Eddie the Eagle and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Dexter Fletcher
Despite some films that are clearly going to be awful coming through the pipeline soon (*cough* Gods of Egypt *cough* Brothers Grimsby *cough*), I think it’s safe to say that the New Year Doldrums are coming to end as we’ve been getting some pretty sold films lately like The Witch and Race. Will Eddie the Eagle, a feel good comedy about an unlikely athlete, be yet another sign that the dark times are over, or the last gasp of awfulness before such dreck is anesthetized from the local multiplexes? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton) whose one goal in life is to be an Olympic athlete and to one day participate in the games as a representative of Great Britain. He doesn’t really care for any sport in particular (and has very little skill in most of them) but he eventually finds that skiing agrees with him for the most part and hopes to qualify for the 88 Winter Games in Calgary. Sadly, he doesn’t seem to be up to snuff for any of the skiing events and is about to give up when he realizes that Great Britain hasn’t had an official Ski Jumper participate in the games for over fifty years which means that he doesn’t have to compete against anyone else to qualify! True, he’s never jumped in his life, but he’s got about a year until the next games and is determined to get there no matter the cost. He sets up camp in Germany where there’s an official training facility that he can practice at, yet the training seems to be slow going on his own. Fortunately, IT JUST SO HAPPENS that a former American ski jumper named Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) is the unassuming and alcoholic groundskeeper (I guess that’s what you’d call him) of the facility and, after some badgering from Eddie, eventually decides to help him get just good enough to not kill himself at the games. Will Eddie be able to live out his dream to be an Olympic athlete in a sport he barely understands? Will Bronson find redemption in helping this guy become a proper ski jumper? Who wants to bet the true story wasn’t NEARLY as whimsical as they portray it here?
Race and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features and TriStar Pictures
Directed by Stephen Hopkins
What with Oscars So White still being a relevant issues as the ceremony approaches, there really wasn’t a better time to release a biopic about the man who both shattered the color barrier to win four gold medals in 1936, and who succumbed to the insurmountable weight of the prejudice once her returned home. A fitting figure to highlight the discrimination that even people as successful as Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and countless other black and minority celebrities still have to face. Does this movie do justice to the story of the man while also being heartbreaking relevant to today? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the career of Jesse Owens (Stephen James) between his acceptance to Ohio State University and his participation in the 1936 Berlin Olympics where he won four gold medals for the hundred meter, two hundred meter, four hundred meter relay, and long jump events. Of course, the story is not as simple as it may seem considering this all took place well before the Civil Rights Act was even a possibility in the United States, and that the Berlin Olympics were taking place in Nazi Germany which was already becoming a hotly contested entity on the world stage. As he struggles with his own personal demons about being a proper man and father, he must also face the realities of being a symbol for something greater than himself. Certain members of the black community want him to take a stand against the Olympics as a way to highlight the atrocities in Germany as well as those in his own home country, which could be a powerful statement but would almost certainly end his career in the process. Now we all know he did indeed end up going to the Olympics, but it was stuff like this that was in the back of his mind that he had to work through while facing down the Nazis in their own country. Does this movie manage to capture the historical magnitude of Jesse Owens’s achievements or is this yet another biopic that fails to capture what makes the person so great to instead focus on running down a checklist of his life story?