Monday, June 7, 2010

A Triathlon Of Movies

Ian was a little restless at bedtime last night, so I laid with him in hopes of getting him to fall asleep. I didn't go so well - we ended up playing "eyes open-eyes closed" for a good 10 minutes, and this actually had the opposite of the desired effect. He was no even more awake. The only move left was to pretend I was asleep so he'd (hopefully) get the hint. So I closed my eyes and feigned light snoring.

For awhile Ian kept repeating "daddy, daddy" and poking me in the ribs, unwilling to believe that I was truly out. But after about 5 minutes of this, he was bored. I could tell he was ready to sleep, but only by default due to the lack of any other options.

I had to keep the ruse up until he was sound asleep. So, as I normally due, I started to think about triathlon. Then I started to think about movies. I realized that outside of documentaries, there are no movies about triathlon, at least that I know about. But there are movies about swimming, biking, and running. For better or for worse, here are the 3 I thought of.

SWIMMING - "On A Clear Day" (2005)

Plot summary from Wikipedia:

The story is set in present day Glasgow near the banks of the River Clyde. Frank Redmond and a few of his co-workers are laid off from the shipyards after 36 years service. This, along with his grief still suffered over the loss of one of his sons many years ago, plummets Frank into a deep depression. He gets on well with his wife, Joan; however, their relationship is distant. His son, Rob (Jamie Sives), is a devoted house husband who looks after his twin sons, while his wife, Angela works full time at the local Jobcentre.

After a violent panic attack, Frank realises that he needs some focus in his life, and, after a booze cruise along the English chennel, decides to focus his efforts on swimming across it. Frank trains with the help of friend and local chip shop owner Chan and former co-workers Danny, Eddie and Norman until he feels he is fit and ready for the attempt.

I saw this a couple years ago. I think I was on a plane coming back from London. I thought it was pretty good, except for to this day I have trouble seeing Billy Boyd, who plays Frank's friend Danny, as anyone other than Perigen Took from "Lord Of The Rings".

BIKING - "Breaking Away" (1979)

Plot Summary from Wikipedia:

Dave, Mike, Cyril and Moocher are four working-class friends who have recently graduated from high school and are not sure what to do next. They often clash with the more affluent Indiana University students in their hometown of Bloomington.

Dave is obsessed with bicycle racing. His down-to-earth, blue-collar father Ray is puzzled and exasperated by his son's love of Italian music and culture, which Dave associates with bicycling, and his precious Italian Masi road racing bicycle. However, his mother Evelyn is more understanding. Dave masquerades as an Italian exchange student to romance a university student, even serenading her one evening outside her sorority house window.

When a professional Italian bicycling team comes to town for a race, Dave is thrilled to be competing with them. However, the Italians become irked when Dave is able to keep up with and even talk to them during the race. One of them jams a bike pump in Dave's wheel, causing him to crash. This leaves him disillusioned and depressed.

Dave's friends soon persuade him to form a cycling team for the annual Indiana University Little 500 bicycle race. They race under the name "Cutters" (a euphemism for "stoners", the industrial stonecutters who worked the Indiana Limestone quarries of southern Indiana) against university intramural teams. Dave is so much better than the other competitors, he rides without a break and builds up a large lead, while the other teams have to switch cyclists every few laps. However, he is injured and has to stop. After some hesitation, Moocher, Cyril and Mike take turns pedaling, but soon their lead evaporates. Finally, Dave has his feet taped to the bike pedals and starts making up lost ground; he overtakes the leader on the last lap and wins. Dave's father is immensely proud of his accomplishment. Dave later enrolls at the university himself.

I saw this so long ago, but I remember being impressed by a scene where they where diving into an abandoned quarry filled with water and when Dave had his feet taped to the pedals. This was also Dennis Quaid's first movie. Who knew?

RUNNING - "Chariots Of Fire" (1981)

Plot Summary from IMDB:

The true story of two British track athletes competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics. One is a devout Scottish missionary who runs for God, the other is a Jewish student at Cambridge who runs for fame and to escape prejudice.

The story, told in flashback, of two young British sprinters competing for fame in the 1924 Olympics. Eric, a devout Scottish missionary runs because he knows it must please God. Harold, the son of a newly rich Jew runs to prove his place in Cambridge society. In a warmup 100 meter race, Eric defeats Harold, who hires a pro trainer to prepare him. Eric, whose qualifying heat is scheduled for a Sunday, refuses to run despite pressure from the Olympic committee. A compromise is reached when a nobleman allows Eric to compete in his 400 meter slot. Eric and Harold win their respective races and go on to achieve fame as missionary and businessman/athletic advocate, respectively.
Again, this is another movie I say ages ago, probably when it came out. So I was 11 or 12, and at the time had interest in running nor any understanding of the social subtext that was in play. I also remember the title music annoyed the heck out of me. I should probably watch this again, though.

Can anyone think of other swim/bike/run movies?


Caratunk Girl said...

Without Limits - about Steve Prefontaine. I love that one. I have never gotten through Chariots of Fire...I don't know why!!

HEY - Thanks for the shirt! You are in my next Thursday Randomness with a big thank you!!!

KovasP said...


American Flyers - "Hell of the West!"
Flying Scotsman (awesome!)


Personal Best
Saint Ralph
Running Brave


The Swimmer
The Guardian

Unknown said...

Kovas got a bunch of 'em!

Another Running movies is RUNNING with Michael Douglas. It was on AMC Saturday morning ... sort of sucked.

Oh, Run Fatboy Run --- with that dude Simon Pegg, Pretty funny!

Loved Rad too!

DRog said...

There's your calling! S/B/R movie ...get it going! do that Garage Sale documentary tho, I'd pay to see that one:)

thanks for this post my Dad is from Glasgow going to ask him if he saw that film it sounds good


Trish Stratus said...

Very nice selection of movies.

Big Clyde said...

I just saw Saint Ralph last Saturday. I thought it was very funny and very moving. Great movie.

(this is my second post, as a new you think I could get a shirt?) :)


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