Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Greatest Game Ever Played |
Actors: Shia LeBeouf, Stephen Dillane, Elias Koteas, James Paxton
Director: Bill Paxton
Genres: Drama, Sports
The Game is on Blu-ray disc: Now you can experience Walt Disney Pictures crowd-pleasing underdog epic in the stunning clarity and up-close-and-personal magic of high definition. Shia LaBeouf (Indiana Jones And The Kingdom ... more »
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A stirring slice of golf history, well-rendered on film
chefdevergue | Spokane, WA United States | 10/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One doesn't have to have read Mark Frost's book (he adapted his book for the screenplay) to enjoy this movie. Obviously, the book contains much more detail regarding the personal histories of Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, JJ McDermott & others leading up to (and following) the 1913 US Open, and there was no way that Frost could have included all of the minute detail without at least doubling the length of the movie. One also misses the discussion of the technology available to the turn-of-the-century golfer, as well as some of the geo-political forces that led to Vardon & Ted Ray making their tour of the United States.
However, what one does get is a beautifully filmed story that has the predictable feel-good nature one would expect from a Disney film, without being sappy. The principals bear a striking resemblance to the historical figures (right down to Eddie the caddie), and the historical match is accurately rendered. While one doesn't get the book's stroke by stroke narrative, one does get to enjoy the energy of the galleries as well as the immense pressures bearing down on the tournament leaders.
I only have a couple of significant complaints about the movie. One is with the wholy fictional relationship (concocted for the purposes of this film) between Francis Ouimet and the upper class young lady. It smacks uncomfortably of Jack-Rose relationship in Titanic, and when the movie focuses on this relationship, it skates dangerously close to outright corniness. Fortunately, once the tournament begins, this subplot is thankfully relegated to the background. By & large it interferes only minimally with the story.
My other beef is with the fact that Harry Vardon comes off as a far too one-dimensional character, as he as portrayed as an ambitious, single-minded, golfing machine, very nearly bereft of passion or emotion. Frost's book provides far more depth to Vardon than one will find here. One would not know from the movie that his American tour came not long after his recovery from a bout with tuberculosis (first striking in 1903, after his 4th British Open) which not only derailed his career (and almost ended it) for several years, but came close to killing him. If the audience could more fully appreciate all of the tremendous obstacles Vardon had overcome, they might be more sympathetic towards him. While not cast as a villain, Vardon's role in this film definitely is that of Ouimet's nemesis more than anything else, which strikes me as unfair.
The one other thing which strikes as unfair is the fact that the audience really has no idea just how tremendously talented these men were. Frost's book devotes considerable space to the equipment of the time, which was downright primative compared to the clubs and balls today's players use. I can only imagine the kinds of scores Vardon & Ouimet might post with today's equipment. However, audiences who don't understand the nature of golf technology in 1913 may only see shots that can be seen a hundred times or more on any PGA tour event on any given weekend, and they may not appreciate the true greatness of these earlier players. Having made this complaint, I have to admit that I don't know how the film could improve in this area. I would suggest that you read the book.
However, this is a movie that one can enjoy without having any knowledge of golf in general or the 1913 US Open in particular. Unlike so many films that claim to be "based on" or "inspired by" true events (but in fact have almost no resemblance to historical events), what you see in this film by & large is what actually happened. Most people should find this to be enjoyable."
Great family movie.
Delirium | St. Louis, MO USA | 04/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We watched this movie in the theaters with the whole family, including two kids under 10. I'm not a golfer, but my husband loves the sport. The movie has great story line, funny moments, a bit of romance and some thrilling episodes. It would make for a nice evening of quality family time.
Please note that the DVD is in widescreen format. That's the only reason I'm not buying it at this time, I'm hoping for a full screen version."
Beautifully crafted, heartwarming film: 5+
Carolyn Rowe Hill | Ann Arbor, Michigan | 05/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you love golf, you'll love this movie. Even if you don't love golf, you'll enjoy it. The cinematography is phenomenal. The makers of this movie used a specially designed camera in many scenes to follow the ball from shot to stop. One of my favorite shots was Ted Ray's blast through the woods, between the trees, and onto the green with the camera following the ball all the way! As others have said, it's the best golf movie yet, largely because the camera work and film editing added much to the magic of this true come-from-behind story. I also think the close working relationship between director Bill Paxton and the author of the book, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Mark Frost, added to the movie's charm and authenticity.
Francis Ouimet and Harry Vardon had something in common. They were `common', according to the societal standards of their respective times. One is American, the other English, born a generation apart. Vardon grew up to become a world-renowned golfer, but could never join "the club" in his own homeland because he came from the underclass. However, he did become a hero to growing boys in Europe and America, including young Francis Ouimet, who grew up across the street from the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. Francis began caddying at a tender age, and there were those who saw something special in him. These gentlemen, and Ouimet's mother (at least in the movie), encouraged him to take his love of golf from the caddie stage to the player's arena. With the odds against him from several directions, he played his way into the hearts and minds of his American countrymen and the world, and into the record books, by playing as an amateur in the 1913 U.S. Open and winning.
Shia LaBoeuf (Holes) is perfect as Ouimet, and Stephen Dillane portrays the stoic, haunted Vardon. The movie overall was well-cast, and Josh Flitter, who plays Eddie Lowery, almost stole the show!! It's a good bet you'll be mesmerized by this wonderful film. Just remember, in the immortal words of 10-year-old Eddie, when holding onto that golf club "Easy squeezy, lemon freezy!"
Carolyn Rowe Hill
The usual Hollywood distortion, but not a bad film.
Mark Wilsonwood | Grapevine, TX | 02/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's pretty much inconceivable that Hollywood will ever tell a true story in a completely accurate way. A certain amount of dramatic license is forgivable, and probably even necessary in order to compress the story into a couple hours. Even fabricating a sub-plot involving a fictional love interest is okay if it doesn't take over the film.
So, despite the historical inaccuracies in this movie (with regard both to Francis' personal life and the details of what occurred during the Open), this is an enjoyable film that captures the spirit and the essential facts of this classic David and Goliath story."