THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE, 2000
Cast: Will Smith, Matt Damon, Charlize Theron, Bruce McGill, Joel Gretsch, J. Michael Moncrief, Lane Smith, Peter Gerety, Michael O'Neill
WATCH SEEING THE FIELD - Great movie scene from the film.
A disillusioned war veteran, Captain Rannulph Junah, reluctantly agrees to play a game of golf. He finds the game futile until his caddy, Bagger Vance, teaches him the secret of the authentic golf stroke which turns out also to be the secret to mastering any challenge and finding meaning in life.
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Inside each and every one of us
And that about sums up what The Legend of Bagger Vance is all about.
At times life gets the best out of us and we lose ourselves. There are many addictions in this world that will take us in, and when that happens we lose our gift, out zest, our swing, whatever you want to call it.
Many people say and believe that we currently live in a cynical world. We tend to look at the negative first in any situation before ever seeing the positive. That's why I guess many of us tend to judge others so much. By looking down on people it keeps us moving in the only way a negative outlook can. You do keep moving but only in a sideways motion, never able to move forward from your present thoughts and ideals.
And that's what a good yarn is all about. It's storytelling at its best. Telling a mythical tale about the fall and rise of people who start in a very low spot and but at the end of the story they have risen to where they are supposed to be in life. It's what fairytales are all about. They teach us where we should be. Stories like this have been told since the beginnings of man's evolution when they switched to agriculture from hunting as their main source of survival. Ever since we mastered the art of staying alive, we began to tell tales of how we can get the best out of ourselves. 10,000 years later we may have become so cynical that we don't believe these stories anymore.
"It's not fair". -- The classic line most children say when they don't get their way. Most of us tend to out grow that selfish point of view as we begin to appreciate what we actually have. But as I surf around the web in social networking sites and beyond, plus my correspondences with actual real people in my daily routines, I have found that phrase coming back into the adult world too. We might not be so blunt to actually say those basic 3 words, but those thoughts do come out, just in different phrases and actions.
Is life fair? I guess that's for each individual to answer. Is Bagger Vance's poet look at life above a true sentiment? Do we all have that special gift that only us has? Do we all have that authentic swing?
I think we do, which is why I really enjoyed The Legend of Bagger Vance. A movie that uses sport as a metaphor to getting the best out of yourself. Then it mixes the realities of war, financial depression and an overall shift of society with the spiritual. A spirit guide disguised as a golf caddy helps a talented young man who lost his way back to where he's supposed to be. AKA - He helps him find his swing.
When The Legend of Bagger Vance came out in the fall of 2000, many thought that the film had the makings of a gigantic hit. At the time Will Smith was becoming the movie star of the decade. Matt Damon, fresh off his Oscar win in Good Will Hunting, was the toast of the town and considered the future of Hollywood. And Charlize Theron was on a great string of playing strong female characters, who had also shown she could match her acting skills with anyone on the planet (not to mention she was stunningly beautiful). Mix this acting trio with the great Robert Redford, who was directing (and in this reviewers opinion, still hasn't directed a bad film), you thought that Oscars would be waiting. But something interesting happened......
.......the reviewers hated it. They thought it to be too hooky and even criticized the use of Will Smith using the parallel of him being a black slave in the South and being the caddy who was there to help the white man! Say what? In the year 2000 you had professional writers with a lot of clout actually writing sentences like this. Will Smith being a certain skin color had nothing to do with anything. He was a spirit guide, bigger and taller than the rest of us (aka - Jesus). Did they miss the point when they saw this movie? Reading this crap was more of a projection of who the critics were as human beings than anything else.
The point of The Legend of Bagger Vance was to tell a spiritual story without the religious propaganda in the current time it was made. So perhaps the people could learn and be entertained by the fact that we may be here to get the best out of ourselves. Using the game of golf was the a great backdrop to this journey. Many people play the game and could relate to the analogy of playing a sport where they are competing with themselves and not another person.
After the reviewers panned the film, the movie goers followed and decided that the best way to show their distaste for a movie like this was to not watch it at all. No matter who was directing or starring in it.
So this is a film that strangely had a very short shelve life. People didn't want to see this type of story. Perhaps that's why the US population, when this movie came out in November 2000 was right smack dab in the middle of their presidential elections, decided to vote for George W Bush for president in one of the most shocking victories that I ever seen. I don't want to get too political, and please note that I am considered more right than left and would easily vote republican, but voting this underdeveloped and considerably underqualified man into the biggest job in the world really showcased what people were thinking at this time. They didn't want to see another Hollywood yarn about being the best that you can be. They decide to vote for Bush because why the heck not! He seemed the opposite of the last presidents they elected in. A lack of drive, communication skills, understanding of the common man and an overall work ethic needed to carry the task of this position. How bad could he be?????
We were a tired species in 2000, needing a long rest or a shock to the system to get us going again. For years we saw the rich get richer and the politician scamming their way into office by those rich getting richer. The last thing we wanted to see was this film called Bagger Vance.
But take a look at it now. There's a brilliant scene where Matt Damon's character is finally getting it. (WATCH SCENE HERE) Concentration, drive and the art of not thinking while staying awake. Just being the person who are supposed to be. He begins to see the golf course in slow motion as the ball is now his and he can shoot it anywhere he wants to. He's in the zone, the place where we all want to be. And in my personal opinion, a place where we can all go.
The art of life that's stated in this is to concentrate on a task without worrying or seeing what's around you. Letting the negative people and vibes go away. And as soon as you master that trick, then you're on your way.
THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE