Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On the Edge and Without Limits

I've recently been able to locate a copy of On The Edge and Without Limits, two hard to find DVDs.

On The Edge was a nice find of an older movie. The running itself was actually done by the actors so we see exactly what is going on rather than some edited excerpts of some lame actor attempting to look their best as someone spritzes them with a water bottle. That is the magic of this movie. Real actors, real runners, and a real race. The race itself isn't the exact Dipsea race in the Bay Area, since theatrical elements had to win over at some point, but for the most part we get to see the runners run the historic Dipsea race. A well made movie that actually puts you in the moment and makes you feel what those runners were feeling. In fact I couldn't wait to run after that.

The other was Without Limits, a film put out in the late 90s, that follows Prefontaine's brief but action packed career. Seeing him at his cross country meet in high school brought back fond memories of my cross country experience in high school, so I was hooked right away. I had actually not known anything about Prefontaine before I watched this, so I was fascinated and enthralled throughout the movie. Watching Prefontaine at his various University of Oregon meets, or his Olympic trials or the actual Olympics. It was a shame that such a talented person passed away at the age of 24. Very well made movie that had me on the edge of my seat cheering the whole time. Definite recommend.

An interesting correlation between the two films was the battle that both main characters had with the AAU, or the Amateur Athletics Union, which took certain rights while forbidding the athletes from doing the same. In On the Edge the main character, acted by Bruce Dern, took a stand against the AAU and was ultimately banned from amateur athletic events, such as the Olympics and so on. No worries, no spoiler here as this is all part of the background story to the movie. Prefontaine also took a strong stance against the AAU which ultimately led to its overthrow in 1978, three years after his death.

Check out your local library and see if they have a copy. I found both of these there, and was even able to request Without Limits brought in from another branch. They are both definitely worth it. If anyone else knows of other running movies please let me know. I would love to watch more.

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