Tag: sports film

Ford v Ferrari (2019)

I am not a motorsports enthusiast, heck I am not even a sports enthusiast but the sports film, Ford vs Ferrari is one of the most impactful films I have seen this year. 

James Mangold’s film is a product of conviction and evident proof that the only way to win over the audience is through good story and great characters and not by pandering to them. When done well this approach brings in even those who are not remotely interested in the space that you are making the movie in. ( Me and sports)

I don’t think, I emphasised the previous paragraph to much effect; what I meant to say is that making a good film starts by having complete disregard to the expectations that your audience might have. 

“Oh right, this is one of those sports films and the movie ends with the winning moment” 

No it doesn’t.

But it plays on the existing sports movie template and makes it better. 

Make it better.

Ford vs Ferrari is a movie about optimisation. It’s not what movies are usually about, especially Tamil movies, in which we take the broadest of canvasses to tell the shallowest of stories. Optimisation begins where specialisation deepens. Ford v Ferrari is about making fast cars, faster. 

Bit by bit, Ken Miles(Christian Bale in a soon to be multi-nominated performance), our hero is trying to make things better. As a race car driver he is in search of an elusive perfect lap. Every race win, in this movie (and there are many) ends with a feeling of how he could actually have done it better, while the world watches in awe as Ken Miles breaks his own lap record. 

The search for excellence is a solitary game, it is a search that does not end with a pat on the back or the roaring sound of applause or admittance from peers. The search for excellence is in fact a never ending search. 

James Mangold takes the much seen sports drama arc which has the rebellious maverick- the considerate mentor- the conniving and unreasonable corporate into a drama about artisanal passion where the race (although shot with great precision ) gives way to the characters. 

Competing with respect

In any other movie, Henry Ford II ( Tracy Letts is brilliant) would be the corporate monster, a villain who derives pleasure in killing competition like boutique car mechanics. No, but here, underneath layers of tailored suit is an entrepreneur trying to do good by his grandfather’s legacy.  Mangold and his writers treat characters with respect, even the stock characters. 

Also in the movie is the relationship between designer Carroll Shelby( Matt Damon, too in a soon to be multi-nominated performance) and driver Ken Miles- a friendship so relatable when they have hands on each other’s shoulders talking about chassis and brakes, but not so much when they really try to spell it out. 

Nevertheless, Ford v Ferrari takes a close second place in my imaginary best films on friendship contest in 2019. That honor, as on date firmly rests with Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood. 

For Mangold and his crew, I do what Enzo Ferrari does, with his hat, at the end of the race.

FRS: Bigil


So you all know what an FRS is right? Right? 

+2: Movie is without narration. Always a good sign (or so we thought). 

+5: Movie puts itself into porali category immediately as it begins with students protesting against change of the college building from a heritage building to a new building outside the city. (actually in Arakonam).

We feel the government is in the right here, since in-city colleges and their buses actually contribute a lot to city traffic. But of course it is not a Tamil movie, unless it opposes the government.

Even heritage buildings will breathe better without the trouble of students <umm…where are we going with this>

Heil Democracy and all that. 

-41: Predictably politician character is played as a mixture of being clueless and ruthless. Politico uncle orders a riot on protesting students, of course this is what is going to set-up the hero introduction sequence. 

+5: Hero has mastered the art of throwing bijli vedi in a manner that it explodes just before the thug’s face. Also this is a way to wish the audience “Happy Diwali Nanba”

-5: Hero hits at least 20 people within the first 20 % of the movie, means ki you can comfortably say that for the remaining 80 % of the movie any such hitting will be surely tiring and you will not experience any exhilaration. 

-2: If hero is from gully, then surely he must be the most popular guy with all the thaaymaargal’s and kutties love and affection. We will never understand why this is so, apart from the fact that he is the hero.. 

-11: Since it is written in the Kollywood Shaastram, that the  best way to end a semi-comedic intro fight would be to convert into an intro song. We now have an opening song which is shot in all shades of red available. 

-24.5: Yogi Babu is in this movie, that means a “moonji” joke is always around the corner. We have to face it. <We mean…>

+6: It’s not a big hero tamil movie, if it does not have a chief minister reference; althought this seems to be a new virus; such a thing was never said in the Kollywood Shaahstram

-90: Kollywood continues to exploit gansgterism without even for once explaining the mechanics of it. 

-91: Kollywood heroes continue to exploit cooling glasses by wearing them for 90% of the movie, so we can never see them act. 

#ItsNotCoolToWearCoolersAlways

-12: When in hospital, supporting characters will regain consciousness only to reveal entire back story of character. 

-30.8: Surprise! Father of gangster hero is also gangster, but with white hair and all. That’s about it. All pazhaya scenes only. 

+30.8: But he is well meaning gangster, because of course he is played by hero only. 

<Pause for reflection> 

Rayappan believes that his son becoming a national football player will encourage more people to move out of their gully by taking up football. 

While this is an inspiring thought, since there is always only a limited number of people who can be part of a national football side, the idea itself might not scale. 

There is a possibility that those who don’t make it to the national side either return to their rowdy roots or become sports followers on twitter who tweet GOALLLLL while following matches. 

Neither will help the overall ecosystem. 

Rayappan should have thought better. Won’t scale. 

</Pause for reflection> 

-05: No girl in the football team had the slightest doubt that Michael indeed looked like ex Tamilnadu captain Bigil. Because….hmm…

+11: Nayanthara is playing an empowered heroine in a movie about woman empowerment

-11: Empowered heroine does not tell father that she is not interested in marriage right now, this would have cut some 20 minutes of attempts at a comical church wedding. 

-3: Convenient team physiotherapist is extremely convenient (for hero)

-24: When movie transforms into sports movie, so all sports officials transform into villains and hero can become coach. 

+33: For a few minutes we actually thought this would be a women’s empowerment film, points for those minutes.

When issues are watered down so that the hero can take a stand on it, then ultimately the issue only suffers. 

Here in Bigil, while women empowerment is treated with allowable care; director offers no apology for violence and rowdyism.There are at least 300 people being thrown here and there by the hero. 

That rowdyism itself is a threat to women’s safety never occurred to the director. 

Hmm of course, hero is rowdy because rowdy is cool/wants to be etc. 

-33: For a full second half which is supposed to be about the girls, barely their names registered and most don’t have any role or character. 

+6: Director firmly believes that scoring goals is the only aspect of football he will concentrate on. 

-78: Movie relies heavily on stereotypes, but also does some baavla in the name of dismantling them. 

-101: Movie is not over yet. 2 more football matches to go. 

+3: One police station sequence which seems was directed by ARM during Darbar break. 

-5: Director sneaks in outtakes from Adidas ads for SIngapennay song, we hope people found it inspiring, or atleast to do some Diwali sports shoe shopping

<Use code BIGIL50, wherever you want, you never know> 

+5: Everyone in football team is wearing Bigil jersey, but we expected them to turn to camera and say “I am Bigil” like “I am spartacus” , no such luck.

-41.8: A team in full form will suddenly play like they have never played together before in THE FINALS of the tournament, just so our hero can go to locker room and motivate them. 

+11: Hero fulfills everyone’s wishes, including the wishes of his dead father and his father and their friends and their uncles and their gullies and the whole world. 

+32: Hero gets credit for everything by NOT getting credit for everything, wow well played. 

Hmm but..

Haters can hate, because Peace is the answer. Everyone becomes good. Society is happy. World is happy. Sleep well. 

All numbers are incidental and arbitrary, except the facts provided by our data analytics team

Happy Deepavali Nanba.

Subam

Team FRS

RUNNING ON LOOP

Edhir Neechal

Edhir neechal, featuring comedian Siva Karthikeyan in the lead is a partly a sports film.  Hmm, generally I abhor sports films not because they are not entertaining but they usually follow the same story arc which is as follows: the underdog, the had been coach, the impossible opponent, the words of wisdom and inspiration, the fall before the rise, the final battle with the underdog emerging victorious.

Edhir neechal has all of the above, but begins differently, with a fundamental woe which has nothing to do with sport, the name. The protagonist, who is named after the family deity and when that name is shortened is cause for much embarrassment. Interestingly the major events in his life run around his inability to decide on whether to go for a name change. The first part of the film is a plain buddy comedy, where the buddy here is played by Satish and is quite good. My only problem with the buddy comedy is that, these buddies solely exist to absorb the botherings of the protagonist and have no life of their own, even if they do they don’t seem to care about it. Yes, it is the same rectilinear approach of story telling from the point of the hero. The sole purpose of this buddy is to help the hero win his girl, the usual animated socially aware multitasking sweet school teacher Priya Anand, the template itself will make any hero fall in love.

Suddenly what happens is this, the story wakes up. Having been put to sleep with endless duets and love failure numbers, the hero decides that in his life he must have conviction. I’m sure that the previously mentioned story format is very extend able to any sport and in R.S Durai Senthilkumar’s film it is a marathon. Admirable to see that effort has been undergone to introduce what a marathon is to the audience and also commendable is the use of newspaper events that everyone is familiar with to propel the story. Actually my only problem with the film is that it is not a film, but two. The earlier portions having no correlation as to how it all ends, and the marathon portion is a film by itself having two involved back stories and i think that’s the story the director would have wanted to make and with the available time he does manage it convincingly, the first part is just to get you to your seats.

Also seems that no one can make a successful film without a bar song.

I’ve come to realise (yes very late) that these sports films are done to inspire audience, to help them achieve what they thought yesterday as impossible; in the end it is about selling hope.  I liked the film honestly and I’m not going to complain about people sticking to formats because that’s what they intended to do.

But then I’ll keep saying it’s the same thing, again and again.