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A down on his luck, advertising agent is driving through Tenn l when he has car trouble in the middle of nowhere. At a rundown garage, he discovers the redneck mechanic is REALLY strong. Figuring this redneck is a natural for the weight lifting events in the upcoming Munich Olympics (not to mention a new way to promote his company's lame cereal product, Woochies), the agent brings him to the city to train. Once there they find out that lifting he front ends of cars (and cows!) is a far cry from professional, clean-and-jerk Olympic weightlifting. The agent must put all his con-man skills to the test if he's going to get the redneck trained and qualified in time But everything begins to crumble when, in Munich, the kind-hearted redneck succumbs distractions of a cute little Russian gymnast. Written by
It's too bad this movie has fallen into obscurity; it was a sweet romance story intertwined with sports competition and even political intrigue. Former football player Alex Karras stars as Hugh Ray Feather, a kindhearted, naive good ol' boy from Tennessee who competes as a weightlifter in the 1972 Olympics.
Some actual footage of the real athletes in competition who made history (Olga Korvut and Mark Spitz, among others) is used, and is fun to see. Sportscaster Howard Cosell plays a caricature of himself, as the zealous announcer at the weightlifting competition. His colorful dialog with flowery, multi-syllabic soap-box gibberish was perfect for the situations where it was used. (No mention is made of the shooting tragedy that occurred at the actual '72 Olympics, wisely, it had no place in this story.)
Feather meets a gentle, soft spoken gymnast from the Soviet Union and a romance quickly develops. The chemistry between the two is very tender and genuine. One of the greatest moments in the story is when each speaks a single sentence in the other's language. However, political bullies from both countries interfere with their relationship. Not only that, but some Madison Ave. types are foaming at the mouth for a chance to exploit Feather, and they butt in too.
All of the above evolve until the final scene, where all reach a surprising twist ending together. Great acting by all, but the best line goes to Cosell: "It's an international standoff!!!!!"
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