The Legend of Bagger Vance (VHS, 2001, Spanish Subtitled)

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The Tao of Golf. The Zen of overused plots.

May 8, 2001
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Matt Damon isn't bad. It's about golf.

Cons:Will Smith just isn't Buddha. It's about golf.

The Bottom Line: Matt Damon is pretty good. Some of the character interaction is pretty interesting, especially Will Smith and the boy. The story has been done to death though.


I was really looking forward to this movie. Somehow, I usually like golf movies. Tin Cup was pretty good. Dead Solid Perfect was excellent. I suppose there is just no point in throwing together a really bad golf movie. You are narrowing your field quite a bit just by making it about golf, you better at least put some effort into it. After all, not a whole lot of thirteen year olds are likely to storm the gates at the opening of the golf movie.

I have to admit that the movie wasn't too bad, but how many times do I have to see this movie? You have your basic hero type person who is really good at whatever. Then he goes to the war and has some life altering experience, or becomes an alcholic, or becomes bitter because he has lost his best girl. Or all three like in this movie. Then the mysterious stranger comes along and spouts his mysterious stranger type zen koans all over, and then aren't we all richer and more fulfilled for having known the mysterious stranger.

That's not quite what I thought the movie was going to be about. I thought Will Smith was just going to be a guy who knew golf. But, he's not. He just knows a lot about life. There is one part where he is telling Matt Damon that he has to 'see the field' and goes on and on spouting his little 'fieldisms' when I half expected Chevy Chase to pop out and start telling Matt Damon to 'be the ball'.

Okay.

Apart from what I have already told you, the plot goes like this. Matt Damon was a real up-and-coming golfer. He was also dating the daughter of the wealthiest man in Savannah. Then he went to war. He didn't have a good time. When he came back, he just disappeared. Life went on. His ex-girlfriend's rich dad built a massive golf course, in fact, he wrapped up all his money in it. Then, the big stock market crash hit, and somehow there weren't a lot of people looking to spend money playing golf.

So, Daddy Warbucks kills himself. Daughter Warbucks decides to move on, and in 'true Southern lady style' make the best of things. She comes up with the idea of having a exhibition match in order to get everyone interested in the golf course.

Savannah wants one of their own to be in the match, and the only option is Matt Damon. Matt doesn't want to do it, but then Will Smith wanders in out of the night and offers to be his caddy.

Matt's pretty bad at first, and even on the first day of the competition he isn't doing so well. And, the story goes on. Matt trying to reclaim his ability to play golf and his old girlfriend at the same time.

I say again. How many times do I have to see this movie?

What's worse, this movie can't accurately be said to start until about 35 or 40 minutes in. See, all throughout the movie there is this young boy that is Matt Damon's biggest fan. We are led around the story by this little boy. In the beginning of the movie, the boy is telling us all about Matt Damon. He was the greatest. My dad said a million times that he was the greatest. I wanted to be him. My dad said he often ate corn flakes and bananas for breakfast. Let me tell you about Matt Damon. He was the greatest golfer ever. He was about so high, blondish hair, liked gumdrops as I recall. Boy, was he a good golfer. He once hit a drive so far that all the people of the world stopped what they were doing for twenty minutes and said, 'Did you hear something?'

Seriously, it goes on forever.

On the good side.

I liked Matt Damon pretty well once he was past the initial stage of being a mean drunk. I just didn't really believe him as the mean drunk. Once he was golfing he was pretty good.

I generally like Will Smith, but he just wasn't quite pulling off this role in my eyes. If anything he was trying to go too many ways with it, and be too many different kinds of Buddha.

I thought the little kid was superb though. It's pretty impressive just to be able to train a kid that young to speak in that outrageous accent. Sorry, just kidding.

It's not that the movie is exactly bad, but I don't really see any point in recommending it. You've seen it before.


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