Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Everybody's All-American

Year 8, Day 222 - 8/9/16 - Movie #2,417

BEFORE: Dennis Quaid carries over from "Breaking Away", and suddenly I'm wondering where I took a wrong turn in my chain.  It's nice when things line up, like watching a film about bicycle racing shortly after the Olympics start, but now I'm on to football - in August?  OK, it's college football, and I'm sure that the college football players are reporting to practice this month, because how else are they going to be ready for September - but when you think about college football, you think about fall, or the Bowl games that happen in the winter, and football in general is a fall/winter sport, or so I'm told, so what's going wrong?  

I think I know the problem - as I get the watchlist down to fewer and fewer films, my linking choices are getting harder to justify.  I mean, maybe I should have followed the Hugh Laurie trail out of "Flight of the Phoenix" and watched "101 Dalmatians", or maybe I should have followed the Julianne Moore trail out of "Maps of the Stars" a week ago, which would have led me to "Still Alice", but that would have led me through Kristen Stewart to either "American Ultra" (currently a dead-end) or through Alec Baldwin to "Concussion" (football again, but at least the presence of Will Smith could have led me to go watch "Suicide Squad" in the theater).   

And it's not like tonight's film is a dead-end - but I'm not crazy about the link to tomorrow's film, because it relies on an actress who was way, way down on the cast list for both films, I think even uncredited in both films - and that's just not good enough.  So the entire plan for the rest of August now needs to be scrapped, I think. (I can keep it more or less intact, and perhaps link back to it...)  This is a reaction to the fact that my back-to-school films (colleges appeared in "Pitch Perfect 2", "Breaking Away", and now tonight...) have appeared a month early on the schedule, and this needs to be addressed.  

Fortunately, in the time since I made this chain, another film came on the list, which provides a new direction, a way off this track.  I've got 24 hours to decide if I want to take it or not, because it means tearing apart my plan and putting it back together in a new order.  But if that gets me a chain that's close to 83 films long, taking Halloween horror films and my end-of-year chain into account, then it's got to be done.  

THE PLOT:  A Louisiana football legend struggles to deal with life's complexities after his college career is over.

AFTER: I'm already feeling sort of disconnected from this chain, because it feels so back-to-school like, and this feeling isn't helped by a storyline that asks me to feel sympathy for an athlete, and a popular one at that.  Oh, is your life not everything it's cracked up to be?  It must be so tough getting so much attention, then playing for the NFL and making a ton of money, while being married to your attractive college sweetheart.  There's a reason why no one's making the biopic about Tom Brady, or feeling much sympathy for him being forced to sit out the first four games of this season, because we all just picture him spending time in his mansion, counting his money with his supermodel wife (and I say this as a Patriots fan!)  It's the same problem with this film.  

If anything, the film is sort of a cautionary tale for professional athletes, to be careful about how they invest their money, and which products they endorse, and to not let fame go to their heads which could result in neglect creeping in to their relationships.  I get that NFL players need to travel around a lot, plus could get traded to another team which would uproot the whole family (umm, or not) but even still, it's hard for me to muster up any sympathy for well-paid pro players.  

OK, so there's a bit in this film about the civil rights movement, which feels a little bit off-topic, but then again, the film is set in Louisiana, so naturally that was part of the zeitgeist.  But it still feels shoehorned in to lend the film some relevance, beyond being just about a rich white pro athlete. 

NITPICK POINT: I couldn't really understand if "Cake" was Gavin's cousin or nephew.  Wikipedia says he was his nephew, but then how would they be attending the same college at the same time?  Then again, this is set in the South, so maybe he's both. 

Also starring Jessica Lange (last seen in "Masked and Anonymous"), Timothy Hutton (last seen in "The Ghost Writer"), John Goodman (last seen in "National Lampoon: Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead"), Carl Lumbly (last seen in "Pacific Heights"), Ray Baker, Savannah Smith Boucher, Patricia Clarkson (last seen in "Shutter Island"), with cameos from Wayne Knight, Aaron Neville.

RATING: 4 out of 10 lateral passes  

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