Monthly Archives: March 2016

‘Eddie the Eagle’ good family fun

I’m not a fan of sports movies. They all tend to be cliche, similar in pacing, hitting the same beats. It doesn’t make any of those movies bad, necessarily, and some are quite entertaining. But it’s the rare sports film – Bull Durham, for example – that I’m willing to sit through even once, let alone multiple viewings.

Eddie the Eagle isn’t exceptional. It’s a well-told story about ski jumper Eddie Edwards and his ridiculously long-shot attempt to compete in the Olympics. Taron Egerton is terrific as the titular athlete, an awkward, sincere young man, who, when told as a child that he will likely never walk right, let alone compete in any sports, decides his future is as an Olympian. Hugh Jackman plays a watered-down Logan, a smoking, hard-drinking ne’er-do-well and former ski jumper who helps coach Eddie. (The smoking and drinking are likely responsible for the PG-13 rating. I was surprised after watching to learn it wasn’t PG.) From here, of course, the movie writes itself, as these two mismatched pals take on the British Olympic establishment to compete in the world’s biggest sporting event.

So would I recommend Eddie the Eagle? It’s not my kind of thing, and had it not been a family movie night selection, I’d have never watched it. But as a family movie night selection, it was a satisfying choice. It’s funny and heartwarming, the kind of thing that thirty years ago might have ended up on Wonderful World of Disney instead of in theaters.

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New ‘Cloverfield’ outperforms original

There could be some spoiling going on. You were warned.

I won’t go extensively into the plot of 10 Cloverfield Lane or anything like that in this analysis. Honestly, you can get most of what you need to know to get you up to speed from the trailers.

That said, I do have some thoughts about 10 Cloverfield Lane.

  • Not enough can be said about the performances of John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr. Goodman’s Howard is immensely creepy, but the question is “Is he weird guy next door who collects insects?” creepy or “Is he weird guy next door who collects insects and wants to sew himself a costume out of women’s skin?” creepy. Goodman balances his creepiness well and makes viewers uneasy about Howard’s next move throughout. Winstead’s Michelle is a survivor, constantly thinking about what to do next and probing Howard to see just how mental he is, alternatively hopeful and terrified. Gallagher’s Emmett is an underachieving redneck and the closest thing Howard has to a friend. Emmett’s casual reactions to Howard’s oddness help diffuse and temper Michelle’s fear and concern. The three together make for an unsteady, tense, volatile trio.
  • The original Cloverfield was an OK film, an attempt to use the found-footage style horror films have used effectively in more of a science fiction setting. But again, it was only OK. Bravo to JJ Abrams and director Dan Trachtenburg for upping the ante in the movie number two, going a different direction with the film, both stylistically and thematically. So many sequels are just a naked cash grab, a sucker’s bet. 10 Cloverfield Lane is the rare sequel that isn’t really a sequel – it’s more of a story told in the same Cloverfield-verse – and a film that surpasses its predecessor.
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