Written by / 3/16/2016 / No comments / , , ,

REVIEW OF EDDIE THE EAGLE

A somewhat belated review of a movie to take the family and kids to... or wait a few weeks to stream on your television.
Everyone knows what a genre is. Science-Fiction. Suspense. Action. Adventure. Drama. Comedy. Feel-Good. And in the latter, RUDY probably comes to mind... at least in the sports department. And here we have a RUDY for a new generation, and continent, although he "reigned" around the same time, decades ago... in this particular case, during the 1988 Olympics: He being a short British kid with all the confidence in the world, and then some, named Eddie Edwards. And with a working class father who sees his son's future not in Plastics, but Plaster, a headstrong Eddie, since a very young age shown in a rushed growing-up montage throughout the opening credits, wants to be... something, anything... having to do with the Olympics. And that's that.

Eddie The Eagle Poster
Eventually, he finds his future golden-dreams in Ski Jumping, which is a very quick sport while watching but obviously pretty heart-pounding and dangerous as it occurs to the athlete... When you fall, you fall hard ("the agony of defeat")... But alas, the peril doesn't seem dangerous to either them or us... Often, the film is too arthouse-quirky to celebrate the overall suspenseful thrill of the sport itself. Although the last leap is somewhat of a nail-biter. And not so surprisingly, the Van Halen song JUMP plays afterwards.

With far more cons than pros, the real problem with this biopic, based on Eddie along with his nickname, hence EDDIE THE EAGLE since he flapped his arms like a bird after his first big Olympic win, is that it's just so darn Feel-Good, we hardly get to know the main character beyond his big smiling moon-face with glasses and/or goggles...

Eddie's downright one-dimensional as a cinema "character," to say the very least, unlike the aforementioned Rudy, who we experienced the ups, downs, and all-around torturous heartbreak as a human being, and not just a dreamer whose dreams come true, much too easily...

Hugh Jackman
That's somewhat thanks to a snow-plowing, cliché has-been drunk (and chain smoker) who used to be (for a very short time) one of the best Ski Jumpers in the world, and reluctantly becomes Eddie's coach. In the role of Bronson Peary, Hugh Jackson goes through the motions, and beyond a Hall & Oates grooving three minute athletic montage, he seems more like a big brother (for better or worse) than a trainer.

RUDY image
Meanwhile, Eddie himself (played by Taron Egerton, a visual cross between a nerdy Daniel Radcliff; a skinnier Jack Black; a future random serial killer; and the every-kid you half remember who lived down the street) is way too confident and dedicated, from the very beginning to the very end, that all the things getting in his way, from a narrow-minded father; a narrower-minded Olympic committee (trumping even the snobs in CHARIOTS OF FIRE); school yard and team member bullies; and especially the mere fact he's not that athletically inclined, ultimately making EDDIE THE EAGLE as forgettable a film as it's a much too easy climb defeating the odds, because there just doesn't seem to be many. Odds, that is. Mostly because our hero just doesn't care, and we kinda need him to – so that we can.

Eddie the Eagle
RATING: **
TRIVIA: For a James Bond movie that has some great Snow Skiing sport action shots including assassinations during the Olympics, check out (and read the Cult Film Freak review of) FOR YOUR EYES ONLY • "The agony of defeat," a sentenced mentioned in the review, is an iconic line from THE WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS opening narration when they show a skier biting the dust... or rather, the snow • The Plaster not Plastics is an "inside joke" to movie buffs relating to THE GRADUATE starring another movie underdog played by Dustin Hoffman... by the way, thanks for putting up with so much pop culture in these reviews, for it just cannot be helped • Beware, Christopher Walken fans, don't get your hopes up... he's hardy in the piece at all • In CHARIOTS OF FIRE, the masterpiece Oscar Winner from 1981, the Olympic Committee doesn't want to listen to one of the main characters like they ignore Eddie, but at least they saw that Scottish athlete as legitimate • For the few who don't know, RUDY starred LORD OF THE RINGS second-banana Hobbit and, at that point, just-grown GOONIES child actor Sean Astin, about a kid dying (not literally, but almost) to be part of the Notre Dame football team, first having to make the grades to go to the school, and remain there • For people into great and obscure classic rock music; on the opposite side of Van Halen's pop hit JUMP, while Jackman's character does a run to prove his former worth, a very obscure Thin Lizzy track, COWBOY SONG, blares awesomely... and it's quite nice hearing an unknown Lizzy tune instead of the overplayed BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN... few people know how great that band really was • And while this is a true story, it's said to be "inspired by actual events," and Eddie Edwards is his name, in the movie... But in real life, Eddie is actually the nickname for his last name, "Eddie," and his first name is Michael.
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