Can you believe it? The Olympics are finally here! As I write this, we are under 12 hours away from the start of the Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony, and 36 hours away from NBC actually airing it.
All right, that’s an exaggeration on my part. But in this day and age NBC needs to put viewers first. And don’t give me this crap about it only being an hour delay, regardless of length, it’s still a damn delay! Okay, rant over.
In order to get into the Olympic spirit, today I’m gonna watch a few movies leading up to tonight’s opening ceremony. What will I watch? Glad you asked, here’s the planned schedule so far:
Director: Jessica Bendinger
Writer: Jessica Bendinger
Stars: Missy Peregrym, Jeff Bridges
After a run-in with the law, Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym) is forced to return to the world from which she fled some years ago. Enrolled in an elite gymnastics program run by the legendary Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges), Haley’s rebellious attitude gives way to something that just might be called team spirit.
“Stick It!” is arguably the greatest film ever made (about gymnastics). Hard to belive Laneit, yours truly, and a few others paid to see this on the big screen. But you know what? it wasn’t as bad as we expected.
This comedy gives a behind the scenes look (of sorts) at what gymnasts put themselves through for just a chance at maybe competing at the Olympics. And you get to see Jeff Bridges on a trampoline.
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Director: Hugh Hudson
Writer: Colin Welland (original screenplay)
Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell
Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.
The film focuses on how class and sports intertwined in the UK in the early 1920’s. The film goes back and forth to each man’s life as he trains for the 1924 games in Paris.
Although “Chariots of Fire” is not my favorite movie, I like the fact that it is based on a true story, and a brilliant original Score.
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Writers: Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse
Stars: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Eli Goree
Jesse Owens’ quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy.
I bet a lot of people have forgotten “Race” came out this year. Whoever had the bright idea to release this movie in mid February instead of around the actual Olympics is an idiot.
Flying Down to Rio (1933)
Director: Thornton Freeland
Writers: Cyril Hume, H.W. Hanemann
Stars: Dolores del Rio, Gene Raymond, Raul Roulien, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Aviator and band leader Roger Bond is forever getting his group fired for flirting with the lady guests. When he falls for Brazilian beauty Belinha de Rezende it appears to be for real, even though she is already engaged. His Yankee Clippers band is hired to open the new Hotel Atlântico in Rio and Roger offers to fly Belinha part way home. After a mechanical breakdown and forced landing, Roger is confident and makes his move, but Belinha plays hard to get. She can’t seem to decide between Roger and her fiance Júlio. When performing the airborne production number to mark the Hotel’s opening, Júlio gets some intriguing ideas…
Yeah, “Flying Down to Rio” is not a sports movie in any way, shape, or form. But it is about Rio de Janeiro, so why not?
Also, this film the first screen pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, although Dolores del Río and Gene Raymond received top billing at the time. The highlight of the movie is the long “Carioca” number. If you’re a fan of classic Hollywood musicals, this is one movie you can’t miss.