If one follows my twitter, they will soon learn that along with my appreciation for film, I also really enjoy sports, especially college football. I usually try to catch all the college football games and that definitely goes for the “bowl season,” a series of post-season competitions played by teams across the country who didn’t make the playoff.
Please let “Creed III” start with Adonis Creed fighting John Cena for charity.
Yes, that’s a joke, but one can’t help but feel the “Creed” saga is on the same trajectory as the original “Rocky” series. In all fairness, though, the latest picture in the Balboa Cinematic Universe is pretty good.
A story that many in the United States and the world for that matter are familiar with gets another look in “I, Tonya.”
As the title teases, the movie follows the story of two-time Olympian Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie), whose career rose with a 1991 U.S. Figure Skating Championship and ended with a controversy revolving around an attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan.
The picture details her early life of training under her strict and controlling mother LaVona (Allison Janney) to her time as a professional skater where she had a relationship, marriage and breakup with her husband Jeff (Sebastian Stan). Through both periods of her life, the film showcases Harding’s difficulties because of poverty and the people around her.
“Eddie the Eagle” is the latest film that captures the Olympics and the second one that tells an underdog story at the 1988 games, with the other being “Cool Running.”
The film’s first half hour follows the titular character, Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton), through childhood. Edwards is completely obsessed with going to the Olympics and much of his youth is spent trying out a selection of different sports, with them all ending in failure.
That is until he comes across skiing, which he is actually pretty good at. Unfortunately, the British Olympic officials decide to not take Edwards with to the 88 games in Calgary, which spurs the protagonist to find another route to the event. His solution is ski jumping and he finds help in a washed up, former champion named Bronson Peary (played by Hugh Jackman).
“Race” tells the story of Olympic legend Jesse Owens, the Ohio State University track star who went to the 1936 games in Berlin just before the start of World War II. The film begins as Owens (Stephan James) starts college and meets his coach, Larry Snyder, played by Jason Sudeikis.
Snyder immediately sees Owens’ talent and the movie follows the two as they prepare for the eventual Olympic Games.
Owens’ story is certainly impressive given the circumstances of the country (and the world for that matter) at that point in history. As its title implies, “Race” certainly does take on these issues with racial matters at the forefront, which makes for a compelling picture whenever these themes are played out.
- Peter Landesman
- Will Smith
- Alec Baldwin
- Albert Brooks
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw
- David Morse
- Rated: PG-13
In “Concussion,” Will Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Pittsburgh forensic neuropathologist whose work brings him in contact with the deceased former Steelers player Mike Webster (Morse). After researching Webster’s cause of death, Omalu comes to the conclusion that repeated blows to the head from football created a disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE.
As Omalu begins to review other possible cases of CTE, he has to also deal with the National Football League, which isn’t ready to admit any wrongdoing on their part for the lack of research.
Michael B. Jordan
“Creed” takes place a few years after the events of 2006’s “Rocky Balboa” and this time around, the Italian Stallion doesn’t step into the ring. Instead, the film focuses on Adonis Johnson (Jordan), the illegitimate son of Rocky’s (Stallone) friend and boxing rival Apollo Creed.
Adonis grew up mostly in group homes and juvenile detention centers for his tendencies to fight until he was adopted by Apollo’s widowed wife Mary Ann (Rashad). As he reaches adulthood, though, he still has a drive to fight, this time in the ring, and decides to find the former Champion Rocky Balboa to be his trainer.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Billy Hope in “Southpaw,” a boxer who holds a title belt and is undefeated. Hope is a fighter that isn’t afraid to get bloody and he often takes a beating in the ring. With his undefeated record, Hope has experienced a great adult life, however, after a tragedy happens, he is sent into a downward spiral.
To get his life back on track, Hope relies on the help of trainer Tick Wills (Whitaker), not just to improve as an athlete, but as a person.
“Unbroken” tells the true life story of World War II veteran and Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini (O’Connell). Following his competing at the 1936 Olympics, Zamperini joined the war effort and served as part of a bomber crew. On one of the missions Zamperini’s plane fails and only he and two other members of the crew survive. The three are left to survive in the vast Pacific ocean for weeks upon weeks until they are spotted by the Japanese armed forces.
The film then shows Zamperini’s time in a prisoner of war camp in Japan, where he comes into contact with a strict, brutal guard nicknamed “The Bird” (Ishihara).
The film follows Bob Ladouceur (Caviezel), a coach of a high school football team which achieved the longest win streak in football at any level. The movie begins with business as usual for the team. They win another state championship and everything seems to be going fine.
In the offseason, though, tragedy strikes on more than one occasion. Ladouceur gets a heart attack from pushing himself so hard and one of the teammates set to graduate and go on to the University of Oregon football program is shot and killed. To make matters worse, at the beginning of the next season, the team loses… TWICE!