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The Greatest Game Ever Played

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Joined: 25 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:57 pm    Post subject: The Greatest Game Ever Played Reply with quote

I waited, thanks to the quantity-ordering prowess of the guy at Blockbuster, for about two months to see The Greatest Game Ever Played. I failed to see it in the theater because...well, it's about golf. Oh, and it has the guy from Holes in it. That was pretty much all I knew about it. I don't even really know why I was so stoked to see it - when I mentioned its constant non-existence on the shelf, the blockbuster clerk played it down by saying that Glory Road was a much better film and she had heard that Greatest Game wasn't really that good, actually.

Yet, despite the clerk's assurances to the contrary, I continued to check for a copy of this film with each visit (of which there have been many of late) to Blockbuster. And finally...there it was; the coveted film I had longed to see. So I checked it out and watched it as soon as I returned home.

It was pretty good. Glory Road or Coach Carter are probably better sports-related movies, but this opinion may have formed due to each of those films taking place closer to my own lifetime (the events of Greatest Game take place in 1913). The struggle between members of different economic classes as portrayed in this film seems to be less less poignant than the struggle to integrate blacks into white-dominated areas of American society or the struggle to give young men who have been looked down upon their entire lives a reason to make something of themselves. This isn't meant to imply that there wasn't anything enjoyable about this film. It did have many entertaining moments and likable characters.

There were even two interesting bonus features on the DVD (there were no deleted scenes or gag reels): Two Legends and the Greatest Game - film footage mixed with photographs from the actual tournament discussing the real story behind the film - and From Caddy to Champion: Francis Ouimet - a black and white documentary/interview from 1963 with Francis Ouimet, wherein he talks to the interviewer about the primitive equipment used in 1913 (hand carved clubs with wooden shafts and heads) and the events portrayed in the film. It was interesting to learn that the events, as portrayed in the film, were based near-wholly on the actual events. Even the 10 year-old caddy was really there. And for the same reasons presented in the film.

I thought it was funny that the photos in the special features make it excruciatingly clear that the actual people on whom the film was based were much less attractive than the actors who played them. Even Ouimet, who is played by the less-than-handsome Shia LaBeouf, looks better in the film than in real life. Not that this is important...but it became more and more obvious as the special features went on. And speaking of the actors in the film, Elias Koteas plays Ouimet's father. I will always know Koteas for his role as the tough-but-likeable skinhead in Some Kind of Wonderful, my all-time favorite John Hughes film.

In summary, this is a film worth seeing, but not one that I would put at the very tip-top of the must-see list.
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