Film Bitch History
Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.


Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!

SAG SCREENING REACTIONS - Bombshell, Little Women

Comment Fun

REVIEW - Last Christmas

"Just saw a 7:00pm Thursday night show in Los Angeles. As flawed/imperfect as the film is, its quite winning due in a large part to some heavy lifting by Emilia Clarke. She’s got a real Sandra Bullock/Julia Roberts star power on full display here.-HardyofHearing

Keep TFE Strong

We're looking for 500... no 461 Patron SaintsIf you read us daily, please be one.  Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience




Directors (For Sama)
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

What'cha Looking For?
« K | Main | Doc Corner: Fyre Festival, Jean-Luc Godard and Eureka in First-Quarter Round-Up »

SXSW: "Olympic Dreams"

Guest contributor Tony Ruggio reporting from SXSW...

Olympic Dreams, starring comedian Nick Kroll and real-life Olympic athlete Alexi Pappas, is both innovative and a little mundane. Shot behind the curtain in Olympic Village during Pyongyang, it’s a romantic two-hander set against the 2018 games. It also doubles as a real deep-dive into an unknowable subculture. Blurring the lines between narrative and documentary, with many athletes and employees playing themselves, director Jeremy Teicher is a one-man band capturing the unglamorous side of the games. The dorm-like bedrooms, spare game rooms, and impending doom of life after it’s all over...

It’s well-known by now how many Olympic athletes have performed and performed well for their country, only to come home to medals and not much else. Much like servicemen, in fact. That pall hangs over the proceedings, even when things get cute, such as when volunteer dentist Ezra (Kroll) and cross-country skier Penelope (Pappas) meet cute in the middle of a cavernous food hall. Or when Penelope and Olympian Gus Kenworthy (one of the first openly gay Olympic male athletes) strike up a real friendship while the cameras are rolling. Gus is a natural in front of the camera and should pursue more acting gigs. That is, when he’s not putting Mike Pence on blast.

Kroll and Pappas at the premiereOn occasion, Teicher dabbles in well-worn territory, the victim of a genre that’s seen too many imitations of Blue Valentine, stylistically or otherwise. But Teicher has two actors with soul to spare, and to unveil to us over the course of a brisk 90 minutes. Kroll proves he can do more than douche it up (Sausage Party, Parks & Rec) or snark it up (everything else), and Pappas far surpasses any expectation one might have for an athlete looking to act. They’re both genuine performers with a deep well of feeling, not to mention a certain inscrutable chemistry together. You might ask, how do we buy that a 22 year-old athlete would be so into Kroll’s dorky, middle-aged charm? The answer is loneliness.

Above all, Olympic Dreams is about the idea that every man and woman we meet is potentially fighting their own battle, suffering their own wounds, prone to insecurity and isolation no matter who they are or where they are. Even in a busy menagerie like the Olympic Games, Penelope has found that it’s not quite what the commercials and four year-long training made it out to be. For Ezra, it’s a dream come true undone by a fiance-ish back home with designs on leaving him. They find each other on the other side of the world, and for a few days anyway, they’d rather be nowhere else. B

more from SXSW


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (2)

I'm interested in knowing more about Pappas - Olympic athlete and filmmaker are both so demanding; even though she's no longer (maybe?) a competitive athlete that's impressive.

I also am so interested in the niche of actor/comedians who seem to play douches 90% of the time, but actually seem like pretty great dudes - e.g. Kroll, Jason Mantzoukas, Paul Scheer - how does this come about? They have all worked together.

March 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Nice movie really feels to see the olympics on the screen,
thanks for sharing.

April 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGHDsports download

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>