The Boys in George Clooney’s Bloat

A few months ago, I started seeing trailers for the new George Clooney movie, “The Boys in the Boat”.   I breezily scratched that film off my list.  Firstly, Clooney is a mediocre director, as evidenced from his previous films.  Secondly, a plucky band of American working-class men incredibly, stunningly, unbelievably, amazingly, shockingly enter an athletics competition and win.  My God!!! Has that ever even happened before?  Will the audience be surprised by anything in the film?  Will the best rower prove to be a nice guy, and get the girl?  Will some group of nefarious, jealous, evil people try to stop them?  Will there be a last-minute hitch to shockingly overcome?

As if.  As if anything about this film was ever going to be even remotely interesting.  Then, I accidentally stumbled into the review on the Roger Ebert review site.  Now, I know is overly generous to most films, but this review stunned me. I was completely wrong.  This magnificent film is fresh, exciting, rousing, and heroic!  You must see it!  3.5 out of 4 stars.

Seriously?  There is nothing in the description of this movie that even hints at a result like this.  The story is cliché-ridden, it’s directed by the “genius” who directed “The Monuments Men” (which Clooney himself apologized for) and “Leatherheads” which was reputedly so bad I never even bothered to see it, and it overtly toots the message of “believe in yourself” because if you believe in yourself you will win, even if all the other competitors also believe in themselves and win too.  We know for a fact that Nazi athletes do not believe in themselves, are not plucky, are never underdogs, and are known to deflower virgins.

No, I was not wrong.  Here’s a good corrective (the Guardian).

Will I see it?  I retch at the very prospect.  There is not one thing in the previews or reviews or trailer that displays the slightest hint of originality, insight, intelligence, or fun.

And should scrape itself off the list of “review” sites.  This is not the first time, recently, that it has been excessively generous to a bad film.  I know you want to be popular and you hate disparaging films that you know the public is going to love, but it is a disservice to culture in general to throw yourself at a film like a cheap slut late, late, late on a Saturday night.


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