Variety Writer Grows a Pair, Speaks Out Against Current Crop of Inspirational Sports Stories

I already wrote about Variety Editor in Chief Peter Bart, whose attempt at making Comic Con look less like the biggest elephant in the hype room flopped when he referred to its attendees as “freaks and geeks.” Uh, no thank you, only Paul Feig and Judd Apatow are allowed to call us that, and that’s because they understand what it means to be one. As thus, I was ready to give up on reading the Variety blogs because they rarely speak to me.

However, these choice words from one of Thompson’s regular pinch-hit bloggers David S. Cohen about the trailer for The Express caught my eye:

I’m a guy, I get sports movies. I also trace some of my earliest memories to the days of the civil rights movement in Illinois and Kentucky, so I enjoy stories about that time. But I’m getting tired of movies that put the two together.

My complaint isn’t that racism is a settled issue (It’s not.) or that these stories don’t deserve to be told (They do.). But Jim Crow is a settled issue, so these tales of the struggle against American apartheid seem to me to have entered the realm of always-safe messages for a studio film, like “It’s okay to be different” in a kid pic, or ‘Family is more important than money” in a Christmas movie.

As a result, to me it feels like these athletes-against-racism stories are becoming rote and predictable, too, and are blurring into “Remembering the Titans on Glory Road While the Express Rumbles By, Singing Brian’s Song.”

Cohen goes on to write that filmmakers shouldn’t be afraid to make controversial movies, even if they aren’t going to be blockbuster hits, suggesting other stories that the sports/drama genre could get into, such as what it’s like to be a gay male on a sports team, or the pressures experienced by the team that Iraq sent to the 2004 Olympics (who placed a respectable fourth).

I don’t know about you, but I’d spend $12 on that.

Posted on August 1, 2008 at 06:11 by Trisha Lynn · Permalink
In: News

One Response

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  1. Written by connor
    on 2008-08-01 at 12:44

    To be fair, some of them are actually pretty decent.

    Coach Carter was worth watching if only for Sammy J.

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