the spectacular sportsman. He looked good and seemed to be void of emotions. Back in the eighties, John McEnroe was quite the spectacular sportsman as well. He didn’t look that good, but he swore a lot and had anger outbursts during games. Both excelled in tennis. They played against each other in two finals at Wimbledon. One in 1980 and one in 1981. This movie focuses on their first major confrontation. The emotionless & perfectionist Swede against the aggressive & careless American… But in trying to show the differences between both, the makers manage to show their similarities.

It’s an okay movie. It’s not a must-see, but it doesn’t bore. It’s pretty superficial and the tennis players don’t really come across as intriguing people. Which is sad, because they probably were. It uses flashbacks, every 5 minutes or so. That’s a format that works in this case. The childhood of these champions is a tad more interesting than the preparation to the final. You can watch the highlights of the final on youtube below (it’s considered to be the most thrilling finale in tennis history) and it pretty much makes sense that both were nervous about the event. That’s clear in the movie, but that’s not really intriguing. Shia LeBoeuf is great though and Sverrir Gudnason does a good job too.

Borg apparently thinks the movie is okay as well. McEnroe doesn’t. Both call it fiction.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5727282/

Chariots Of Fire – **

Posted: May 30, 2018 in 1981, Drama, Sportsdrama, UK, XX

This wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be!

Two British athletes want to win a race at the Paris Olympics from 1920. One is a devote Christian Scotsman and the other is a Jewish Englishman. The former wants to win to honor God, who gave him the gift to run fast. The latter wants to win to show that being Jewish isn’t all that bad. There’s one major obstacle for the Christian runner: the qualifications are organized on a Sunday! It’s 1920, the guy is devote, he decides to pick ‘God over King’ (the Prince of Wales begs him to run) and refuses to participate.

The synopsis is known. The outcome as well. So, it’s not like the movie has any suspense. I visit St Andrews and mention this story, this movie and its iconic opening scene on the beach every single time. But, watching the movie felt like a forced task. However, once you accept the fact that this is a British historical sports drama made in 1981 about a period of time that is almost a century ago, it’s not that bad. The acting is theatrical. The running is ridiculous. The music by Vangelis is classic vintage synth-strumental. But somehow, in the end, it’s not all that bad.

In a time when muslims are frowned upon for choosing Allah over the laws of the country they live in, it’s a good reminder that Christians also chose God over loyalty to their nation.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082158

Any article about the lack of gay soccer players in major competitions mentions Justin Fashanu as ‘the first openly gay soccer player’. His basic story is known to a larger (British) audience as well: rose to fame, came out gay, was shunned by the sport competition he loved, got accused of raping a young adult and killed himself. However, this documentary tells a lot more about this peculiar celebrity. Still not enough, but it’s an intriguing story. Fashanu was abandoned by this father and mother as a kid, grew up with his younger brother John as the only two black kids in a small British town, turned out to be a talented soccer player and became the first 1 mio £ black athlete in the UK. Then he didn’t perform well at his new team and was fired because of his homosexual activities… And then his life became a mess.

It’s a good documentary. Very chronological. Well filmed. With some nice shots of places he used to live in (Toronto, LA), young actors who interpret the young brothers, interviews with family members and friends, use of old footage from interviews (eloquent Justin clearly loved the attention) and also interesting tit bits from the news that matter to the story.

Too bad that when the documentary is over, you still feel like a lot of questions are unanswered. And you can’t find the answers online.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6538102

Battle Of The Sexes – **

Posted: November 11, 2017 in 2017, Dramedy, Romance, Sportsdrama, USA, XX

Back in 1973 Billy Jean King beat Bobby Riggs at a demonstration game in tennis. Maybe you shrug your shoulders and think: big deal. But it was at the time. Billy Jean King was the best female tennis player in the world and Bobby Riggs was a has-been Wimbledon champion who only played demonstration games to finance his gambling addiction.

A lot of things were at stake. Billy Jean King had started her own tennis circuit out of anger because the tennis association only paid her 1/8 of what the male tennis players were getting. A previous (less advertised) game had been a disaster for women rights activists (because the female player lost). The event drew 90 million viewers around the world (most of them probably in the US). It was a big deal. Up until now it’s still quite relevant. Women still don’t get equal pay in a lot of profession and sports. There are still quite a lot of chauvinist pigs around. People still believe the game was a fraud and Riggs lost on purpose…

But all this information isn’t necessary to go see the movie. It’s not that serious. It’s very light-hearted. It’s fun. Emma Stone is good as Billy Jean King. Steve Carell is excellent as Bobby Riggs. There’s a golden globe coming up for this guy! It’s a very easy to like movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4622512

 

Classic: Rocky – **

Posted: January 19, 2017 in 1976, Drama, Social Drama, Sportsdrama, USA, XX

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, Rocky remains quite an important and popular movie. The story is well known. A street boxer, who hasn’t really made anything of his life, takes up the challenge to fight Apollo Creed, the reigning world champion. He has no fair chance, but he’ll get plenty of money and it’s all for the good as he’ll be the underdog and that attracts crowds.

Rocky was the first in a series of six movies focussing on the ‘Italian Stallion’, the underdog who ends up being the champ. Back in the eighties Rocky III and Rocky IV were smash hits at the box office, with chart topping soundtracks and every tough kid in school trying to replay the fights between Sylvester Stallone and Mr T (III) or Dolf Lundgren (IV). Back then anyone who was a fan of these action blockbusters had little interest in seeing the first movie, which is more of a social drama. As a kid, I couldn’t understand the fuzz about this boring motion picture of the seventies that has only one fight. As an adult, I can understand the fuzz a bit more. The zero to hero-story always works. Especially back then. Stallone is really good in this movie. The soundtrack was refreshing at the time. The rich and successful guy was black ! The dialogue isn’t PC at all. The fights look real. All great.

But what’s with all the shouting? Everyone shouts. All the time. It’s like watching a modern day Egyptian movie. And what’s with the side characters? Rocky’s future wife Adrian… Rocky’s trainer Micky… Rocky’s supposedly best friend Paulie… Rocky’s maffia employer Gazzo… Every scene they are in is annoying. And there are a lot.

However, after watching last year’s reboot Creed it’s interesting to see this classic again. A lot of references make more sense now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075148/