Tag Archives: olympian

Failed Romance: OLYMPIC DREAMS and PREMATURE

Nick Kroll and Alexi Pappas in Olympic Dreams. Image from Deadline.

Opposites attract, yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they belong together, or that they can be an easy fit. Here we have two movies which have had their all-too-brief NY run at the IFC during the month of February before disappearing altogether into the sea of streaming releases. The first one, proofreading words per hour watch teaching key words for essay questions example of a research article http://teacherswithoutborders.org/teach/mother-tongue-amy-tan-thesisv/21/ https://bonusfamilies.com/lecture/custom-writing-service/21/ buyessay https://thejeffreyfoundation.org/newsletter/presentation-templates/17/ how to write a homeless verification letter concept paper for thesis buy essays online for college thesis binding fforestfach 101 best resume sell yourself see url http://www.nationalnewstoday.com/medical/prednisone-taper-dose/2/ https://www.myrml.org/outreach/thesis-research-design-sample/42/ online paper writers see order genuine viagra online free sample resume for pharmacy technician tips for essay writing college source url learning case study go site introduction for an argumentative essay thesis cover page template word http://technology.swbts.edu/faculty/about-parents-essay/18/ college essay free one sample spend year definition essay outline get link free live homework help online purchase research paper Olympic Dreams, comes under the guise of what seems to be guerrilla film-making, with Jeremy Teicher sneaking his camera in and out of the 2018 Olympics at Pyeong Yang while his girlfriend Alexi Pappas, herself an accomplished athlete, plays a thin version of herself as a young cross-country skier named Penelope who’s a bit lost among her fellow athletes. We don’t exactly get what it is that is ailing her, only that she seems to be at a moment when she may collapse into a puddle of tears at the slightest provocation.

Into the mix comes Nick Kroll as a volunteer dentist named Ezra who provides sound advice to the young competitors he comes in touch with, while occasional mouthing off blurts of what seems to be a broken relationship with an unseen girlfriend that hovers over his frame like a dead weight he refuses to let go of. He comes across Penelope as she sits by herself in full wallflower regalia, and starts up some awkward conversation that goes exactly nowhere as she is focused on her sport. That they will meet later on is practically a given, but director Teicher meanders around he entire event as if capturing bits and pieces of the Winter Olympics, offering barely there slices of other stories which remain undeveloped for the sake of his central story.

Speaking of a story, Olympic Dreams goes by the way of blurring French New Wave sensibilities with a good amount of documentary-style narration in presenting through observation a budding romance between the progressively assertive Penelope and the progressively neurotic Ezra in an appropriate May-December romance. [Kroll is just north of 40, while Pappas is 30.] In short, nothing other than their meeting proper and ultimate clash of personalities takes place of note in Teicher’s little film which renders the movie rather superficial. It’s cute, with hints of the greater movie it might have been. With its sense of letting Kroll and Pappas (herself a newcomer in the acting world) perform through improvisation, you do get a feeling of authenticity. However, once the hour mark approaches, it does become a bit too meandering for its own good and in eschewing an escalating tension between the two leads in lieu of naturalism, one does start to wonder how will this all play out in a satisfying way.

Here we have a movie that will appeal audiences who love mumblecore. Personally, I have my misgivings with the genre. I find it too naturalistic for my own taste. Next to no effort is made to give the movie a stamp that might help it stand out on its own. Olympian Dreams has enough points to recommend it as a sort-of? romance that manages to overcome its own limitations but ultimately remains too slight to be memorable.

Credit: Chicago Indie Critics.

Faring better is Rashaad Ernesto Green’s sharp, incisive and poignant Premature, who transforms a tired old story of young love into something fresh and resonant. Ayanna (Zora Howard, who also wrote the screenplay and also manages to showcase her poetry in a smattering of introspective scenes) is a 17 year old high school student who carries herself with an aura of high ambition and intellect and enjoys a healthy, if at times slightly imperfect sisterhood with several girls of her Bronx neighborhood , most notably with Tenita (Alexis Maria Wint) and Shonte (Imani Lewis) while living with her single mother (Michelle Wilson), who treats her more as a friend than a daughter.

As it would happen, Ayanna crosses paths with Isaiah (Joshua Boone), an older, handsome guy who brings his own world of musical creativity into Ayanna’s world when he manages to successfully court her in a few build-up scenes fraught with sharp dialog and restrained desire. From here on, Both start a rather torrid affair that quickly–prematurely?–reaches its own high before the inevitable crash happens. Soon, both Ayanna is left questioning her own place alongside Joshua, and Joshua starts to wonder if perhaps Ayanna’s sudden diminishing might be a signal that they need a break.

Howard’s screenplay doesn’t go for obvious answers and prefers to tackle its premise from a realist point of view. In not making her heroine too confident and exposing her vulnerabilities that surface once she is head over heels for Joshua, Howard creates a complex young woman who may have to face some hard choices along the way when some unexpected events take place which may derail her future and leave her in limbo. Joshua is also just as complicated: he’s not the typical, commitment-phobe but someone who is also unsure of what might happen. His worldliness and ability to discuss the state of hip hop in a world where artists have sold out does not belie that he still has no idea who he truly is, or what he wants.

In his second picture, Green asserts himself in bringing yet another slice of life of the type of New Yorker that you rarely will see on film. His Premature is an intimate, gorgeous love letter into the lives of intelligent kids from the Bronx, full of lived-on moments, standout sequences (the first scene on the train crackles and could be its own musical), and wonderful introspection. This movie will stay with me for a while.

Both films are available on most streaming platforms (iTunes, Prime). Give them a try.