There are two kinds of sports movies: underdog stories and everything else. The former category is vastly larger than the latter, likely because that’s sort of the archetypal narrative in any genre. The very first shot of Star Wars is a tiny Rebel ship fleeing a massive Imperial cruiser, and yet we know instantly which one we’re going to root for. In terms of sports movies this translates to Remember the Titans, The Longest Yard (not the remake), Rudy, Miracle, The Bad News Bears (not the remake), Chariots of Fire, The Hustler, A League of Their Own, Major League, Breaking Away, Slap Shot, Rocky, Hoosiers, Moneyball, and so on and so on.
One might easily claim that Jerry Maguire, Eight Men Out, The Natural, Field of Dreams, Raging Bull, and other sports movies that don’t fit comfortably into the underdog narrative are more admirable for finding a way to avoid it, but really all of the movies listed above are pretty great (but not the remakes). The question is not “in which category does Eddie the Eagle belong?” because Eddie very definitely belongs with the Underdogs; the question is whether Eddie’s story cuts it to the degree that the old hat storyline takes a backseat to the overall journey.
Continue reading Eddie the Eagle (2016)
Motion State Face Offs pit two films, franchises, or television series against each another for no reason other than because we can.
There are ostensibly only a small handful of things that The Voices and Kingsman: The Secret Service have in common. Both are 2014 releases with a satirical vibe that sometimes plays as downright cartoony. Both are Rated-R violent. Both played on a recent transatlantic flight that I took. They’re both movies, too, and both star actors and actresses and have titles made up of letters. The fact that Voices and Kingsman both exist is their greatest commonality, although it’s not necessarily something you’re particularly happy about once you realize that all of these other really good movies — hey, they exist too.
And therein lies the actual thread linking Voices to Kingsman. The former stars Ryan Reynolds as a meek little manchild with an odd little habit of talking to his pets. He hears their voices in his head, and he and his cat and his dog have some rollicking conversations. Oh, yeah, and he also has a penchant for killing people and chopping them up, too. Kingsman is a spy flick that might be a spy spoof, following a young lad named Eggsy as he’s initiated into a secret service of super-suave sleeper scouts. Taron Egerton plays Eggsy, but the show is stolen by his mentor figure Galahad, played by Colin Firth. In both cases we have pretty solid cast at hand. And in both cases nearly every single one of them is slumming it.
Continue reading Face Off: The Voices (2014) and Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)