5 Great Movies to Kickstart Your Olympic Enjoyment

July 28, 2012

Cool Runnings (1993)by Maggie Kruger

In all honestly, I’m not REALLY that excited about the London 2012 Olympic Games. Mainly because I am a grumpy mare, and there are already too many people here for my liking – SERIOUSLY, if I get through the fortnight without being arrested for punching a tourist, I’m the one who’ll deserve a gold medal.

Also, the logo disturbs me. Google the phrase ‘London 2012 Logo + Lisa Simpson’ and see what you come up with. It’s filthy!

I realise however, that my tetchiness at tourists isn’t exactly in the spirit of the Games, and that the Olympians themselves are amazing athletes, that the Games promote global harmony, that it’s not the winni………zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry, I was boring myself a little there.

Anyway.There are Olympics. They are taking place in the city I live in. Great.  Sports. They involve the open air and exercise, so what in the name of Jason’s Hairy Underpants does this have to do with the much more indoorsy world of Forgotten Flix?!

The Marathon, my friends…. the MOVIE marathon, that is. Never being one to shy away from a themed movie night, here are 5 great films for you to watch in between synchronised diving heats.

1.       Chariots of Fire (1981)

The mack-daddy of Olympic movies which left all the other Oscar contenders that year at the starters’ blocks (boom!).  This hugely inspirational true story of the British running squad at the 1924 Olympics closely follows Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell, and has features some of the most iconic scenes in British cinema.

I can’t write much more about it without a) sounding trite and b) welling up, so just do me, and yourself, a favour, and get hold of a copy as soon as you possibly can. You’ll be running in slow motion before you know it.

2.       The Cutting Edge (1992)

I have no shame in admitting to you, dear Reader, that I LOVE THIS MOVIE. It’s, like, the ultimate his and hers movie – a chick flick with ice hockey in it: genius! DB Sweeney is fantastic as oafish hockey player Doug Dorsey, who ends up partnering snobby ice dancer Kate Moseley, played with relish by Moira Kelly.  Putting everything on the line to get to the Albertville Olympics, can they overcome their differences to reach the finals? OK, you’re not going to strain a single brain cell by trying to work out the ending, but don’t let that bother you – just go with it!

Also this was directed by Starsky himself, Paul Michael Glaser. In my head, the whole time he was on set  he was wearing his big cardigan.

3.       Prefontaine (1997)

I caught this biopic one night at about 2am and I’m glad I stayed up to the end. Jared Leto (is he a man, is he a woman? NO ONE KNOWS) is actually very good as 1970s track star Steve Prefontaine, who looked set for Olympic glory at the 1976 Games before dying tragically in a car accident aged only 24. A superb piece of sports history, this is definitely worth a watch, not least for some facial topiary that would make grown men weep.

Another movie about Prefontaine, produced by Wee Tommy O’Cruise called Without Limits, came out around the same time and starred Billy Crudup. I’ve just watched the trailer and quite frankly it looks rubbish.

4.       Munich (2005)

The 1972 Olympics are sadly memorable for the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes – this Spielberg epic focuses on the Israeli government’s secret retaliation. I have nothing snarky to say about this film.

Watch it and just remember that, unfortunately, The Games haven’t always been about togetherness and world peace.

5.       Cool Runnings (1993)

Sorry chaps, that was all a bit serious, wasn’t it? SOOOOOO onto possibly one of the loveliest feelgood movies ever made, Cool Runnings!

Very loosely based on the true story of the Jamaican National Bobsled team, who against all the odds entered the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, it’s a joy from start to finish. No really, I defy you to watch this and not have a big daft grin on your face as the credits roll.

The cast are all great, especially Leon as teamleader Derice Bannock, but really the movie belongs to the late, great John Candy, playing disgraced champion turned coach, Irv Blitzer. Glorious, just glorious.

“I am feeling very Olympic today!”

So, there you go. 5 Olympic Rings, 5 great movies to kickstart your Olympic enjoyment. I still can’t promise not to kick a tourist though.

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