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Review wanted: Legend of Bagger Vance

Old 11-04-00, 08:56 PM
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Is this movie as good as it looks in the previews?
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Old 11-05-00, 04:49 AM
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Shouldn't this be posted in the "At The Movies" forum as it was or is being released in theaters?

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Old 11-05-00, 05:23 PM
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Old 11-05-00, 07:01 PM
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Is it out on DVD already??

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Old 11-05-00, 08:35 PM
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MATT DAMON AND THE SUNDANCE KID

It goes without saying that the only reason Matt Damon has the starring role in “The Legend of Bagger Vance” is because director Robert Redford is too damn old. The film is just the kind of “underdog-feel good love story” that the King of Sundance would love to play himself, if it weren’t for all those unmarketable wrinkles on his once million-dollar mug. But it’s a good decision, as Damon has developed into one of the more subtly powerful actors of his upstart class. Not that “Bagger Vance” makes him sweat much. It’s old-fashioned at heart and purposefully pleasant, eschewing reality for a “Field of Dreams” spiritual buzz and good movie karma.
Damon is Rannulph Junuh, a favorite Southern son whose pro-golf career was shattered after an emotionally devastating experience in WWI. Abandoning all shadows of his former self, even fiance’ Adele (Charlize Theron), Junuh lives as a recluse on the edge of town. Then a major exhibition match, sponsored by his ex, forces him back onto the links to defend the good name of Savannah. But with his famous swing missing in action since the war, Junuh needs a miracle to even make par.
Enter Bagger Vance, a mystical caddy played with a perpetual smirk by Will Smith. Bagger seems to have all the answers and spouts sports philosophies like, “A man’s grip on his club is like a man’s grip on his world.” Pretty soon, he has Junuh putting like a pro again, neck and neck with two of the greatest golfers in the country. But more important than the game is Junuh’s triumph over the demon’s that plague his soul.
No, really. The movie even says so. And if there’s anything to complain about in “Bagger Vance,” a movie so non-threatening it should be pre-screened at the next Mid-East peace summit, it’s the obviousness with which its magical mystery PGA tour plays out. There are no surprises in store for anyone who’s seen “Rocky,” “The Natural,” or any episode of “Touched by an Angel.” But that doesn’t make the outcome any less satisfying or kitschly Inspirational.
Redford is so intent on idealizing this Southern showdown even the competition is presented with gentlemanly good grace. And no one blinks an eye at Bagger, a black caddy strutting his stuff in front of a sea of white faces. But Redford quite obviously isn’t interested in the reality of it all. This is a fable...revolving around a sport...played within your head, not on the course. As Bagger says, “It’s only a game.” But the film relishes those metaphysical implications, as all sports films do, that “how” you play the game extends into all aspects of life. In essence: achieving peace of mind starts at the tee and ends with that pleasant “plinking” sound as the ball drop into the cup.
Everything in “Bagger Vance” comes together as only pre-ordained movie scripts can. But even Will Smith’s quirky casting (all that wisdom doesn’t seem right coming from a 30 year-old ex-sitcom star) can’t chip away at the nostalgic portrait of undiluted Americana the film is determined to sell.

Grade: B
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Old 11-05-00, 08:37 PM
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MATT DAMON AND THE SUNDANCE KID

It goes without saying that the only reason Matt Damon has the starring role in “The Legend of Bagger Vance” is because director Robert Redford is too damn old. The film is just the kind of “underdog-feel good love story” that the King of Sundance would love to play himself, if it weren’t for all those unmarketable wrinkles on his once million-dollar mug. But it’s a good decision, as Damon has developed into one of the more subtly powerful actors of his upstart class. Not that “Bagger Vance” makes him sweat much. It’s old-fashioned at heart and purposefully pleasant, eschewing reality for a “Field of Dreams” spiritual buzz and good movie karma.
Damon is Rannulph Junuh, a favorite Southern son whose pro-golf career was shattered after an emotionally devastating experience in WWI. Abandoning all shadows of his former self, even fiance’ Adele (Charlize Theron), Junuh lives as a recluse on the edge of town. Then a major exhibition match, sponsored by his ex, forces him back onto the links to defend the good name of Savannah. But with his famous swing missing in action since the war, Junuh needs a miracle to even make par.
Enter Bagger Vance, a mystical caddy played with a perpetual smirk by Will Smith. Bagger seems to have all the answers and spouts sports philosophies like, “A man’s grip on his club is like a man’s grip on his world.” Pretty soon, he has Junuh putting like a pro again, neck and neck with two of the greatest golfers in the country. But more important than the game is Junuh’s triumph over the demon’s that plague his soul.
No, really. The movie even says so. And if there’s anything to complain about in “Bagger Vance,” a movie so non-threatening it should be pre-screened at the next Mid-East peace summit, it’s the obviousness with which its magical mystery PGA tour plays out. There are no surprises in store for anyone who’s seen “Rocky,” “The Natural,” or any episode of “Touched by an Angel.” But that doesn’t make the outcome any less satisfying or kitschly Inspirational.
Redford is so intent on idealizing this Southern showdown even the competition is presented with gentlemanly good grace. And no one blinks an eye at Bagger, a black caddy strutting his stuff in front of a sea of white faces. But Redford quite obviously isn’t interested in the reality of it all. This is a fable...revolving around a sport...played within your head, not on the course. As Bagger says, “It’s only a game.” But the film relishes those metaphysical implications, as all sports films do, that “how” you play the game extends into all aspects of life. In essence: achieving peace of mind starts at the tee and ends with that pleasant “plinking” sound as the ball drop into the cup.
Everything in “Bagger Vance” comes together as only pre-ordained movie scripts can. But even Will Smith’s quirky casting (all that wisdom doesn’t seem right coming from a 30 year-old ex-sitcom star) can’t chip away at the nostalgic portrait of undiluted Americana the film is determined to sell.

Grade: B
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Old 11-16-00, 01:32 PM
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Time Magazine's Richard Schickel sums up his review thus: "The actors, especially the ever appealing Smith, do what they can to ground the movie in reality, but it stubbornly remains dawdling, remote and pretentious.""

Here is another review:
http://us.imdb.com/Reviews/267/26702

. . .
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Old 11-16-00, 05:08 PM
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Here's another review...
http://www.jaxfilmjournal.com/tglegendvance.html


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