Year 8, Day 221 - 8/8/16 - Movie #2,416
BEFORE: I'm hitting a short run of sports-themed films, a few days after the Summer Olympics started. This is largely accidental, but I'm going to roll with it. So to speak. I'm avoiding the Olympics this year because I no longer need to watch sporting events for work, plus I need to use August to catch up on episodic TV, where I'm so far behind, I'm just starting to watch shows that aired in early May - and the fall TV season will be here before you know it. So, every weeknight, Mon-Thurs I'm watching three hours of shows (stored on VHS) from May before my movie, then from Fri.-Sun. I work on clearing the DVR before my movie. By the end of August, it might be possible to reduce the backlog by about half. That's my own personal race.
Dennis Quaid carries over from "Flight of the Phoenix", and he'll be here tomorrow as well.
THE PLOT: A small-town boy obsessed with the Italian cycling team vies for the affections of a college girl.
AFTER: I feel quite lucky, because this film covers a whole bunch of sports, perhaps even a pentathlon's worth. There's bicycle racing, of course, but also one character jogs and another gets involved with synchronized quarry diving. We also see the college kids playing frisbee and then there are references to college football. Yes, I realize some of those are not really Olympic sports, but work with me here. Tomorrow I've got more football coming up, and then a boxing film in about two weeks, and that will probably be the extent of the sports theme, unless some cable channel decides to start running "Creed" - I've also got "Southpaw" on the list, but my linking places it a lot closer to the end of the year.
But let's focus on the bike racing tonight (which I'm pretty sure IS an Olympic sport). This film is set in an Bloomington, home of Indiana University, where the most popular major seems to be douchebaggery, with an optional minor in bar fighting. The rivalry between the college kids and the townies (nicknamed "Cutters", since their fathers cut the stone for the college buildings) keeps heating up until the police and the college dean come together and allow a team of Cutters into the "Little 500", the annual college bicycle race.
Apparently, this town is obsessed with cycling, there are TWO bike races seen in the film, one against the visiting Cinzano-sponsored Italian team, which I guess is some kind of exhibition race, and then the big "Little 500" - which consists of 200 laps around a course, so I don't really get why it's called the "Little 500". Oh, wait, it's a reference to the Indianapolis 500, I got that quite late. And our lead Cutter is obsessed with the Italian team, he goes around speaking as much Italian as he knows and singing Italian opera - until he meets the Italian cyclists and realizes they're a bunch of Euro-snobs. Words of wisdom, kid - you can meet your heroes, just don't get to know them.
The plan for the Cutters to win the Little 500 is for Dave to do all the work, with the other three teens just for show. Which seems like a great plan, as long as Dave doesn't get injured somehow. That would mean that the other three riders, with much less experience and endurance, would need to get on the bike and somehow keep up with the much stronger athletes. What are the odds of THAT happening? Especially since we've been led to believe for the whole film that they're just a bunch of slackers, unable to buckle down and accomplish anything. But I guess maybe you find your motivation when your pride is on the line.
This is another film that's on that list of "1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", so after watching this, I've now seen 391 of those films, with 7 of them still on my watchlist. I might be able to make it to 400 before I stop, which I think would be a pretty good percentage.
Also starring Dennis Christopher (last seen in "Prisoners"), Daniel Stern (last seen in "Starting Over"), Jackie Earle Haley (last seen in "Robocop"), Barbara Barrie (last seen in "Private Benjamin"), Paul Dooley (last heard in "Turbo"), Robyn Douglass (last seen in "The Lonely Guy"), John Ashton (last seen in "She's Having a Baby"), Hart Bochner, P.J. Soles.
RATING: 5 out of 10 used cars