Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Flex ability

I saw an advanced screening of Peaceful Warrior Tuesday night. All I knew about the movie came from a trailer I saw a few months ago: a male gymnast gets seriously injured, but miraculously returns to top form with the spiritual help of Kenny Rogers.

Okay, so that's actually Nick Nolte sporting the Kenny Rogers look. But no matter. Based on Dan Millman's semi-autobiographical book The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, the movie follows hotshot athlete Dan (Scott Mechlowicz) who has natural success with academics, gymnastics, and girls, but is rocked by a series of bad dreams. Sleepless, he jogs to a gas station near campus, where the attendant (Nolte) has mysterious abilities and intrigues him in a Miyagi-meets-Yoda way. Dan tries to do without the teachings for a while, but then experiences a traumatic injury that forces him to face how much he needs that guidance.

While the basic message of the movie is simple -- you're happiest when you live in the moment -- there's a lot of spiritual hokum that surrounds it. And while Nolte's character is supposed to be deep and mystical, the actor comes across as gruff and straightforward. With such an overtly positive theme, I feel a little guilty for nitpicking, but I just didn't find the movie very resonant.

I should mention that the film is directed by Victor Salva. The name seemed familiar when it appeared in the closing credits, so I looked him up. Here's what I learned. I must admit that it affects my reaction to the film a little. I figured that those who might object to attending Roman Polanski movies would want to know.


Janelle Renee said...

What a funny picture. I'm sure it was meant to look like an action shot (Nolte holding Mecholwicz back), but it looks contrived and staged. Not too different than the movie by the sound of it.

Brando said...

Oh, how the mighty have fallen since Blue Chips

Neel Mehta said...

JR: Actually, it's a moment where teacher connects with student on a spiritual level, allowing him to focus and see what's going on around him. Of course, I used this photo of Nolte because it had the strongest Kenny Rogers resemblance.

Brando: Wow, Blue Chips. I wonder if any sportswriter asked Shaq if being a second banana this week reminded him of working with Nick Nolte.

Brando said...

That's funny, didn't even think of the Shaq-Wade-Nolte connection.

At least Nolte looks better than he did in his mug shot.

Neel Mehta said...

You mean this one?