Wednesday, September 22, 2010


(Steven H. Stern, 1979)
One of those Canadian films whose strenuous Americanness drew howls of outrage at the time, although I am more offended with its attempts to compensate - the cunning insertion of a pilot hyping Montreal's Olympic stadium is pure tourist bureau garbage. Technically this tale of Michael Douglas' NYC jogging enthusiast with self-esteem issues could take place anywhere - Ottawa, Flin Flon, Lagos - only then its automatic Rockyism would be exposed as the craven sham that it is. The early scenes are relatively intimate and agreeable, thanks largely to Susan Anspach and a relatively relaxed Douglas, but as soon as the guy makes the qualifying round the script starts laying on the excessively familiar bootstrap patriotism. 'Wasted' does not begin to describe the misuse of the Canuck support team - Levy, Dane, "Charles" Shamata, all are sidelined before the characters they've established can be put to any practical use. In a further sin of omission, Stern differentiates his narrative arc from his progenitor mainly by completely vaguing out on the training process - instead of bringing Dane in to discipline his old charge, we get yards and yards of highly economical but shapeless and content-free footage of Douglas running around. And I wish one of these damn movies would speak up for self-worth as an end in itself, not just a cunning strategy to 'bring honor to your country' and Get The Girl.

No comments:

Post a Comment