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Inspirational and entertaining, PREFONTAINE is another acclaimed success from the makers of HOOP DREAMS. It's the true-life story of legendary track star Steve Prefontaine, the exciting and sometimes controversial "James Dean of Track," whose spirit captured the heart of the nation! Cocky, charismatic, and tough, "Pre" was a running rebel who defied rules, pushed limits ... and smashed records ... in an incredible against-all-odds quest for Olympic gold! Now a major motion picture, the triumphs and heartbreaks of this unforgettable champion will have you riveted from beginning to end!
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However, I was not particularly fond of the overfocus on Pre as if he was the greatest of his time - a far cry from the truth. I did not care for the image defamation of Lasse Viren, who is depicted like the bad boy of Munich only because he is an introverted and quiet Finn and - let's face it - a better athlete than Prefontaine.
I guess the storyline tries to hypnotize the audience with Pre's feats in the US (that frankly were more of a show than an international athletic milestone), and in so doing, fails to remind it that there were legendary long-distance runners at that time from Tunisia to Finland. After all, Prefontaine never ranked in the top 10 list of 5000 or 10000 meter runners between 1970 and 1974! As digressing a question as this may sound for a film review, how come he did not compete in Munich's 10000 meter race (like Puttemans, Bedford, Gammoudi and Viren did)? His times were great... in the USA, but with the exception of Frank Shorter, American long distance runners have not made much of a name for themselves since 1970.
You want to make a long-distance runner movie? Make one about Lasse Viren winning the gold medal in the 10000 meters at Munich in world record time after falling down in the middle of the race!
Admittedly, the film's appeal is probably limited to those who are truly interested or inspired by the sport of running (or know someone who is). But athletes of all sports will enjoy Pre's story of defiance and heart. If you watch one of the two films, I'd see this one.
I thought the acting in this movie could have been much better. The principle actors were decent, but it was a long drop off to the secondaries as far as acting talent. I felt Leto was more brash, cocky and arrogant. In comparison to Crudup, it made me feel Pre was this way on many occasions more out of fear or a need to be arrogant, as opposed to true belief in himself. More like a prima donna.
Given that these are movies and not documentaries, I really don't care about the small ones such as how close a race was, etc. But would like to get the truth on the the bigger issues such as personal relationships, how he hurt his foot (there either were witnesses, or there were not), and how directly he was involved in the fight against the AAU. I liked the added details in Munich and his life after Munich, showing his continued successes. These details were great from an informational perspective, but it certainly made the direction seem choppy. Without input from Pre himself, so many aspects of his friendship and love life are skewed by the perspective of the person that is recounting it, and can be questioned in both movies. To observe it is to change it, as they say. I would certainly say if you asked for the story of my uneventful life from 2 different ex-girlfriends, you would probably get 2 completely different stories.
This movie seemed a little shallow in this area. It seemed like all it did to teach the audience about strategy and Pre's abilities was to say, "You are too slow to sprint, so you have to push the pace faster to make the kickers tired".Read more ›
This movie falls into the classic problematic sport movie dichotomy...ok sport scenes and horrible everything else. The races in Munich is the one real exciting scene in the movie. You feel like you are there and the movie does a good job at getting into the little known strategy behind long distance running.
The problem with this movie is that it fails everywhere else. The main character is doubly flawed- the actual charater is a problem as is the actor who portrays him. Steve Prefontaine is a self centered prick who is cold and distant. Besides this he is also completely one dimensional and most of the dialogue is cliched and boring. We get no insight into why he is such a great runner and all the non-sport scenes center on his shallow boring relationships or where he is going to proove himself next but nothing about what makes him tick. I quickly grew tired of Pre's continuing attempts to further himself in the sport becuase I cared little for his personal achievements since I didn't care for him. At the end when he turns down the big bucks for his dreams or racing the Finns we are supposed to feel empathy for him when his arch rival cancels, but by this time I was too bored to care. If you want to watch an uniteresting diluded ass for 2 hours than this is the movie for you.
The other problem dooming this movie is the poor cast. Jared Leto is a no talent hack who has no buisness attempting a leading role of this magnitude.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I may be only 18 years old, but I am fully aware of how spectuacular and god-like Steve Pre Fontaine was. I only heard of him before I saw this movie. Read morePublished on Oct. 20 2003 by Cally
Not having seen the other films on Steve Prefontaine's life, I can't make a comparison between them. But I can say that this film convinces me that A.E. Read morePublished on May 6 2003 by Deborah Earle
I saw this movie because I was in it - although you never actually see me. Because I saw it looking for myself, myself not visible in the film, I was disapointed. Read morePublished on April 25 2003 by Nathaniel Jones
You, Pre, have motivated me to get up at 6a and run.
Thank you so very much.
This is an excellent movie about possibly the greatest long-distance track runner in American history. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2003
This movie is great for those interested in running as a competitive sport. My prime running years developed during Prefontaine's peak years, so I was one of those keenly aware of... Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2002 by Randy Given