I’ve been enjoying the Olympics quite a bit, and it seems like I’m not alone when you look at the TV ratings.
I don’t want to write anything specifically about "these" Olympics, because there are professionals who get paid to do that.
Perhaps there is not a large enough pool of "Olympic movies" from which to draw from, but this list was comically bad. Here is the list, in reverse order, with some commentary from me on each choice.
5. “BLADES OF GLORY” (2007)
First of all, any list that claims to be the "Best" of ANYTHING, which also includes naming THIS dreadful movie, immediately disqualifies itself from being taken seriously by any right-thinking human being.
This movie was horrendous, and I’d imagine its own director and producers probably even share that opinion.
But forget how putrid the film is—it’s not even ABOUT the Olympics! The Olympics are never even named in this film; they’re called the "World Games" or something like that. So we’ve got a fairly inauspicious start, I’d say. (But what can you expect from a magazine that calls itself L.A. Today, but spells it "2Day"?)
4. “COOL RUNNINGS” (1993)
The “inspired by a true story” of the Jamaican bobsledding team was a feel-good picture released less than a year before its star, John Candy, passed away. The film was fairly schmaltzy, certainly making a shameless play at heartstring-tugging; but I suppose it belongs on a list of this kind.
I have a bigger problem with the fact that two of the "headliners" in this movie had names like "Doug E. Doug," and "Leon." That is his entire name: Leon.
3. “PREFONTAINE” (1997)
I can’t comment too much here, because I didn’t see this movie. In typical Hollywood fashion, two competing "Steve Prefontaine" biopics were being rushed to release around the same time (kind of like "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon" being released within a year of each other).
The other Prefontaine movie was called "Without Limits," and one of them had Jared Leto playing "Pre" and the other had Billy Crudup playing the same role. I think this one was the Jared Leto one, though I wouldn’t bet on it.
2. “MUNICH” (2005)
Now this is patently absurd. “Munich” listed as an OLYMPIC MOVIE?! Riiiiight.
This is an Olympic movie in the same way a porn film is a "public health message"—since, after all, Jenna Jameson puts a condom on the guy at the very beginning, right?
1. “MIRACLE” (2004)
I have no issue with this movie being on this list—after all, the story of the U.S. Olympic hockey team upsetting Russia in the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid is a watershed moment in ALL sports, not just the Olympics, and the film captured it very well.
“Miracle” was one of the first movies I thought of when I saw the title of the list, so I don’t have a problem with it being in the top slot.
What I DO have a problem with, however, is the omission of “Chariots of Fire” (1981) from the list entirely. That was the other movie I thought of instantly when I saw the article, and assumed that it was a lock for one of the top two spots.
Now, the writer does admit that "Chariots of Fire" is a seminal Olympic film, but claims it was omitted because it is “a given,” whatever that means.
“The Best Picture of 1981 tells the true story of British athletes preparing for and competing in the 1924 summer Olympics in Paris. At 123 minutes the film clocks out as a sprawling epic and is recognized by critics as one of the best sports movies ever made. This film was a given which is why I failed to include it in the original list.”
I reject that argument summarily. And if you can’t come up with at least 10 of whatever it is for a “Best of…” list, then you probably shouldn’t make the list.
But at least I got a blog post out of it.
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