Swimming for Gold (2020) Movie Review

Director: Hayley MacFarlane

Writer: Eric Bergemann (Screenplay)

Starring: Peyton List, Martin Dingle Wall, Daniel Needs, Ray Chong Nee, Lauren Esposito, Alexa Curtis. Olivia Nardini

Plot: A US women’s swim team Olympic hopeful suffers an injury that forces her to put aside her dreams and help the Australian men’s swim team get competition ready.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Swimming for Gold starts when disgraced US women’s swimming Olympic hopeful Claire Carpenter (List) gets given a chance to redeem herself as a coach for an Australian boys team, on the same campus as her biggest rival Mikayla (Esposito).

After a bumpy start with her social media fame, Claire starts t o adapt to what is needed to coach the team with the captain Liam Henderson (Needs) wanting to put everything back on track.

Thoughts on Swimming for Gold

ThoughtsSwimming for Gold is a sports drama about a former starlet needing a chance to redeem herself, as she becomes a coach for a struggling team looking to achieve national success. The film will go through the typical themes you expect to see with first not fitting in, as well as showing the pressure put upon young competitors looking to make an impact in the sporting world. It will highlight the importance of being part of a team, enjoying the sport first before letting it become the controlling factor of life. The performances in the film are all strong with each actor needing to take on a serious moment that will highlight the problems they are dealing with. You will find yourself knowing where this one will go, because it is a feel good family film.

Final Thoughts Swimming for Gold is a fun family film filled with the desire for gold.

ABC Film Challenge – Sports – Y – Wheely (2018) Movie Review

This is under Y because of the director Yusry Abd Halim.

Director: Yusry Abd Halim, Carl Mendez

Writer: Keith Brumpton, Yusry Abd Halim, Peter Hynes (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Barbara Goodson, Chris Jai Alex, Ogie Banks, Brock Powell, Tamiyka White

Plot: Wheely, a cabbie from the lower ranks of society, faces an uphill battle to save his dream girl from a monstrous 18-wheeler truck who is the mastermind of a luxury car-napping syndicate.

Tagline – Local Zero to Global Hero

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Wheely starts as rookie driver Wheely is about to win the big race only for an accident to see his career finished before it gets started. One-year-later he is now working as a cabbie trying to make sure he remains calm not causing anymore damage to himself.

When Wheely ends up meeting luxury actress car Bella, he falls for her only to find himself caught up in middle of the bigger conspiracy going on involving a monstrous 18-wheeler truck who is trying to steal parts from cars around the land.


Thoughts on Wheely

ThoughtsWheely is an animated comedy that follows a former racer car that finds out he is involved in a bigger carnapping scheme going on in his city and must risk everything to put a stop to it. This isn’t the most entertaining animation, with large parts of the film feeling slower than it needs to be. It does seem to want to borrow a lot from what made the first Cars film fun, without hitting the heights of the laughs captured in that film. It does have a message about trying to chase dreams and not just settling in life, which will play into the dream in all of us, but outside of that we don’t seem to get to the next level of the story telling process, with some painful stereotypes in the film.

Final Thoughts Wheely Standard animation that doesn’t hit all the heights it wants to.

ABC Film Challenge – Sports Movies – T – Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) Movie Review

Director: Adam McKay

Writer: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Ferrell, John C Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Gary Cole, Michael Clarke Duncan, Leslie Bibb, Jane Lynch

Plot: Number one NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby stays atop the heap thanks to a pact with his best friend and teammate, Cal Naughton, Jr. But when a French Formula One driver, makes his way up the ladder, Ricky Bobby’s talent and devotion are put to the test.

Tagline – If you’re not first, you’re last.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby starts when mechanic Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) gets a chance to drive the NASCAR, which was seen as the worse on the track to a surprise victory, he becomes an overnight sensation. Ricky becomes the face of the sport with his new teammate Cal Naughton Jr (Reilly) always winning, until the team owner gets tired of their actions and turns to Formula One driver Jean Girard (Cohen) to lead the team.

This change sees Ricky lose his confidence and need to bring back what made him the best driver in the sport and rebuild his legacy he once had.

Thoughts on Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

ThoughtsTalladega Nights; The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is a sports comedy that will see the once greatest in his sport Ricky Bobby find new competition that will see him losing his confidence and needing to find himself to make sure he can return to being the best. The core of the story is everything we have seen and enjoy in sports movies, even if it is similar to Cars in many aspects. Where the story does seem to fall short is the comedy of the film, which feels immature and doesn’t get the laughs required, taking away from the serious side of the story. Will Ferrell is good for the serious side of the film, only his comedy side of things does fall shorter. The supporting cast are the same, they are fun for the serious side and struggle with the comedy. The races do feel like everything people want to see, rather than regular races, waiting for the crashes rather than being the real race effects.

Final Thoughts Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is a generic sports drama that tries too hard for the comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – Sports – S – Spaceman (2016) Movie Review

Director: Brett Rapkin

Writer: Brett Rapkin (Screenplay) Richard Lally, Bill Lee (Book)

Starring: Josh Duhamel, W. Earl Brown, Ernie Hudson, Winter Ave Zoli, Carlos Leal, Stefan Rollins, Sterling K Brown

Plot: Story of former MLB pitcher Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee following his release by the Montreal Expos.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Drama

Story: Spaceman starts as MLB pitcher Bill Spaceman Lee (Duhamel) sees his career disappear after a interview with a drug magazine, he gets axed by his team, with none of the other teams in the league wanting anything to do with him, because of his reputation.

Bill finds himself with one option, joining a senior team across the road from him, where he finds he love for baseball once again, even if it meant he could continue to spiral down a drug hellhole he has created for himself.

Thoughts on Spaceman

Characters – Bill Lee is a pitcher in the MLB, he is one of the best in the game, only his reputation for drug use hits a new low when he appears in High Time Magazine, he loses his job and must find a way to rebuild his career and life, as well as learning about his love for baseball, to get his life back together. We do meet the ex-wife who has got tired of trying to help him get back on his feet and must put their children first, other players from different stages of their careers and coaches that has supported him or want nothing to do with him.

PerformancesJosh Duhamel is the best he has been in a leading role, going well outside of his comfort zone. The rest of the cast are fine without needing to do much through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the late career of Bill Lee as he sees his career taken from him, with him desperately trying to get back into the game despite the reputation he has created for himself. This isn’t the most engaging story, if you don’t follow baseball, you won’t understand how the system works, Bill Lee isn’t the most likable character because of his own reckless decisions. The style the story unfolds is even more disappointing, as it ends up just going in a direction that shows him trying to play for laughs, rather than seeing how he fixes his life all together.

ComedyThe comedy is mostly coming from trying to poke fun at different generations of baseball players, as well as stoner jokes.

SettingsThe film does take us around America as Bill tries to find a new team to play, it isn’t the easiest to figure out everywhere he has been attending.

Scene of the Movie – The rookie can’t handle the pitches.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not understand baseball at all.

Final Thoughts This is a disappointing sports comedy that is trying to tell an important story, only to end up feeling forced more than anything else.

Overall: Poor comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – Sports – R – The Racer (2020) Movie Review

Director: Kieron J Walsh

Writer: Ciaran Cassidy, Kieron J Walsh, Sean Cook (Screenplay)

Starring: Louis Talpe, Matteo Simoni, Tara Lee, Iain Glen, Karel Roden, Timo Wagner, Sarah Carroll

Plot: It follows a rider who, after being dropped from the team, is reinstated following a doping error.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Racer starts as experienced rider Dominique Chabol (Taipe) is preparing for the latest Tour de France starting in Ireland, he is getting through the final preparation in the team with the lead rider Lupo ‘Tartare’ Marino (Simoni) needing him to keep him calm, but the day before the race the team owner Viking (Roden) drops him from the formation.

With Dom facing the reality of his career in the sport being over, he finds himself getting redemption after a member of the team gets ill and Dom gets reinstated, only of the team to need to deal with a bigger problem, an investigation into what is giving them an advantage.

Thoughts on The Racer

Characters & Performances – Dominique Chabol is the veteran member of the team, he has been competing for 25-years, he is the anchor of the team, keeping the other riders grounded, prepared for what is next, only to find himself getting axed from the team last minute, starting to question what to do next. He has never held the Yellow Jersey, the one dream he never achieved and after getting one more chance on the team, he starts to show he desire to achieve more, while staying the team player. Louis Talpe is great in this role, showing us the pure emotion of someone who wanted more from his career, while also being proud of what he has achieved so far. Lupe ‘Tartare’ Marino is the leader rider, the guy who is meant to win the yellow jersey, he is a cocky arrogant hot head that needs Dom to help keep him calm before the races, he celebrates big when they win and rages when they don’t. Matteo Simoni shows us how you would expect more athletes to act when they don’t succeed. Dr Lynn Brennan is the local work placement doctor working with the tour, she helps Dom with his own problems, offering him more of a friendship that he was expecting, helping him put his own vision of life in perspective. Tara Lee is great in her role, being the stronger figure in a world where Dom has let people use him for years. Sonny is the oldest friend Dom has in this world, the masseur who also helps the riders with other ideas to stay up to the standard within the team. Iain Glen brings most of the comedy to this role, with his lard back motivation to everything going on.

StoryThe story here follows a veteran cyclist who has spent his career as part of a team but never been the lead rider within it, that starts to question his own future when the owner drops him, only to bring him back after an illness within the team. This will show us how veteran sports stars can be treated by teams after years of time given, how they can become the leader of the team, without needing to be the most important member to the spectators and how a career will leave someone always wanting more. This does show us just how the tour de France was filled with people that were trying to bend the rules to their own advantage in the late 90s, in a way that was both dangerous to the athlete and the reputation of the team. This is told in a way that shows us how the veteran can start to see the bigger picture to everything going on and will offer help to the team when they need it. It might well give us all of the drama behind the scenes, but for a film about cycling, we don’t get too much of the actual racing, which could have been played for a more intense finish.

ThemesThe Racer is a sports drama showing us the extreme measures riders would go to be the best in the Tour de France, while showing us snippets of the early stages within the stages, most of the cycling is only the final stretch, which is meant to be the most interesting part of the stage.


The Racer is a life defining moment for a veteran sports star in his final years to shine, that is performed excellently throughout.