Eddie the Eagle Edwards and the Power of Myth

We would die inside if we did not give our all. Maybe that should be our life mantra. All of us.

IMG_4380Last evening Patty and I took in the soon to be widely released, Eddie the Eagle. It was something of a belated Valentine’s date. Thanks to the good people at witpr, (@witpr_la) specifically my friend Ryan Parker, we enjoyed an early release viewing at the very comfortable AMC Penn Square. Side note: I like Penn Square so that if the movie is a dud I can take a nap undisturbed.
Despite an early start and a long day, I was never tempted to nap.

Heroic Failure

We were ready for the movie after our hosts led us in a quick upper body calisthenic exercise getting us ready for we knew not what. Imagine the movie title and you should easily detect what we looked like in the theater from our reclined positions.

I did not remember Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards from past Olympics. 1988 was a busy year. My last year of seminary had me taking a total of nearly 40 hours and I worked two jobs. I graduated that winter and we welcomed our youngest, Tommie, to our little family of three. Needless to say if there was a brouhaha over the first British Olympic ski jumper since 1927, I missed the fanfare. Maybe you did too.

Thanks to Marv Films, Saville Productions, and Studio Babelsberg we enjoyed the story the Wiki describes as an “heroic failure.” Normally we do not combine heroic and failure. One might expect a huge failure, an epic failure but not heroic.

I do not want to spoil the film for you. But, remember that in the mashup of heroic and failure we get something more than either heroic or failure. We get both.

The Power of Myth

If you clicked over to read the Wiki on Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards, you may be able to stitch together something about the movie. Based on a true story means based on not factual. Maybe, like my friend Charlie, you have some recollections of the 1988 Olympics. It could be you remember some of the details of the story. If you go to the movie expecting a factual retelling then you will miss the power of myth, or myth-making.

There are several scenes the may or may not have happened. The story is not cheated by the liberty taken. Instead, the writers understood and captured the consequent inspiration and ratcheted it up for you and me with episodic consistency that whether or not the details follow a rigid accuracy, you come away knowing that what matters is that you participated with everything you had and not that you won or lost the gold.

We are not talking about a re-framing of the line we tell our youngsters, “It’s not if you win or lose, it is how you play the game.” How you play could refer to decorum and attitude. These are important. But what we get from Eddie the Eagle is an emphasis on what dimities us and what ignites us.

Rating: Go See the Movie

You will read varying reactions to the movie. Some may nip at it based on a particular criterion. I do not really know what it means to give a star rating since I see fewer movies than those who we view as critics. My rating system would be simple either go see the movie or don’t go see the movie.

I give Eddie the Eagle a, Go See the Moive.


About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

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