Three words: Do I care?
Since most of the big names in sports history have already been the subject of feature films or television movies, cockroaches of the film industry like Steve ("Hoop Dreams") James are slinking around in the cracks of old copies of Sports Illustrated, looking for that forgotten figure who will pique everybody's curiosity. Their mistaken assumption: Though moviegoers didn't hear about the guy when he was alive, they're sure to care about him now that he's dead.
Steve Prefontaine's (Jared Leto) athletic claim to fame is even less impressive than Tonya Harding's: He finished fourth in a running event at the 1972 Olympics. I couldn't even precisely tell you which running event, because no sports statistic book its right mind ever lists who finished fourth.
Given that embarrassing limitation, this movie is forced to spend a lot of time focused on the other events that marked Prefontaine's life. We follow him as he sets various running records, wins the NCAA title, develops precedents for track and field athletes, and lends inspiration to the Nike shoe company. Sound interesting? Then put on some silky shorts and join the track team, because it bores the rest of us silly. What did Prefontaine actually do with his life? He ran around in a big circle, boring thousands, if not dozens, in the process. Given that, this dull, meandering movie is actually a fitting tribute.
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