Two movies, two thumbs-up

We caught two of the recent movie releases and can give them both a thumbs-up. They are two very different movies – “Blade Runner 2049” and “The Battle of the Sexes.”

“Blade Runner 2049” is a sequel of a cult classic movie with Harrison Ford. It was a dark futuristic movie and the sequel does justice to the original. Ryan Gosling and Robin Wright star along with Ford, but the other supporting roles add greatly to the movie, especially Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Mackenzie Davis and Jared Leto. If you did not like the first Blade Runner, you won’t like this one. But, it does have a good plot and theme. I would add what seemed so science fiction when the first movie was made in the early 1980s, seems less so now, which is a little unsettling.

Gosling plays his role quite well as does Hoeks. De Armas’ role is quite interesting too, and she is ideally suited for it. I will try to stay away from further reveals, but encourage you to watch it. Some have called the movie sexist given some of the roles. I understand their point and would agree that parts of the movie are. I would counter that Wright and Hoeks have a lot of screen time and play key roles, so I will let you be the overall judge.

“The Battle of the Sexes” is about the lead up to the famous tennis match between former men’s champion Bobby Riggs and current women’s champion and advocate for women, Billie Jean King. Riggs was a renowned hustler who loved to gamble in conflict with his wealthy wife’s wishes. At the age of 55, he saw a chance to make money by challenging King, who initially turned him down.

King knew Riggs for what he was, a showman, and she was deep in the middle of the start of the women’s tennis circuit called the “Virginia Slims circuit” when they boycotted the USTA for the much smaller money being paid to women. Riggs did find another opponent in Margaret Court, who was married with one child, playing her on Mother’s Day. Although, the current number one player, Court was not prepared to play that day (and greatly underestimated the situation) and Riggs easily beat her, which drew a match with King.

I remember this national prime time match between King and Riggs, so the movie brought back a lot of memories. The other key subplot is King was dealing with her own Lesbianism which began to manifest itself during the Virginia Slims tour. To say, she was conflicted at this crucial time is an understatement. Her husband Larry stood by her for awhile, but to see his angst through this is also important, as she loved him and respected his input and support.

The movie stars Emma Stone as King and Steve Carell as Riggs. Sarah Silverman, Alan Cumming, Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, Bill Pullman and Austin Stowell also play key roles. Stone and Carell are excellent in their roles. Cumming, though, eats up the screen with his role, in my view.

Check them both out. Let me know what you think. Is Blade Runner too sexist? Do you remember the King/ Riggs’ match?


10 thoughts on “Two movies, two thumbs-up

  1. By the way, Riggs and King were close friends and she knew exactly what he was doing and went along because she thought it would help her cause — which it did! He was a showman, but also had his tongue in his cheek much of the time.

    • Hugh, I saw an interview with King and she said they remained friends until he died. Riggs was all show, so his male chauvinism was purposefully over the top. Did you ever meet either in your tennis coaching days?


      • No. I never met either of them. But I have always been a fan of Billy Jean who is a very strong presence in tennis and has helped women’s tennis beyond measure. R
        iggs was putting us all on. He was the original hustler.

      • Hugh, it is my understanding the better players who turned pro in Riggs’ time we’re not allowed to play in the big four championships. So, they often hustled or played small matches to earn money. I wonder if this is where Riggs got the knack. Keith

  2. Three good movie reviews… well probably see them all on the small screen, except maybe Blade Runner… that might be worth seeing in a theater. I’ll have to rent the first one though since it’s been a long time and I’ve forgotten a lot of the plot. I certainly remember that tennis match. I also remember thinking that it was a bit over the top, but fun.

    • Janis, per Hugh’s comment, I think Riggs wanted it over the top to make money. The first Blade Runner is better, but mainly because of the excellent actors and story being so different for its time. Plus, the music gave it a unique flavor. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: One of the things the King/ Riggs movie reminded me of is how unsuspecting Margaret Court was in her match with Riggs. She was every bit as good as King, but she was psyched out by Riggs, who was every bit the hustler. I think Court’s losing ticked off King and she had her husband reach out to Riggs that night. But, she said I have to agree to everything. Keith

  4. I’m putting ‘The Battle of the Sexes’ on my movie viewing list. I barely remember the hubbub back in the day, but the story and issues may be even more interesting with hindsight. Thanks for the reviews, Keith.

    • JoAnn, I believe it is, particularly, since we did not know about Billie Jean King’s sexual inclination. So, it shows the inner angst of a fledgling tour, her extramarital affair, her lesbianism, and also Bobby Riggs. We just knew about the new tour and Riggs. Keith

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