Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Seven Days in Utopia

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:G
Profanity:Crude insult
Nudity/Sex:Kissing taken very seriously
Alcohol/Drugs:Some social drinking, references to alcohol abuse
Violence/Scariness:Tense family confrontations, car accident with minor injury
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:September 2, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 29. 2011

Sports psychologist David L. Cook wrote a book called Seven Days in Utopia: Golf’s Sacred Journey about a young golfer who runs away after a meltdown at a big tournament, gets stuck in a small town, and meets a mentor who was once a champion and teaches him important lessons that he takes with him back to the next competition.

Doesn’t that sound a lot like Cars?

It’s still a good story.  And I give Cook and co-writer/director Matthew Dean Russell credit for avoiding some of the usual sports-as-metaphor details.  They refrained from making their main character spoiled or hot-headed.  Even more unusually, they refrained from making his father a monster.  Both are well-intentioned but misguided.  This eliminates the easiest routes to dramatic intensity but demonstrates a confidence in the characters that is most welcome.  It would be too much to say that adds subtlety to the story.  This story is not subtle in any way; its biggest failing is that it does not trust its audience enough.  It hammers its points home and then does it a few more times, and then a few more, just to make sure.  If only the filmmakers had trusted their audience as much as the movie’s teacher trusts his student.

Lucas Black (“Cold Mountain,” “Friday Night Lights“), who co-produced, plays Luke Chislom, a young golfer who has been driven all his life by his father.  When they get into an argument on a crucial shot in an important competition, Luke’s father walks off the course and Luke snaps his club in half and runs away.

Swerving to avoid a cow in the road, Luke crashes his car into a fence in the small town of Utopia, Texas.  While the car is being repaired, a local rancher named Johnny Crawford (Robert Duvall) offers to give him some golf lessons to help him “find his game.”  In true Mr. Miyagi “wax on, wax off” fashion, many of these lessons do not involve hitting a golf ball with a golf club.  They are lessons about focus, faith, patience, confidence, and grace.  They have Luke pitching washers, taking the controls of a plane, painting a picture, and literally burying the lies that hold him back.  And there’s a pretty girl in town who is training to be horse whisperer and seems to know something about whispering golfers as well.

Black is an engaging performer and he and Duvall have an easy, natural quality together and many scenes have a refreshingly quiet quality, not so much of volume but from a spirit of humility and sincerity.  Luke is a good kid, open to learning but not naive, and the film will reward those who are willing to give it a chance.

Parents should know that this film has tense family confrontations, a car accident with a minor injury, a crude insult, a reference to alcohol abuse, and character who struggles with shame and despair.

Family discussion: Why “find your game” instead of “improve your game?”  What was the most important lesson Johnny taught Luke?  Did Luke make the putt?  What lies will you bury?

If you like this, try: Seven Days in Utopia: Golf’s Sacred Journey by David L. Cook and “The Greatest Game Ever Played” — and check out Did He Make the Putt.



Previous Posts

Two Nights Only in Theaters: 60th Anniversary of "White Christmas"
The 60th anniversary of one of the most beloved movies in history is coming up, and so you will have a chance to see "White Christmas" in theaters for just two nights, December 14-15, 2014. This is you

posted 8:00:13am Nov. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Johnny Cash's Thanksgiving Song
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuaC6h_4AB8[/youtube]

posted 12:00:11pm Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NSQLMPUK-8[/youtube] All my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to all, and please know how thankful I am for the time you spend here.

posted 7:00:00am Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Claire LaZebnik's Thoughts on Thanks
I can't think of a better way to start Thanksgiving weekend than taking a few minutes to read my friend Claire LaZebnik's wise and inspiring essay on gratitude. This most American of holidays is often accompanied by stress -- from hosting and being hosted, from traveling, from family. Claire write

posted 9:39:41am Nov. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Horrible Bosses 2
Maybe it's just the proximity to the horrible "Dumb and Dumber To," but the cheerily offensive "Horrible Bosses 2" made me laugh. Full warning -- it begins with an elaborate sight gag as our hapless he

posted 5:58:28pm Nov. 25, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.