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The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
WARNING - SPOILERS BELOW.
In 1917 Rannulf Junuh (Matt Damon) was the best golf player in the south. Savannah, Georgia was boiling over in anticipation. The city hoped that Junuh would take them far and wide. Junuh had all that he could hope for; a game he loved, adoration from the townsfolk, and the heart of Ms. Adele Invergordon. Then World War I beckoned and Savannah sent there prized position to represent the south. It took him 10 years to come home and when he did, he was a changed and broken man. Now "Captain Junuh", he is a sad and lonely man.
Meanwhile, Adele has never married and has drowned her sorrow in being an active socialite. In 1928, she has thrown herself into making the best golf course in the south. She succeeds in doing just that, then the stock market crashes. Her father takes the easy way out and leaves Adele to fend for herself. She decides to sell everything she owns to raise 10,000 dollars then give that money away as first prize in a golf tournament on her course. She convinces the top 2 golfers, Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen, to participate in the tournament. The town agrees to support her, only if their is representative from good ole Savannah. This of course means Junuh.
Well that's all fine and dandy, but Junuh doesn't want to do it. He is just as happy being drunk. It takes a precocious 10 year old names Hardy Greaves and a stranger named Bagger Vance (Will Smith) to finally talk him into it.
Bagger appears out of nowhere to help Junuh "find his authentic swing". Sometimes he pushes Junuh to the point of distraction then sometimes he is so uninvolved everyone looks at him like he is crazy. In the end Junuh must dig deep down and be the player that he was born to be.
I'm glad I didn't write this right away because I needed to chew on it. I was ready to blast the film because it was another case of a black person being the caretaker of a white person. I was going to rip this movie to shreds because it had all the happy whites and coloreds living harmoniously in Savannah. In 1928? Please. Had Bagger walked up to folks in 1928 Savannah and started taking control of the situation, Bagger would have been swinging from a tree for being an uppity negro. BUT then I thought about it some more and I think had the depiction been accurate, I probably would have complained then too. I probably would have said that race had no business being part of a golf movie.
So, I'm falling back to my fail safe rule. The butt rule. If I notice that my butt hurts from sitting, then the movie isn't keeping me engaged. I noticed for the last hour of the movie that my butt hurt and I had to keep shifting in my seat. I should have been so gripped by what I seeing that my toes could have caught on fire and I would barely notice it.
So what happened to "The Legend of Bagger Vance"? I'm not sure. Maybe it's the fact that I don't really care for golf. I found it annoying that golf became this superhero sport in the movie. Then again I guess they do that with most sports movies.
sigh. I absolutely dread when this happens. I just can't quite put my finger on it. The acting wasn't bad, the script wasn't bad, the movie wasn't bad. It just didn't impress me. What did impress me was the young boy that plays Hardy Greaves. I really dug him. I was also impressed with how southern the people of Savannah are. That was a hoot.
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