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Tailor-made for family viewing,Madisonis the kind of decent, all-ages movie that's all too rare these days, and that alone makes it a pleasant alternative to Disney and Pixar hits. And while this barely factual drama plays fast and loose with actual historical details in the sport of hydroplane racing, it's a rousing (if utterly conventional) tale of underdogs under pressure--a boat racer's version ofHoosiers, if you will. Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) stars as Jim McCormick, who drove the Miss Madison hydroplane to unlikely victory in the 1971 Gold Cup race in Madison, Indiana, where low morale and failing economy created a strong need for local heroes. It's a predictable movie in every way, with a heavy-handed screenplay and direction that's nothing if not earnest, but Caviezel's reliable as always, and the capable supporting cast includes Mary McCormack, Bruce Dern, and Jake Lloyd (fromStar Wars: Episode I). Best of all, the recreations of early '70s-vintage hydroplane races are guaranteed to please devotees of the sport and anyone with a cinematic need for speed.--Jeff Shannon
Great Movie,Great Acting I loved this movie,i knew nothing about the boat racing,only picked it because of the starring actor James Caviezel, that i also love.So,i had no preconceived notions about it other than the actors.As it turned out,it was worth it,and the songs played in the movie,brought back memories of a time for us all who lived back then.Only wish i could find the soundtrack or a list of the pop songs that were played??!!But be warned,there isn't much cussing or sex,so you will have to enjoy it for it's merits,like great acting,great story line,true or not,and the action and entertainment value..all of which get an a+ from me.
WHY WASTE THE MONEY! There goes 2 hours of my life, flushed. It was so pointless, what is the purpose of racing a boat around a circle, for 50 grand. A tragic story, the boat blows up a 100 times, but they win in the end. THE END GOOD OLD-FASHIONED STORY-TELLING WITH STRONG PRODUCTION VALUES Unlimited hydroplane boat racing may not be the most exciting sport in the world, unless you're from Madison, Indiana, where the sport was born - then it's everything. The town even owns its own boat, the Miss Madison. But she's on her last leg and has become the laughing stock of the racing circuit, much to the unhappiness of ten-year-old Mike McCormick - played by Jake Lloyd - who is just now getting to travel with the team. As the racing commission prepares to kick Madison off the circuit so a more lucrative team can join, the luck of the draw gives Madison the opportunity to save face and their place on the circuit by hosting the 1971 Gold Cup Championship. But it means coming up with the $50,000 prize money, getting their boat in shape, and finding a new driver. Can they do it?
It looks pretty hopeless to Mike, whose dad, Jim McCormick - played by Jim Caviezel (I Am David, Count of Monte Cristo, Passion of the Christ) - used to be a driver. But he was injured in an accident in which his best friend died and, since then, has contented himself with just being a part of the team. Now, as the town prepares for the Gold Cup, the driver they thought they had lined up is killed in another race. Jim sees no other way but for him to climb back into the cockpit, much to the chagrin of his wife - played by Mary McCormack - and everyone else's better judgment. Will he follow the same fate as his friend and the previous driver?
There are a lot of similarities between Madison and other small-town-Indiana sports films - like Hoosers and Breaking Away. (Paul Dooley played the father in that film, and plays the mayor in this one.) William Bindley directed and co-wrote Madison with his brother, Scott, and the result is a family film with a strong message about hope-in-the-face-of-hopelessness and high production values. Jim Caviezel gives his usual solid performance, as does most of the cast. There are memorable highlights, like the team stealing a World War II engine out of an antique plane on display in front of a nearby town's courthouse; a man-to-man talk disguised as a fishing trip between Mike and an old family friend - played wonderfully against type by Bruce Dern; and a great reenactment of ABC's Wide World of Sports covering the Gold Cup race. The boat racing is well filmed with a certain amount of excitement, especially in the flashback sequence.
But there is something missing. Even though the stakes are high for both Madison and Jim McCormick, when it's time for the big race, I'm not on the edge of my seat. Whatever is not working has to do with the script, and that one element keeps it from being a five-star film for me. It may just be too tame; or maybe boat racing is hard for non-adherents to get excited about; or perhaps the threat of death (the real antagonist) doesn't seem great enough. Much like another Jim Caviezel sports film project, Stroke of Genius, there is nothing outstanding here. However, it is good, old-fashioned storytelling with strong production values - and that's worth a lot.