Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Chariots of Fire is the story of two runners. One a devout Christian and the other a determined Jewish man. That's pretty much what the IMDB description is anyway.

Really, watching the movie is more like being really excited to open your birthday presents because one of the presents is HUGE and then opening the wrapping and no, it's not the American Girls Samantha doll. It is a sleeping bag.
Let's go camping!

It seems that the appearance of one-eyed men is a running theme in Inspirational Sports Movies.

These two guys are kind of like the old guys in the Muppets balcony who observe and comment on everything.

In his early days at Cambridge, Harold Abrahams finds out about a race at the school. The challenge is to run around the square before the clock finishes ringing 12.

He does it and apparently is is the first student ever to finish within the 12 chimes.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, Eric Liddell is a minor star in the world of running and, I think, Rugby too. Both Eric and his sister are very religious as their parents were missionaries.

Meanwhile at Cambridge, Harold and his roommate are having tea by a fire in their dorm room. Oh, COLLEGE. Nothing ever changes.

Harold becomes a track star and soon sets his sights on the Olympics.

He also joins the Gilbert and Sullivan society and gets really into the singing.

Harold goes to a race to check out his main competition: Eric Liddell.

In the middle of the race, Eric gets knocked down.

He gets up and starts sprinting, trying to catch up.

And, what do you know, he wins! It's a pretty spectacular race.

When Harold and Eric finally do meet before a race against each other, Harold is convinced he'll win, despite the fact that Eric has shown that he's pretty much the best runner in the UK.

On your mark. Get set.

Oh no! Harold loses and Eric wins and Harold is crushed over it.

A really great running coach comes along and offers to coach Harold. He believes he can help Harold cut seconds off his time.
Super long Training Montage!

Back in Scotland, Eric's sister is disappointed that he's missing prayer meetings and stuff because of his training. He explains to her that running is his way of expressing his faith.

Back at Cambridge the two old men confront Harold and tell him that they think it's not cool that he has a private coach, even though that's not against the rules at all. They're just doing this because he's Jewish and they don't like him very much.

But Harold's girlfriend likes him. As he's getting ready to get on the boat to go to France she's all, "I believe in you!" kiss kiss

Going to the Olympics on a boat is SO MUCH FUN, especially if you're Jane Russell.

But not all is fun and good times. Eric has found out that the qualifying heats for the 100m dash are on a Sunday. He decides not to run because that would be against his religious convictions. It's a tough decision.

Helllooooo Olympics!

At some fancy party for the athletes, the track coach and, I think the Prince of England?!, try to pursuade Eric to run the race because they tell him his country is more important than his god. And Eric is all "nope," but he is Saved By the Bell, when one of his teammates, who has already won a medal, offers Eric his place in the 400m race.

So how did this:

Become this:

On the Sunday of the qualifying heats, Eric goes to church and gives a talk and everyone is really moved by it.

I'm sorry if this recap is less than enthusiastic. This movie was really boring! It just kept going and going and the characters are all really wooden and two-dimensional and the running scenes aren't even that suspensful. The only good part of this movie was Ian Holm! I love Ian Holm! Ian Charleson was good too, but his part was too angelic for my taste. Still, go Ian and Ian! Boo to the boring rest of the movie!

Back to the "action."

What's nice is that Eric shows up for the final race to support Harold. Must've been hard because this is the race he had been training for all these months.

Harold wins the race! (I'm so bored)

This is also how I pose for pictures.

After the race, Harold and his coach (played by IAN HOLM) get wasted together.

Then, it's time for Eric's race, the 400m. No one expects Eric to do well because he had been training for the 100m. This American runner gives Eric a note that says he supports Eric's decision not to run the 100m race on Sunday.

Eric runs the whole race with the note in his hand.

And Eric wins!

Eric's sister is proud of him!

Yay, he's a winner!

More about Harold:

More about Eric:

This is what you were waiting for, the theme song! I used to play this on my Casio keyboard all the time.

The other song I knew was "I just called to say 'I love you.'" That qualifies me not only to write this blog, but also to dream of rock star greatness. Carnegie Hall, here I come!


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