Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I have a confession...my opinion about Leatherheads is irrevocably jaded. This movie was filmed on location in my hometown. So...my friends and neighbors abound as extras in this movie. The stadium scenes include a football stadium where my son had played football. The usually empty matinee was sold out today...as people in the community crowded together to try and get a glimpse of themselves on the big screen. So with that disclaimer...I will give my best evaluation of Leatherheads.
Back in the early days of Football the only real protection players wore were their leather helmets. Thus came the term leatherheads. Leatherheads is a story about the transition from the rough and tumble game devoid of rules to the kinder gentler game of Football. However, this movie isn't so much about Football as it is about character with an added unlikely love story thrown in for good measure. The appealing thing about this movie is the throwback feel of the film...not just the fact that it is set in a period...period pieces have been very popular lately. This movie is a throwback in other ways...the bantering dialogue and visual schtick give this movie an oldie but goodie feel. Leatherheads tells the story of an old school player and a new school player and their relationship as the game of Football transitions to big business. There is a strong sub-plot involving the war record of the young star that creates an interesting diversion to the main story. So the question may be asked...is this a love story or a football story? Who cares? It is an interesting story oozing with Roaring Twenties nostalgia. I cannot wax nostalgic about a period that predates me by four decades, but it was fun to watch.
The writing in this film was superb. The plot was not exactly suspenseful or deep. It was a simple mushy love story with a gritty football backdrop. What I enjoyed most about the writing was the old school dialogue. Sharp exchanges peppered with a machine gun stuccatto keep you bouncing your head from one character to the other. The characters are not fully developed sinking at times into stereo types. However, they are strong enough to make you care about the outcome at least a little. Overall, the writing relies heavily on the strength of the dialogue and wit and less on the plot and character development. Overall, I was pleased with the writing because it was fun to listen to.
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