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Chariots of Fire: Cause or cure of insomnia?



Chariots_of_fire_2 When the Stuck in the '80s krewe takes their annual holiday sabbaticals, we tend to screw up our internal clocks (and internal organs) big time. Case in point: I was wolfing down spinach and mushroom pizza and bourbon yesterday at 11 a.m., but still up til 3 a.m. this morning unable to sleep because my all-time favorite movie about English Olympians competing against Americans in Paris was on TV.

I know. Right now, you're asking: WHICH movie about English Olympians in Paris? (The one with Chevy Chase as the wisecracking shot-putting Lord Sussex and Andrew McCarthy as the mopey sprinting prodigy The Earl of Backshires? No!) It's 1981's Chariots of Fire, and .... no, wait! Don't click over to Sean Daly's blog. I'm here to defend one of the '80s best period pieces. (Watch the trailer and feel the flow.)


5. IT REALLY HAPPENED: Yeah, it's a true story about English sprinter Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) and "The Flying Scotsman'' Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson) and their gold medal efforts at the 1924 Summer Olympics held in Paris.

4. IT WAS THEIR HIGH-WATER MARKS: Cross would go on to decent roles in Steal the Sky (1988) and Dark Shadows (1990). He'll also play Sarek in the new Star Trek movie. Charleson was good in Ghandi and maybe even memorable in Oxford Blues (a feat in itself). Sadly, he died in 1990 (ironically while performing Hamlet on stage).

3. IT WON A TON OF AWARDS: It was nominated for seven Oscars, winning four including Best Picture and Best Original Score (that classic ditty by Vangelis). What flicks did it best for the top prize? Try Raiders of the Lost Ark, Reds, On Golden Pond and Atlantic City.

2. IT HAS A TON OF BEEFCAKE: "Ben Cross is so freakin' hot," gushed Vegas Girlfriend when I mentioned why I came to bed so late last night. She can't remember a thing about the plot. But Ben, his sexy accent and brooding looks? It's like Spanish Fly to her.

1. IT HAS KILLER QUOTES: I'm a movie quote junkie, and Chariots of Fire is like chocolate-covered crack to quote junkies. My favorite: "I'm forever in pursuit and I don't even know what I am chasing."

I hear you, Harold. I hear you.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:42pm]


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