About Me

My photo
This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Personal Best

Update: "NBA center Jason Collins has become the first athlete in a major American team sport to come out as gay during his playing career." Life goes on. 

The other two available episodes of Bomb Girls was not as good, but had a few good scenes.  NCIS was not a great episode either, an annoying cliffhanger to boot, but actress alert -- the empath on Star Trek: The Next Generation is now (well, the actress) the head of Mossad.  Meanwhile, th usual weekend trip to the library not only resulted in seeing a fiction book by a non-fiction author I enjoyed in the past (more on this perhaps at a later date), but also catching sight of the movie Personal Best.

The basic things that this movie calls to mind includes that it is the first movie the "am I a lesbian" character in It's In The Water asks for at video store run.  The lesbian relationship is what this movie often is know for. I also remember a scene where Mariel Hemingway's character is excited when it turns out her boyfriend (played by an actual athlete as is the co-star and others, America's boycott of the 1980 Olympics apparently helping making such things more available) has to go to the bathroom, since she always wanted to hold a guy's penis when he does so.  Also, I recall Roger Ebert (probably) saying that the coach accepted his two stars' relationship. only fearing that it would complicate their athletic performances.  Don't think I ever saw the whole film though.

It was a good find, including a good conversational commentary by the director, the coach character (Scott Glenn) and that bf, who is a small part later in the film, but basically as well done as the others, who mostly were non-actors or in the case of the star, someone with little acting.  It is amazing really when a movie is so well put together, basically from start to finish, given there is so much involved in making a film  I felt the same way about the Kurt Russell version of Miracle (this occurred in the Winter Olympics, which explains why they even could play in the 1980 games and you know show people you can believe in miracles).  There is a lot to like about the film, including the refreshing comfortable sensuality:
This is a very physical movie, one of the healthiest and sweatiest celebrations of physical exertion I can remember. There is a lot of nudity in the film--not only erotic nudity, although there is some of that, but also locker room and steam room nudity, and messing around nudity that has an unashamed, kidding freshness to it.
Right you are, Mr. Ebert.  In the commentary, the writer/director noted he (would a female director do much different here? interesting to consider) had the first love scene take place in a child's room to show the childish innocence of the event, the playful nature of it all, which began when MH challenged her to an arm wrestle contest to show she had guts. The character's inner self-confidence comes out when she meets the aforementioned guy and gives him training trips, mind you, it comes out he has two gold medals.  It appears she is as or more strong than the older athlete who took a big sister concern early on. 

The bathroom scene is notable for another thing: actual full frontal male nudity (which is somewhat gratuitously provided about this time in Life of Brian, the guy showing it after a sex scene for once). This is not a gay thing -- the selective showing of nudity has real cultural significance and messaging in my opinion and the same includes the lack of similar playful and comfortable nudity and sexuality in other films. Relationships and sexuality is quite complex (MH's bisexuality here underlines it) but American films (and probably other countries in their own fashion though from a small sample size, less so in various cases) are pretty limited here. Imagine a similar male movie with similar heavily full nudity, including sex scenes. It will be as striking as the first baseball or football player coming out while still being an active player. 

A word on the guys. As noted, the Olympic runner Kenny Moore was good as her second love interest.  Scott Glenn had a good role as a coach who really cares for his girls (women -- sometimes, you still use "girls" for adults, but it's equal -- men repeatedly come off as but "boys" to women too), even when he is cursing at them.  The writer/director Robert Towne does not really have many director credits, but as with various other things, a home run was hit here.  Consider The Crying Game -- other than a fairly lame supporting role in Stargate (better known as a series), Jaye Davidson really didn't have any other credits. Perfect in the one movie.

Personal best, one might say.

[Update: The film itself is from 1982; the DVD commentary from about twenty-five years later. Good off color comparison made by MH (comes better from her): you are what my brother would call a carpenter's dream -- flat as a board and easy to nail.]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your .02!