Saturday, January 14, 2017

Favorite Running Movies: Dramas/Comedies


This category is tough. Unlike the biopics and documentaries, running is not the main component of all these films. There are a few films that some include in running movies where I don't think running is an important enough part of the plot to include them like, "Marathon Man," where although Dustin Hoffman's character is a runner, that part of the plot doesn't seem very important.

There are others, however, that might not come to mind when you think about running movies, but I included them because I don't think they'd be the same movies without running. Feel free to comment on those I left out or those I included.

Saint Ralph
I thought this one was funny and somewhat heartwarming. Ralph is a troubled boy who's mother is in a comma, and he basically lives alone while attending a Catholic school. He finds running as a way to cope, and becomes connected with a former marathon running priest who trains Ralph to run the Boston Marathon. While the plot is a stretch at times, especially in the race itself, and though parts of the film are crass, "Saint Ralph" is definitely entertaining.

Forrest Gump
Running is one of the most important parts of this film--don't even argue on this one. Forrest gets into college, becomes a military hero, and  gains national attention because of running. What would "Forrest Gump" be without Forrest's run across America? Without his famous line, "Ever since that day, I was run-en!"

Run Fat Boy, Run
This film employs the quirky humor of Simon Pegg as he attempts to train for and complete the London Marathon--in a span of about three weeks. This film is entertaining, though parts are completely unbelievable, such as Pegg's character and rival running at the front of the race with the elite athletes for far too long. On my best day I could maybe run one mile of a marathon with elite athletes, and Pegg seems able to run with them for a decent stretch on three weeks of training. Pegg's attempting to complete the race to earn back the respect of his ex-fiancee and mother of his child, and after Pegg stops running with the elites, the rest of his race is actually pretty entertaining.

Across the Tracks
"Across the Tracks" features a very young Brad Pitt as a half miler on a quest to win the county championship and earn a scholarship to Stanford. His younger, troubled brother has just returned from juvenile detention, and although is initially met with hostility from his brother, he also begins running for his track team. This one is a little cheesy in parts, but the running scenes are actually pretty decent and the story is entertaining enough that you might enjoy it if you're a runner.

Running on the Edge
In this Bruce Dern film, Dern plays a runner unfairly banned who sets his sights on winning an iconic mountain race 20-some years later. The race is age-handicapped, so Dern's character has a chance of winning. The race itself is based on the the famous Dipsea race, and Dern plays a compelling runner. The race itself plays out like a Jock Semple/Kathrine Switzer scenario with an angry director trying to remove a runner from "his" race.

The Jericho Mile
This one's fun if not purely for the 70s lingo. Set in a prison, a talented runner is spotted by prison officials who see his talent, set up a race for him, and try to get him entered into the Olympic trials. If you can get over the pure 1970s feel of this movie, the running scenes are actually decent and the story isn't awful.




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