Billy Elliot (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The recipe: while still a lad, Rocky Balboa drops out of boxing, decides to challenge Nureyev instead of Apollo Creed.

Males over 45 rated this much lower than the other demographic groups. They voted it a solid but unspectacular 7.6. (Teenage girls vote it 9.5!). I pretty much agree with the assessment of my contemporaries. It was an OK movie, but I'll be darned if I can understand why people think this is one of the best 250 or all time, or why this guy got a Best Director nomination instead of Cameron Crowe.

This movie is the official British #3 formula picture 

Formula #1: quaint historical Empire pictures where everyone says "I do so think it ever so very much, my dear sir" every other sentence.

Formula #2: "Lock, Stock, and _____ Smoking Barrels"


Formula #3: Take a small town in the U.K., beset by hardship, where somebody in that town wants to do something different from the norm.  Maybe they want to play the flugelhorn, or grow cocaine, or run a male strip show, or leave boxing to learn how to quilt .....

Set up some forces opposed to them - mine owners, small-minded yokels, unaccepting fathers  ....

Have the common folk rally behind them because their peculiarity is just part of the infinite variety of life ...

In this case, they stretched the credibility a bit too far at the end of the film. Of course, it was to be expected that the hardcase father would eventually accept his son's desire to dance. All of us who are fathers know that we have to accept that our kids aren't exactly like us. It is not credible, however,  that the father was willing to break a strike, was willing to become a scab, to finance the kid's dancing career. You know the drill, you'll do almost anything to help your kids, even if your son wants to be the world's quilting and macramé champion, but you won't violate your principles to finance it. Would you rob a bank or vote against your conscience for your kid's macramé career? Doubtful.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • "making of" featurette

Anyway, this whole movie was just a bit too manufactured and too familiar for my taste.

I sure hope that there is more hope in those small towns in the U.K. than we see in these movies. If economic times get too hard, they can always attract tourists by advertising the strip shows, little old ladies growing dope, and policemen getting naked in public.

And then those eccentrics can show the rest of the small-minded villagers that life is more than boxing, mining, and drinking, and soon all of the United Kingdom will be pirouetting and growing dope and quilting.

Of course, that will reduce the number of tourists that come to see the quaint hardship.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 88% positive overall, 84% from the top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 8.2. (top 250 of all time)
  • With their dollars ... it wasn't a smash, hit, but it took in $21 million domestic and a tremendous £17 million in the U.K. - about equivalent to a hundred million dollar picture in the USA. The USA number was impressive, inasmuch as the film never hit more than 510 screens. It managed to find its targeted audience.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. It is a good example of the "Great Britain Type 3" genre.

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