Sports Movies: “Breaking Away” (1979)

Breaking Away 1979

No discussion of the best sports movies of all time is complete without including “Breaking Away,” the 1979 film that follows a young man who becomes obsessed with the sport of cycling. Dave Stohler (Dennis Christopher) lives in Bloomington, Indiana, and small college town that’s home to the Indiana University. He’s recently graduated from high school and spend most of his time either on his bike or hanging out with his three childhood friends, often swimming at the stone quarries. Mike (Dennis Quaid) is the angry ex-quarterback who hates being surrounded by the privileged college kids. Jackie Earle Haley plays Moocher the affable short guy while Cyril (Daniel Stern) is the lovable loser of the group.

The college kids call them “cutters” though they never actually worked in the mills that cut the limestone used to build the University. Their dads did that. Which brings us to the best character in this film, Dave’s father (Paul Dooley). Dave is driving his old man crazy. He hasn’t found a job, but even more annoyingly he’s become obsessed with Italian culture. His favorite cycling team is from Italy, so he’s started speaking Italian, playing opera music and calling his dad “papa.” Paul Dooley’s performance as Ray Stohler is easily one of the funniest dad (or “papa”) characters in film history, and this relationship helps drive story in the film. Barbara Barrie is also excellent as Dave’s mom Evelyn, providing a touch of tenderness and sanity to the family.

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Lance Armstrong criticizes Wall Street Journal using Twitter and Blog

A new case of Twitter becoming more powerful than we can possibly imagine (especially for those of you who imagine The Wall Street Journal Board of Directors as possible Sith Lords). Deadspin has the scoop:

Last month, Lance Armstrong boycotted the media, speaking directly to his fans in 140-character chunks. He tried to break the ban by writing a letter to The WSJ, but they “butchered it,” and instead, he printed it on his blog.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story June 10 about an alleged feud between Armstrong and Greg LeMond. Armstrong called the piece “sensational,” and not in the good way. He wrote a letter to the editor. The editor made some edits. Armstrong didn’t like the edits. He said the editor “removed the pertinent and topical parts. Frustrating.” I bet!

It’s interesting that Armstrong was able to post his own rebuttal of a major international newspaper using a form of communication as easily (if not more so) available as a newspaper. Power to the people on this one. It’s important everybody gets checked, and possibly called out, when things get a bit fudged. Of course, if The WSJ merits Lance Armstrong getting involved. My previous post may get me a gang of 200 pound 7th graders out for blood. Yeesh.

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