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Films I Neglected to Review: The Young And The Reckless
by Peter Sobczynski

Please enjoy a short review of “Eddie the Eagle,” a preview of an in-theater event featuring one of the legends of rock music and my fearless Oscar picks.

The trouble with "Eddie the Eagle," the biopic chronicling the misadventures of would-be British ski jumper Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton) and his efforts to compete at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary (the same one as those other noted underdogs, the Jamaican bobsledding team) is not so much that it is just another inspirational athlete films as much as it is every single inspirational athlete movie rolled into one with virtually ever cliche of the genre crammed into its running time. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as long as they are handled deftly enough so that you don't realize or care that you have seen it all before, as was the case with the wonderful US Olympic hockey team docudrama "Miracle." The problem here is that this film is so desperate to be loved that it throws everything into the mix to get a reaction from audiences - a warm-but-lovable mom, a gruff-but-lovable dad, ridiculously on-the-nose music cues and even a cameo from Christopher Walken - that those not enchanted by it are likely to get annoyed with it very quickly. Those who are reasonably well-versed in Olympic history will further resent the film for the myriad ways in which things have been changed around in order to make it into a more suitable cinematic narrative - the real-life Edwards was both a better athlete and a more annoyingly self-aggrandizing personality than the aw-shucks version depicted here and the character played by Hugh Jackman - a washed-up skier who reluctantly agrees to coach Edwards as part of his own redemption-heavy subplot - was created out of whole cloth for the film. The end result is a lousy movie but I must admit to secretly hoping that it becomes a success after all, if only so that someone will finally get around to doing a biopic of the real heroes of the Calgary Olympics - Katarina Witt and her costume designer.

If you are looking for a way of powering through your-post-Oscars hangover while cleaning out all of your sinus cavities with a blast of pure, unadulterated noise, February 29 will find Fathom Events presenting "An Evening with Neil Young" in theaters across the country. Besides being one of the few legendary rock music performers who has still managed to remain daring and relevant after nearly a half-century on the scene, Young has also dabbled in filmmaking over the years as well and this program offers up two of them. First up in "Rust Never Sleeps," his acclaimed 1979 concert film that offers a summation of his work up to that point ranging from quiet acoustic numbers like "Sugar Mountain" and "After the Gold Rush" to the sonic blast of him and longtime backing band Crazy Horse pulling out the stop on warhorses like "Like a Hurricane" and "Cinnamon Girl" and there even some Jawas thrown into the mix for good measure. Next up is a newly devised director's cut of his 1982 head-scratcher "Human Highway," a bizarre comedy set in and around an out-of-the-way diner located near a faulty nuclear reactor and the weirdos that congregate around it. "How bizarre is it?," you may ask. Consider that the cast includes Young, Dean Stockwell, Russ Tamblyn, a pre-rehab Dennis Hopper, Sally Kirkland and Devo, who do a rendition of "Hey Hey My My" with Young that is one of the freakiest things that either of them have ever recorded. Also on the program of this closed-circuit event is an interview with Young conducted by Cameron Crowe discussing the films and their legacy. While this may not be the ideal introduction to Young for newcomers to his work - while "Rust Never Sleeps" offers a spellbinding look at Young at one of his many creative peaks, "Human Highway" is one of those efforts of his that leaves even the faithful a bit baffled and confused - this is pretty much a must-see for everyone else.

And since I suppose it is time that I got around to it, here are my fearless picks as to what will win at the Oscars this Sunday. Yes, I will be online making snarky remarks throughout the ceremony via the Twitter or the Facebook or whatever the hepcats are using these days. Remember, these picks are for entertainment purposes only - I must insist on no wagering.

BEST PICTURE: The Revenant
BEST DIRECTOR: George Miller - "Mad Max: Fury Road"
BEST ACTOR: Leonardo DiCaprio - "The Revenant"
BEST ACTRESS: Brie Larson - "Room"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Sylvester Stallone - "Creed"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Alicia Vikander - "The Danish Girl"
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy - "Spotlight"
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay - "The Big Short"
BEST FILM EDITING: "Mad Max: Fury Road"
: "Mad Max: Fury Road"
BEST SOUND MIXING: "Star Wars-The Force Awakens"
BEST SOUND EDITING: "Star Wars-The Force Awakens"
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: "The Hateful Eight"
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: "Till It Happens To You" from "The Hunting Ground"
BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT: "Everything Will Be Okay"
BEST ANIMATED SHORT: "World of Tomorrow"

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originally posted: 02/27/16 03:15:03
last updated: 02/27/16 08:21:07
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