Monday, December 12, 2016

Movie Monday: Fly Like an Eagle

After watching Kingsman: the Secret Service, I knew that I needed to approach anything Mathew Vaughn does with cautious optimism.  I've been a fan of Layer Cake and Stardust for some time, so it only goes without saying that I was really excited to see Kingsman for the first time. It was a great movie with an all star cast lead by one new talent who proved he had some chops. The cinematography was brilliant, the editing was stellar and the story was incredible. But then came that last 5 minutes of the movie where Vaughn made a completely unnecessary sexual joke AND, of all things, he dedicated the movie to his mom. Right after the crude joke.

WHAT?!  Good job buddy.

It was a directors choice that lead to all kinds of controversy and left film fans like myself with a bitter taste in their mouth for his work. I wasn't sure I wanted to see the next movie he made. Then came a dull Saturday evening where my family was scrolling through the countless movies one can choose from on a zillion different platforms. My husband suggested a new movie that Vaughn has produced called Eddie the Eagle. Vaugh wasn’t the director this time and  Taron Egerton (Kingsmen) would take the title role with support from Hugh Jackman. And there would be a guest appearance from Christopher Walken. Alright, fine.

I’ll give it a chance.

It’s a pretty simple concept. A very non-athletic individual aspires to participate in the Olympics. Eddie Edwards spends his entire life training to be in the Olympics. Every time he gets close, something gets in his way. He even managed to almost make it onto the British Olympic ski squad before the committee told him he wasn’t, and never would be, Olympic material. Not one to give up, Eddie discovers there is another event he can compete in: Ski jumping. Which, of course, he has never done and never trained for. But by golly, he’s going to try.

Holy Moly! This movie is very well directed (thanks to Dexter Fletcher) and the acting was incredible. Edgerton, who was completely under utilized in Kingsman, really showed off his ability to transform into a role. He managed to give a nuanced delivery of mannerisms inspired by the real person he was portraying throughout the film, all while still managing to also deliver an authentic performance of a sincere and dedicated individual who was more than a little out of his league.

The director  also includes homages to other Olympic surprises from the1988 games that have already been turned into films of their own, and more than a few really clever transitions that make you feel nostalgic for how movies used to tell a story. 

I'm still nervous for Vaughn's upcoming sequel to Kingsman, but Eddie the Eagle delivers. In the true spirit of the games, this film reminds us all that giving your best is more important than gold. Don’t believe me that participation is as important as winning?

They made a movie about the guy who came in last.

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