A Gentleman's Game (2002) Poster

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Excellent little movie doomed to commercial failure by an R rating
Scoopy29 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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A gentleman and a scholar
jotix1001 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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Artfully, Subtly Portrayed Coming of Age Movie
magica80805 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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Good Book, Waste of Film.
mister_k30 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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A boy begins caddying and golfing, and in the process becomes very good, very fast. He changes many people's lives.
mysta0215 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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One of the better films I've seen lately.
TxMike1 December 2002
Warning: 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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Had potential, but a little too scatter-brained
davewebb-120 July 2004
"A Gentleman's Game" uses the game of golf in a country club setting to illustrate an adolescent's discovery about honesty, prejudice, and other life lessons. Several times I thought I knew where this film was heading, only to be proved wrong. Unfortunately, I'm not so sure that the filmmakers ever knew where it was heading, either. The defining moment in this movie is probably the scene in which Gary Sinise mocks "The Karate Kid" and debunks any notions that he's going to become a mentor to the adolescent golfer. It's refreshing, in a way, that this movie refuses to follow most of the simplistic and over-worked movie formulas. However, too much of it still comes off as contrived. At the drop of a hat people drop all pretenses of civility, or fail to stick up for the things in which they believe, or are exposed for something far less respectable than their place in society assumes. Unfortunately, there is often no resolution to these moments. And except for the fact that the club serves as backdrop for them, there is no real continuity or linking of them. It's a shame that the writers and director could not salvage a better film, especially given some of the talented actors and potential in the setup.
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Golf provides an outlet for a coming of age teenager.
acearms23 March 2004
This was one of the better movies I've seen in sometime and the first I've seen Mason Gamble in. Gary Sinise has been a favorite of mine for many years. The chemistry between the two was great. Timmy, Mason Gamble, is determined to be the best golfer around only to find out that one of the all time greats, Forest, Gary Sinise, resigned from the game because of a problem with his conscience. Forest gives instruction to Timmy on the right moves and helps him to understand that the game is to be played for the fun of it, not just to collect a bunch of trophies. Timmy is faced with adult situations, when he sees one of the ace club members make a error who refuses to take the penalty. And again when it comes out that Timmy's friend Jamie is found to of been molested by the club president, all of which is hushed up. Timmy takes the right stand on the issues and comes out the hero he is, while Forest corrects the mistake he made years ago that caused him heart ache for many years. A tremendous story that will hold your attention if you like the game of golf and care even a little bit about a teenager doing the right thing. The acting was outstanding all around and the movie well worth the time to watch. I might again. 8/10
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A Gentleman's Game is a movie that everybody will want to see and I highly recommend it.
jskhockey2-11 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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Simple in content, yet worth every frame
mshultz926 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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Very Good Movie
bodeenc24 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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This isn't for golfers, it's for movie-lovers.
letterbox20 May 2002
I am not a golfer. I don't enjoy watching golf. I don't enjoy talking about golf, and until yesterday, I didn't enjoy seeing movies about golf.

What "Gentleman's Game" showed me was that the subject isn't always the motivator and pinnacle of the film's heart. The characters and the writing is what makes this piece work and sustain my interest.

This was a very well made film with a strong cast that should be viewed by a larger audience. Gary Sinise isn't the star, but he has a good role in this film. The star is Mason Gamble, best known as "Dennis the Menace". He will be someone to watch as he grows into his acting abilities even more in the future. Mason has a strong command of the screen and is self-aware as to his presence there. (Trivia...his first role was in "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray, whose brother Brian Doyle-Murray costars in this film. Mason was also in Rushmore, again with Bill Murray.)

Dylan Baker is wonderful and understated, and Phillip Baker Hall spews country-club snobbery and hatred.

First rate cast, strong direction from a first-time director (who co-wrote) and a glossy appearance all help this film be elevated from so many out there and stand out as a wonderful little story. Nothing massive happens, just life, which is massive enough.
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GG is a good movie about golf that the family can enjoy
gmalav58771 May 2002
This really is a great little golf movie. Based on a novel by Tom Coyne Gentleman's Game picks up where Caddy Shack leaves off and doesn't go near Tin Cup or Baggar Vance for being pretentious.

The story revolves around Mason Gamble who plays Timmy Price, a young gifted golfer who is the focus of everyone's attention. Timmy's father, played by Kevin Thomas, will do everything in his power to get Timmy the right breaks.

From joining an exclusive country club, to pushing son Timmy to caddy at the elite Fox Chase Country Club to seeking the reclusive Foster Pierce, played by Gary Sinise, to groom young Timmy for the upcoming tournament it's all about the game.

Along the way Timmy and we discover the splendor of young love, the love of a father for a son and how a young man's search for excellence helps bring the withdrawn Foster Pierce back to the reality and self respect that he has run from.

Throw in Brian Doyle Murray's character, Tomato Face, that runs the caddy shack, a dark secret that the country club elite try to hide and a surprise confrontation between a black club pro and the elder patriarch of Fox Chase and you have a great story.

I don't golf but enjoyed this movie thoroughly and would recommend it to anyone who has a love of the game or a love of life.
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All over the place
Insp. Clouzot22 January 2003
There is no storyline. There is not one story but many and none of them is taken to a satisfying conclusion.

Frustrating : many good ideas potentially. The end result is a mess (ie not a documentary, not a film about golf, not a film about the relationship between the 2 main characters, not a father and son story...).

My vote : 5 / 10.
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Race card ruined a good movie
jdelunausa3 April 2014
We enjoyed the movie until the writer decided to make the White members into stereotypical racist and ignorant snobs. And depicting the caddies and low lives was also in poor taste. I don't golf and I don't belong to a Private club. Many of my customer do. They are successful in their business lives and chose to join golf clubs to play on better courses. They also want a nice place to take their families to. My older brother, who is a Physician, has belonged to his club for over thirty years. We have been invited to join his family on numerous occasions for special dinners and events (not golf). I found the members to be overly friendly and of good character. If you chose to watch this film and keep in mind that none of the characters are real. None of what you see actually happened except in the mind of the Writer. The writer made up the characters and the story line. If I knew it was a hit piece on White people, I would have passed. I'm surprised Gary signed on to do this film.
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A Feel Good Movie
wranksf17 June 2002
As a fan of sport's films, I was really excited to see `A Gentleman's Game.' Although the movie revolves around golf, it's really more of a coming of age film.

Mason Gamble, who was so good in `Rushmore,' plays Timmy Price, a good kid who seems to have a talent for golf. He becomes a caddy at the snotty, local country club, and he soon learns rich people know nothing about being `gentlemen.' Soon, Timmy becomes a really great golfer, and he even surpasses the kid he emulates, the great Miles Dane. Miles Dane is a rich kid with a perfect swing, however, when it comes to class, Timmy proves that although he may not have the same kind of money as Miles and his finicky dad, he sure has a lot more class.

`A Gentleman's Game' is more in the lines of `Stand by Me' than, say, `The Bad News Bears.' It's an enjoyable film, the golf scenes are shot very well, and there is a surprise at the end. You'll like `A Gentleman's Game' even if you don't like golf. What I found to be really interesting is the kid who played Miles Dane had one hell of a good swing for such a young kid. I wouldn't be surprised if he was some kind of future golf pro.
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It doesn't follow the usual movies' patterns.
Alien-3930 October 2004
I bought this on DVD (actually there isn't any other way to see this). As I expected the DVD turned out to be without region protection, despite the information in most of on-line stores where's written 'region 1'.

About the movie, it turned out to be a very good movie. It is done unlike other movies you can see these days. The makers have putted a piece of creativity into it. It doesn't follow the regular movies' patterns and that's what I liked into it. After you'v seen hundreds of movies with a very common features you'll be happy to see something different, something new.

The transaction between most of scenes seems a bit chaotic, but it has a very specific order if you look carefully. Until i was watching it somehow reminded me a bit for '21 Grams', where the scenes and the plot were like a puzzle. Absolutely chaotic, but this one isn't like a puzzle. It's got very good soundtrack by the way.

I liked the performances by the actors in the cast, but i was amazed by Mason Gamble's performance. I'v seen him only in 'Dennis The Menace'. He certainly has a future as an adult actor.
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Great Movie, Well Worth A Watch And I Hate Golf!
jake-skippy4 May 2005
I brought this movie on DVD not really knowing what to expect but I wanted to watch something different and when i saw Mason gamble was in it with Gary Sinise I had to watch. Now I cant stand golf, don't play it and have no interest in it! The only birdies I know are in the tree's, Anyways Its a great movie. The back drop of golf and growing with Mason from a no hoper (golfer) into someone with fantastic ability and the leasons he learned in life along the way,His friendship with Gary's character was so well done. The soundtrack is fantastic, In all I really enjoyed it. If your like me you cant stand golf and your not sure, just watch it you will love it!! believe!! It's easily Mason's best work and hopefully we will see more of him in the future.
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Lame but harmless waste of time
nospam-154 September 2002
At least it's not full of sensless violence or fluff. It's also not very full of thought or a smooth storyline. This story had some potential but the director appears to have lost site of the green. The story is disjointed and goes off in strange

directions, to no conclusion. I also don't believe the director spent much time around a golf country club, either. Some of the depictions are absurd. Not very engaging.
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Bagger Vance it ain't
George Parker18 May 2004
"A Gentleman's Game" is all about a teen boy with a natural golf swing who caddies for a country club and learns there's more to life than golf (duh). This lame little coming-of-age flick is packed with lessons in life such as don't bury your guns in sand traps or it's okay not to swim with half naked babes or don't believe old drunk guys. Although this film's heart is in the right place, I'm not sure its director was. A jumbled, messy indie which never quite coagulates, "A Gentleman's Game" has so much golf stuff in it that it would probably be more enjoyable for those who know something about the game. Personally, I thought the film was much like the game; slow moving and boring. (C)
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brian-milligan15 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
the only word i can think of to describe this movie is: Ordinary.

The plot line about Gary sinise's character attempting suicide is a ridiculous premise and c'mon..living as some sort Salingeristic hermit or recluse in a shack driving golf balls into the ocean because he couldn't handle life in the lucrative pro/am golf community? cry me a river. I wish these were my problems. I do enjoy Dylan Baker and Sinise but this movie was clearly a bad choice or a pay check for Sinise. The scene in which little Timmy Price gets verbally abused by the other club member in front of his father during the tournament is so over the top that i am embarrassed to watch it
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Worth watching
cptfrancis214 November 2002
What a movie. This movie really captures the life of the other side of golfers. It really shows how the country club atmosphere is really like. With all the behind closed doors look and what really happens to the classic scene where Timmy confronts a member on cheating. The movie really hits a chord. It shows how golf is an exit from the real world and how the country club way of life sometimes isn't as it cuts up to be. It's sort if you took Caddy shack and minus all the comedy from it. Then you would have the more serious and grimmer look that A Gentleman's Game takes on the private world of country clubs. Bottom line this is a movie worth giving a chance.
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Unfulfilled potential
FlickJunkie-218 September 2002
This is not really a film about golf, but a film about life with golf as the backdrop. Therein lies the problem. First time director J. Mills Goodloe can't seem to choose where he wants to go with the story and it meanders aimlessly from storyline to storyline in an attempt to give it a coming-of-age flavor.

He would have been better to concentrate on Timmy (Mason Gamble) and his relationship with Foster (Gary Sinise) in his quest to improve his golf game. This is clearly the best and most interesting element of the story. Instead he flits about following Timmy's relationship with the other loopers, his infatuation with the beverage girl and the happenings at various club events. The relationship between Timmy and Foster, never really gets much traction until the final scene and even then the validation is delivered via a letter rather than a face to face encounter, which would have made it poignant and satisfying.

The acting by Mason Gamble and Gary Sinise is excellent. They have good chemistry and it is clear they connect. Gamble gives a very steady performance throughout and gives the character a naive charm and steely resolve that are extremely engaging. Sinise plays a stolid and standoffish character harboring a terrible secret and bitter disappointment. His understated performance is a perfect fit for this complex character whose cavalier nature hides deeper turmoil. The rest of the cast is simply terrible. Dylan Baker is horrible as Timmy's dad. Phillip Baker Hall is awful as the two faced Charlie Logan.

This film had great potential that was never realized. I rated it 5/10. It should have stayed with the golf story rather than dissipate itself on the other less interesting elements.
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