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21 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Excellent little movie doomed to commercial failure by an R rating

Author: Scoopy from Budapest
29 November 2002

I know. You never heard of this movie. You probably never will again. Neither had I, and it turned out to be a complex, intelligent little sports movie about a child golf prodigy who gets the benefit of an education about life while he's sharpening his golf game.

It impresses most of all because it is filled with surprises. Every time you think it is going to go after a cliché, it goes in a completely different direction. You think the kid's dad is an ass? Not so. He's a regular guy who has days when he acts like an ass, like the rest of us. You think the Designated Golf Yoda is going to turn the kid into Nicklaus II? Not so. In fact, he begins by refusing to teach the kid how to play, and he never goes back on his word.

He only gives him one lesson related to golf:

Golf isn't that important. It isn't life.

This must be the most unmarketable film of all time. Every message in this film is something that you'd want your kids to hear. It is about decency, integrity, sincerity, and trying to grow up with perspective. It would be a great PG Disney film. Unfortunately, it is rated R because the dialogue is realistic. That's what life boils down to in Hollywood. If you make a movie for kids that shows them what the world is really like and gives them some approaches to take when they encounter that world, the film will be given an R rating, thus assuring that those kids will never see the film.

Kids are only allowed to see movies which are unrealistic.

So here you have what is essentially a sweet little coming-of-age movie, and no audience. I guess the producers finally figured that out, and abandoned any hope that A Gentleman's Game might have a theatrical release.

On the other hand, there's no reason why adults won't like the film.

* It looks sumptuous, was cast perfectly, and is acted beautifully.

* In addition to the stars, it features rounded performances from Gary Sinese and Philip Baker Hall, two of the greatest character actors in films today.

* The story has an emotional fullness to it, a sense of how life is more than contrived drama and moments engineered for the camera. There are no last-minute rallies or miraculous chips from the rough. There are no "Rocky" moments of ultimate sports triumph.

The dramatic payoff occurs when a man who lost his integrity reclaims it, and a kid who admires him decides he isn't going to give his own integrity up in the first place.

Nice job. 

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A gentleman and a scholar

Author: jotix100 from New York
1 May 2005

Most comments about "A Gentleman's Games" zero in the sport of golf. While yes, golf is what one sees played here, the film is much more about honesty and how to really be a good human being in a world that seems to reward the ones that are just the contrary. The book by Tom Coyne gets an excellent treatment by its director, J. Mills Goodloe, who is credited with being the adaptation with the author.

Timmy Price, the young man at the center of the story, is being taught by his father how to play golf. In fact, one sees Mr. Price in trying to instill in this young man the rules of conduct, not only on the playing field, but also in life. Timmy is more mature than his young age reveals.

Charlie Logan, a club member, suggests the older Price to look for a former caddy of the club, who was considered the best in the field, to guide his son. The meeting with Foster Pearce, the retired caddy now living in a trailer in a beach area, goes nowhere. Pearce is through with the game. Timmy goes to him on his own and starts practicing his swing on the beach. Pearce never coaches the boy to do anything, but we can see his interest as they become good friends. Pearce finally admits the reason for leaving the sport at a crucial point of the film.

A few other things come out in the movie. We see how the kind Charlie Logan, turns against his black caddy in a moment of drunken rage as the other man was trying to shield him from being hit by a golf ball. The locker room politics also gets great play in the film. The incident in which Timmy's caddy friend is abused, is done with taste.

The acting in general is splendid. Young Mason Gamble makes a great Timmy. Not having seen him before, his appearance in the film is excellent as this young actor underplays the role that enhances the film tremendously. Gary Sinise is also subdued in his take of Pearce, the defeated man who suddenly wants to remedy the situation that got him to this point. Dylan Baker an all around actor of stage and screen, who we have seen in many plays, is at his best playing the older Price. Also, Philip Baker Hall has a great moment playing the contradictory Charlie Logan.

This film will not disappoint thanks to the superb direction by Mr. J. Mills Goodloe.

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Good Book, Waste of Film.

Author: mister_k from United States
30 November 2005

I had the good fortune of reading the book before seeing the movie. It was an epic of adolescence, a dream of summers gone, a great potential indie film or big budget drama. It somehow got into the hands of a hack, who clearly took notes watching Boogie Nights and Rushmore without actually learning anything at all. The script loses the meat of the book in favor of forced emotional notes and low brow gags. I feel sorry for the actors, since the characters in the book were rich and textured, but cut down to embarrassing charactures in the film. Mason Gamble is great when given the opportunity, as is Dylan Baker, but the skeleton that remains of the story plays out like a bad after school special. Poor people = GOOD, Rich people = BAD.

Though it's almost worth watching to see the Southern California beach where Gary Sinise parks his trailer which is meant to pass for a bay in Delaware.

It's a good book, but an embarrassing turn for first time director Mills Goodloe.


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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Artfully, Subtly Portrayed Coming of Age Movie

Author: magica8080 ( from Northern California, USA
5 May 2005

Timmy Price (Mason Gamble) is the son of a middle class family whose father belongs to the venerable and exclusive Fox Chase Golf Club. His well meaning father forces him to caddy at the club the summer he turns thirteen. At first Timmy doesn't fit in with the caddies, and is generally ignored as being another "members kid...who come to loop for one day and never come back..." Timmy keeps at the looping (caddying) though and soon discovers his own gift for the game.

While looping Timmy watches the members associate with each other and interact with the staff. Lessons about life and growing up are subtly characterized, often with nothing more than the actual events to relate Timmy's realizations. This is an excellent movie to watch in the "coming of age" genre. The movie is narrated by the "adult" Timmy as he is looking back at this time in his life. One of the strongest aspects of the film is that the whole story is conveyed without the sugary sentimentality or rose colored emotion that is often used to tell a coming of age story. Very refreshing.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A boy begins caddying and golfing, and in the process becomes very good, very fast. He changes many people's lives.

Author: mysta02 ( from Canada
15 March 2006

A Gentleman's Game is a great movie. If you've ever thought of golfing, but have never done it, watch this film and you'll stop putting it off. I did! This film has a lot of swearing, but very little else in the way of offensive content. It has some really great lessons to teach, and lays them out in a very intriguing plot. The acting is very well done, as is the story, and everything comes together really well. About the only other thing that needs to be said for this movie is that you should see it if you haven't already. You won't regret it. And, likely, you'll see it again after that too. The special features aren't anything special though, which is pretty good, seeing as that's the only bad thing i can find to say about the movie. Haha. So, yep, that's about it. Enjoy the movie.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The Emotional Compelling Game of Golf

Author: tabuno from utah
19 November 2005

This small movie does big things in an indirect way around the game of golf. Unlike most sports games, this movie isn't about the competition or tournament of golf, but the backstory of golf. Timmy, an adolescent son of a country golf club member, gets an opportunity to experience the game of golf from the inside. He also gets an opportunity to learn from a former amateur champion (played by Gary Sinise). The brief vignettes of Timmy's experiences in a number of difficult situations as well as his tentative associate with a girl named Molly is performed without flair, over-wrought drama. This insightful, experiential, unpretentious sports movie about a boy growing up to find meaning in playing golf is a wonderful, entertaining, and rewarding movie.

While it doesn't attempt to reach the moon, change the world, probe into the depths of the soul, it manages to hit the meaningful level of what living may be about without causing mental headaches, epic dramas, nor lavish designs of grandeur or sharply created realism. In short, A Gentleman's Game is accomplished in a Gentlemen's Approach of the Twenty-First Century - a contemporary narrative look at a old established sport from the inside. Eight out of Ten Stars.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

One of the better films I've seen lately.

Author: TxMike from Houston, Tx, USA, Earth
1 December 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Much like "legend of Bagger Vance" did, "A Gentleman's Game" uses golf as a metaphor for life. I wrote in my review of the former, "... what is important is the message that one must find and keep your innate "swing", your soul, to be happy." Here, the message is that one must find his "balance". That is illustrated by the washed-up Amateur champ when he tells the kid, "here, bind your feet together and then hit a ball." When the kid did, he fell over. He had swung too hard, he could not keep his balance. Playing golf was not about winning trophies so that you could show your friends. Golf is only a game, it is not life. That message can be applied to any sport or any obsession, not just golf.

MAJOR SPOILER - The washed-up golfer (Gary Sinise, in a nice role) had mysteriously given up golf right after he won the US Amateur tournament, and driving home from Florida his car had veered off the road into a tree. Only now, years later, did he explain to the boy, "I started the last hole with a Titlist One, and I finished with a Titlist Three, I couldn't find my ball in the tall grass, I dropped another, and won the tournament by one stroke. On the way home I wanted to kill myself." At the end of the film we see him packing up the trophy, intent on bringing it to the true winner that day, the golfer that had finished second.

So, the only lesson he gave the boy was "keep everything in balance." That's the only lesson most of us need. The film did a good job of showing the class distinction within private clubs, the rich may be bad golfers and cheats, but they still are the rich. And the caddies, the "loupers", are the lowest of the low. "Here, throw this orange peel away for me."

It is unfortunate that the director/writer decided to put so much foul language in it. True, country club members probably talk that way, but toning it down to give a PG-13 rating would have been a lot better for the film, and the potential viewers.

The DVD is very nice, the picture transfer is very good. It also has one of the better extras, which shows the process from conception to final film, including how actors were chosen, scouting locations, making a shooting schedule, securing financing, and some interviews and glimpses into the actual shooting.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Gentleman's Game is a movie that everybody will want to see and I highly recommend it.

Author: jskhockey2-1 ( from Philadelphia Pennsylvania
1 June 2002

A Gentleman's Game is a very well done movie. Mason Gamble was the perfect part for this movie and it can't get much better with Gary Sinise playing the part of Foster Pearse. Dylan Baker doesn't get as much credit as he deserves I have watched a lot of the movies he has appeared in and to me Dylan is an Upcoming Star! I don't play golf at all. But seeing this movie both makes me want to play and tells me everything you would need to know about it. I give A Gentleman's Game a score of 10/10. I hope all of you will be renting this movie as soon as it comes out and make it a big hit in the top movie rentals. Thanks.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Simple in content, yet worth every frame

Author: wonka from California
26 May 2002

I golf, poorly and infrequently, but I tell people I golf. Gentleman's Game is not about golf. It is about family relationships and coming of age. The cast is exceptional and the plot simple, but with plenty of heart. My hope is that this movie will be seen by everyone, not just people who enjoy golf. I think that the positive word of mouth will make this a video store jewel.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Very Good Movie

Author: bodeenc from USA
24 May 2002

Liked this movie very much. Not just a golf film. Has a lot of good messages about life. My husband also enjoyed it and did like the golf story in it. Well acted by all involved. I recommend it for men and women. A little language, but made movie real world.

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