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Eddie The Eagle Soars

Updated on March 16, 2016

Eddie the Eagle

From the top of a van to the sky.
From the top of a van to the sky. | Source

The Downhill Approach

Eddie The Eagle launched this week starring Taron Egerton as Michael “Eddie” Edwards as the British native who never flagged in his quest to go to the Olympics. The movie is directed by Dexter Fletcher who is known for his his work on Kick-Ass as well as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and written by Sean Macaulay (Hitchcock) and Simon Kelton. The movie is PG-13. runs 1 hour 46 minutes (add15-20 minutes for previews) and for those with your scorecards at home it’s at Rotten Tomatoes right now at 76%.

Early on in this story Eddie’s dad Terry, played by Keith Allen, says that Eddie should just quit trying for the Olympics because the world doesn’t want to know him, which isn’t quite right, the world really doesn’t care. Or more accurately, the world doesn’t know and doesn’t care. But Eddie isn’t listening to friends, family, or the British Olympic Committee, much less see reason; his dream and drive is to participate in the Olympics and nothing is going to stand in the way of that dream, except maybe a restraining order?

The story is something you have seen in the trailer, a boy who has to wear a leg brace and is probably told thousands of times to “set his dreams a little more realistically." He wants to prove them wrong, and the way to that end is to do something no one would think possible, for him to be in the Olympics.

Early on, the movie details Eddie failing miserable at all manner of sports that depend on strength, speed, and endurance. It would be kind of like Kanye West trying to enter into a singing competition. Eventually, though, Eddie succeeds in the realm of winter sports and skiing, but when he can’t quite make it on the British Olympic skiing team even doing that, he decides to go for ski jumping, since the only requirement at the time to attend is to land a jump.

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The Launch

Following a devastating spill, Hugh Jackman steps in as Bronson Perry, a washed up Olympic skier who apparently according to his coach played by Christopher Walken, never took the sport seriously enough. Have to say this, Walken in his character roles is like cowbell, we have to have more Walken, man. Although Walken does play a little more of a role in the movie than say Jonah hill did in Hail Ceasar.

What I like about this movie is the humor of it. There are nice comedic moments that just organically evolve from Eddie's characteristics, his quirks, and nuances. He is odd, but not in a vulgar way, but even his oddness rubs against the grain of proper British society. He is seen as unrefined, denoting a certain lack of training, and a working-class upbringing. While it a movie about class, it does not make the British higher class a caricature of itself.

There are times when you understand and side with Eddie, and there are other times when you side with the British sports authorities, his family, and those who care about him. His persistence is both a virtue and a vice, and it is hard to measure which depending at one point you observe his career. But perhaps there is a modicum of logic to Eddie. He does realize his limits and does not stay on track to say become a world class weight lifter, he just did not get a good enough genetic hand dealt for that eventuality.

Cool Runnings

The Landing

What I also like about this movie is that it isn’t the cliche about winning, and it isn’t a cop out about just showing up. It lands somewhere in the middle, where you work your hardest, and if you fail, or come in last then there is at least the truth that you tried your hardest. To get to the Olympics itself is a victory.

That being said, I am not sure what to think of Terry played by Keith Allen who is Eddie’s dad. Throughout the majority of the movie he urges Eddie to give up to turn away from his dreams. But I think everyone needs to have at least a voice of reason in their life. Someone to tell us that we aren’t good at something whether it be singing, acting, or writing. We need these people either to gauge or progress, or finally to set our minds on another endeavor.

But in as much as it's good to have a naysayer, the woman who plays Eddie's mother steals the movie in my opinion, in that she is nurturing, and supportive of her son almost to a fault. She gives him a tin to put his gold medals in when he is young, and instead uses it to store all his busted pairs of glasses. She sends him off when he claims he is heading to the bus to get to the Olympics, but also sends his father out to fetch him.

Speaking of acting, there are times when I felt distracted by Taron’s depiction of Eddie, I felt he was a little too idiosyncratic. It almost felt little “Rain Man” -esque. I was expecting somewhere in the movie that his parents would have taken him to see a doctor to get a professional or specialists take on Eddie’s condition. Because there are times when his persistence borders on obsession.

So in a way this movie is all about the push and pull of family, and about tempering and redirecting dreams. And aside from a few reservations, I recommend this movie and hope you enjoy it with friends and family, and with laughter and as little conversation during the movie as possible.

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