So. I’m guessing, after what happened last night, some of our readers might need something to cheer them up. If you’re a regular reader of this site, I’m going to imagine that you love movies. And, in your moment of uncertainty or whatever, you might want to watch a movie. And, of course, you’re asking yourself, “What does Lisa think I should watch?”
Well, I’ll be honest. My cinematic tastes tend to be rather dark. I like horror movies. I like movies with sad endings. I love brutal satire. I love movies that attack their audience and that dare you to look away. So, I might not be the best person to ask…
But you know what?
There actually is a movie that I can recommend to anyone who needs to be cheered up this week. Eddie the Eagle, which came out way back in February, is exactly the type of movie that you would expect an arthouse snob like me to dismiss. It’s a feel-good sports movie, one that is based on a true story but which also features a lot of composite characters and manufactured drama. No, Eddie the Eagle is perhaps not the type of film that you would expect me to enjoy but, when I finally got around to watching it a few days ago, I absolutely loved it!
Eddie the Eagle tells the story of Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton), a somewhat eccentric Englishman who dreams of competing in the Winter Olympics, despite the fact that he’s not all that athletically inclined. When he’s turned down for a spot on the Olympic skiing team, Eddie decides to try to go to the Olympics as a ski jumper. Working to Eddie’s advantage is the fact that there are no other English ski jumpers. (We’re told that it’s been over 60 years since the UK even sent a ski jumper to the Olympics.) In theory, Eddie should be able to qualify for the Olympic team just by showing up. Working to Eddie’s disadvantage is the fact that the snooty British Olympic officials don’t want him to represent the UK in the Olympics.
Of course, there’s also the fact that Eddie has no experience as a ski jumper and only a few months to learn how to do it. And, if Eddie makes any mistakes during one of his jumps, he could easily be severely injured or perhaps even die.
Most people would probably just give up and find something practical to do with their life but not Eddie! Eddie has a dream and he’s going to achieve it, no matter what. Fortunately, Eddie finds a coach. Alcoholic Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) used to be a champion ski jumper but he’s spent the last few years drinking and being bitter. At first, Bronson doesn’t want anything to do with Eddie but eventually, Eddie wins him over with his sincerity and his refusal to give up. As Eddie explains to Bronson, he doesn’t care whether or not he wins a medal. He just wants to compete…
And really, it shouldn’t work. I should be complaining about how shamelessly manipulative this movie is. I should be making fun of the fact that it features almost every sports film cliché imaginable. But dammit, it’s such a sweet movie! Director Dexter Fletcher does a great job filming Eddie’s jumps (often times from his point of view) and Taron Egerton is so charmingly odd in the role that you can’t help but cheer whenever Eddie manages to land without crippling himself. Meanwhile, Hugh Jackman does a good job of grounding the movie in reality (which makes it all the more ironic that, unlike Egerton, Jackman is playing a fictional character). Add to that, this film features a somewhat random Christopher Walken cameo! Seriously, you’re sitting there and you’re thinking, “This is a good movie but I just wish Christopher Walken was here…” and then suddenly …. THERE’S CHRISTOPHER WALKEN!
Eddie the Eagle is a sweet and sincere burst of positivity. It’s the perfect antidote to 2016!