CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

2004 Honorable Mention: "Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius"

To appreciate sports like baseball, tennis and golf, you have to enter a certain state of mind. These three sports lack a clock and game unfolds as it should, by following the rules. With good sportsmanship, these sports can be the most soul satisfying thing one can do on a weekend afternoon.

Sadly with an over abundance of commercialism, these sports can be become a fashion show of trade marks. Lacoste shirts are appropriate for tennis, but not golf. Little league teams on one side of the street must wear a Yankees red cap, while the opposing team must wear the light blue Yankees hat. "Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius" celebrates golf as a game of fun, not an negative obsession. Boynton Beach actor Tim Ware, who has a small role as George Adair, was a neighbor of golf legend Bobby Jones. Ware said that Jones wanted to be known as

"...A gentleman, a family man, a lawyer and a man who had a pretty
good game of golf."

At the 1916 Amateur, Young Bobby Jones is noticed by sports journalist Keeler (Malcolm McDowall), who sees the young golfer as the future of the sport. Jones does have a temper and is prone to throwing his golf clubs after a bad stroke. After embarrassing himself to the sport of golf, Jones swallows his anger. Due to this emotional implosion, Jones game improves, but his health declines due to stress. Nonetheless, the Protestant Jones manages to date and eventually marry a Catholic girl, graduate with two degrees, pass the bar exam and win the Grand Slam of Golf as an amateur.

While "Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius" is a gorgeous movie to watch, the narrative unfolds as if it were a synopsis from Cliff's Notes. Made in cooperation with the Jones Family, Director and co writer Rowdy Herrington appears to fear upsetting the Bobby Jones Estate. Herrington merely connects the various situations of Bobby Jones golf career.

The screenplay lacks character development, but the actors provide emotional empathy. Fresh from his triumphant performance as Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ," Jim Caveizal provides a stoic performance that let's his humanity trickle out. Jeremy Northham portrays Ben Hagen, a playboy who makes a living playing professional golf. Jones and Hagen embark on a public rivalry, but have respect for each other as individuals. Malcolm McDowall, has gone from playing arch villains to Yoda figures in this spiritual movie. This under rated actor, McDowall has some of best lines in the movie, including the audience pleaser,

" is going to ruin sports."

While the film lacks the emotional drama of Jones' private life, "Bobby Jones Stroke of Genius" succeeds as a film of the spirit. "Bobby Jones:Stroke of Genius" was a labor of love for the film producers. Made in cooperation with the Jones Family, Director Rowdy Herrington was able to access and photograph Saint Andrews, a Scottish shrine for Golf enthusiasts and part time home of the British Open. Music Composer James Horner was recruited because he is the best musician in the movie business who utilizes bagpipes.

Much like the IMAX feature **Michael Jordan to the Max,** this new film is inspirational for the sport that it celebrates.
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