Tuesday, July 29, 2014

oddball movie: yesterday's hero

I've always been a fan of Ian McShane, so thought I'd give one of his movies on Netflix a try, Yesterday's Hero. The story of an almost washed-up soccer player, it seemed appropriate viewing after the recent World Cup. And it sort of was. Half of the time. A film with bit of a split personality, Yesterday's Hero is half thoughtful portrait of an aging, boozing athlete, and the other half a Suzanne Somers (at the height of her Three's Company fame) vanity musical. The two halves never really work convincingly together, and one wonders why anyone thought they might in the first place.

"Goal!" McShane and friends on the field

McShane plays Rod Turner, an alcoholic soccer player who knows that the end of his career is nigh (his father, Harry McShane, actually played soccer for Manchester United). He has hopes of playing for an American team, but his only real offer comes from a rock star named Clint Simon (Paul Nicholas) who also is the owner of a team called the Saints. Clint also seems to have a platonic relationship with a singer named Cloudy (?!), played by Somers. They are inseparable, and Clint is obviously in love with her, but Cloudy keeps him inexplicably at arm's length. Cloudy also had a fling with Rod many years previously, but he flew the coop before things could get serious. British pop idol Adam Faith plays the Saints' manager, who also has a thing for Cloudy and has it in for Rod. Blah blah blah, etc. The disjointed narrative was written for the screen by Jackie Collins.

McShane is always a pleasure to watch, and his scenes are, for the most part, done realistically. The movie takes a really strange turn by inserting multiple musical numbers (but only of two songs) featuring Somers and Nicholas dueting. Always shot from a perplexingly low angle, and involving some really herky-jerky attempts at dancing, they are not quite terrible enough to qualify for "so bad it's good" status, but just seem to fall in the bad camp. I guess they weren't bad enough to make me turn Yesterday's Hero off completely. Watching McShane, and whether he could kick the sauce and kick the winning goal, kept me tuned in for its 95 minutes.


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