Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius

Bomb Rating: 

This is a curious film. There was virtually no publicity prior to its opening and the few screenings that did appear were sponsored by church groups or other Christian organizations. Is it possible that people are starting to think that Jim Caviezel is actually Jesus?

Underlying a fairly accurate portrait of the life of golfer Bobby Jones is the typically nostalgic and false theme of the past being superior to the present because things were simpler and nobility was possible. At one point in the film, journalist O.B. Keller (Malcolm McDowell) mutters to nobody in particular: "Money is going to ruin sports" and you can sort of hear the collective groans from the audience members who realize the translation of that phrase is actually: "Things were so much better when rich white guys played sports and could afford to thumb their nose at money."

This is precisely what the film is about: how Bobby Jones (Jim Caviezel) was such a noble guy for remaining an amateur his entire golfing career and winning the Grand Slam of golf anyway. The message for our time is essentially this: "Isn't it sad that so many athletes come from poor backgrounds and are interested in making millions of dollars instead of just loving the sport like Bobby Jones?" If you were especially suspicious of the motives of the filmmakers, that message for our time might read: "Those nig**** got it too good."

After Bobby Jones quit golf he founded Augusta National Golf Club, where white men play golf on one of the greatest courses in the world while black people carry their bags, serve their food, and women wait at the gate when they're done. Yes, the achievements of Bobby Jones, Jr. really do get one overflowing with nostalgia.

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