Chariots of Fire

The movie was Chariots of Fire. The dinner was Indian take-away from Taj Mahal. (It was a movie about England, after all.)

Eric says:

This was a good movie. There are problematic elements to it in some ways, yes, but overall, it’s good. It was creatively shot, for one thing. I feel like that alone made it stand out in interesting and noteworthy ways. Likewise, the whole narrative structure was kind of crazy (a flashback, a flashback within a flashback, a flashforward in the flashback…needless to say there was a great deal of flashing), but it worked. The ending shots of the crowd in the church shifting from early 20th century dress to late 1970s dress was very cool.

I run, so there were parts of this that I found interesting and fun. I don’t, nor have I ever, ran proper track events, so there’s that. But still, it stirs something in ya. Likewise, that soundtrack. It’s wonderful. I forgot how synth it was, but it’s great. And the whole musical score, mixing the iconic theme (that shot of the whole team running down the beach that bookends the film), with the Gilbert and Sullivan stuff was great, too.

The idea that this is a story of two men of different faiths who use running in some way to help them along their path in life is intriguing. The discrimination that Abrahams faces as a Jew is horrible and it’s really interesting to tell a story that basically explains how he wants to beat everybody at something to prove to them, and himself, and the world, that he’s great. The idea that Liddell won’t run on the Sabbath is a great plot device, but it just made me annoyed. That’s my own thing. I get it. It’s a question of ideals and having a personal code…and I did love that he told everyone who was in charge that he wasn’t going to do what they told him. THAT was great. But it still had a lot of limitations.

All that said, it was a bit strange to think of this as a Best Picture winner. After watching five of these, that stretch over five different decades, I can say I honestly don’t know what constitutes an Oscar Winning Best Picture. Maybe some pattern will emerge as I watch more of these, but wow…talk about things being all over the map.

Things I liked:

The soundtrack, the training montages, the shots of England and Scotland, the costumes.

Things I didn’t like:

There were two women in this film, neither one doing much more than complaining that the men want to run. That was pretty weak. It’s basically a story of how the rich can be so cool and do such great stuff. That was pretty weak.

Would I watch it again? No, probably not. Was it worth it? Sure. If you haven’t seen this, take a look. If you are a runner, or an anglophile, you’ll like parts of it.

Rating: 6/10

4504723_81f54fe8.jpg
These newer films are tricky to find non-copyright covered images! This is a picture of the Chariots of Fire race that happens in England…The annual 5k that takes place on West Sands St Andrews (while the theme is played!).

~~~

Darcy says:

Swing Low Sweet Chariots of Fire
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Well, I don’t know why I came here tonight
I got the feeling that something ain’t right
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down those stairs
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you
-Gerald Rafferty, Joe Egan
Jokers to the left, here I am, stuck in the middle of this movie.
Oh the joys of watching plucky brave British lads facing down impossible odds for king
and country. You just have to admire the constant deflowering of the flowers of British
manhood in American film. Well you do, because we Americans put them up there being
admirable and this picture makes bloody sure you join the exuberant crowds of football
hooligans, I mean athletic supporters, I mean fans of British sport. Do not miss the nasty
Frog tripping the flying Scotsman who recovers to win the race. Don’t miss the
tenacious Jewish upstart who challenges Dumbledore, er. Gandalf, I mean Sir John
Gielgud. This is an homage to nationalistic fervor that built and lost the Titanic, the rigid
airship R101, the Tay Bridge and the largest empire the world has ever seen.
There’ll always be an England
While there’s a country lane
Wherever there’s a cottage small
Beside a field of grain
-Ross Parker and Hughie Charles
It is certainly gorgeous and full of beautiful people like a white supremacist take on
Franko Zeffirelli. Perhaps if I were a sports fan, my father was deficient in the Y-
chromosome gene for sports that most human males seem to carry, this movie would
motivate me to strive for excellence. Alas, dad never bought me PF Flyers or took me
out to throw stuff at me teaching me to catch baseballs with my face. I just find it hard to
care about people who run faster and jump higher.
This is sort of a recruiting film for Nigel Farage’s UK Independence party promoting the
idea that cigarette smoking ale drinking English once exceled at sports and could once
more. Of course those clean living Sabbath abiding Europe promoting Scots are not
English.Theological note: The sabbath is Saturday, not Sunday. Sunday is little Easter
where Jesus did not lie around resting but was up telling us all to look busy. Also,
Mark 2:27
​“Then Jesus told them, ‘The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath.’”
Sadly it was necessary to recruit Ian Holm Cuthbert, son of Jean Wilson (née Holm) and
James Harvey Cuthbert, to play Sam Mussabini because there were no Italian or Arab
actors in the British Isles at the time and Warner Oland was no longer available to do his
amazing cross ethnic impersonations.
Speaking of cross something impersonations, someone in the audience pointed out that
a naked guy under a towel professing love and, dare I say affection, for another guy
who seemed riveted on his every word, was a bit of, you know, nudge nudge, wink wink,
say no more. Well it was certainly all that but not much more.
Let us say if 10 is the best then this film goes about 50 meters to a 5
~~~
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