Sam Bauman: ‘Eddie the Eagle’ worth catching



Seniors make up a small part of movie audiences in the U.S., something like 20 percent. Which explains why so few movies are aimed at seniors. But don’t miss a chance to see “Eddie the Eagle,” a British movie starring Taron Egerton, a fresh-faced likable chap as Eddie, a would-be ski jumper, and Hugh Jackman as retired alcoholic retired ski jump champion Bronson Peary, who takes Eddie under his wings and teaches him how to ski jump.

Movie starts with Eddie as a child failing at all the kids’ games but never giving up.

As a teen he discovers there are no British applicants for ski jumping at Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada, and applies to the British Olympic Committee but is told, “You’ll never be an Olympian.”

He preservers and roams the ski jumps in Europe, never making the 61-foot jump required to qualify. Until retired ski jumper Bronson Perry (Hugh Jackman, fine in the role) takes him under his professional wings.

Slowly Eddie improves and finally makes a required 61-foot jump and is in the games. Seniors will undoubtedly be able to identify with Eddie as he bumbles along, sharing a milk toast with Jackman’s booze at critical moments.

The roles of Eddie’s parents are well played, and the actress playing his mother, Jo Hartley, gives a particularly poignant portrayal. The father, played by Keith Allen (currently uncredited on IMDB) is a bit of a caricature, but well acted. Actually, a lot of the supporting cast of characters are caricatures, especially the other ski-jumpers/coaches and the British Olympic Committee. But to an extent that serves to emphasize the struggle for Eddie. Also, for those intent on seeing this film for Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter”) he’s in shortly in a warm scene with Jackman.

A problem with most bio-pics is that the hero has to win, which robs the suspense angle. The film “Eddie” avoids this by having Eddie a hero for making the 61-foot jump “the record for a British jumper.”

Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern games, said about the Olympics: “The thing in Life is not triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

The film illustrates that nicely.

Ski jumping may not be familiar to most seniors — I covered a season of ski jumping back then but never had to hike those stairs — but the beautifully filmed sections of a “Eddie” are a fine introduction to the sport.

Seniors can admire Eddie’s desire to excel. Eddie’s a kind of peoples’ favorite showing again and again that there are always a way to excel if you sacrifice enough.


I get lots of mail from health products companies apparently hoping I’ll share their product news with readers. If a product looks reasonable I check it out on the not infallible Internet. Most strike out with too many negative reports. Some times a flier catches my eye and I check it out. Such was the case with one from the Nutrition Action Healthletter, a nonprofit outfit that checked out. The headline was “We name names.” What the outfit was naming was examples of restaurant food that was perhaps overly nutritious.

Some examples:

Judging from the label on Stouffer’s Satisfying Servings of White Meat Chicken Pot Pie there was only 590 calories, 11 grams of saturated fat, and 930 milligrams of sodium. But that’s only half a pie. Eat the whole as most do and you’re talking 1,180 calories, 26 grams of saturated fat (more than a day’s worth and 1,860 mg of sodium, over a day’s worth).

An average cup of Campbell’s condensed chicken noodle soup has 810 mg of sodium but most people eat a whole can, which contains 2,030 mg of sodium, more than an adult should consume in a whole day. Look for Campbell’s Healthy Request soups. Better yet, choose sodium reduced soups at Trader Joe’s.

The Starbucks venti (20 ounce) white chocolate mocha with 2 percent milk and whipped cream is more than just coffee. Figure 580 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat and 11 teaspoons of added fat.

Can’t decide? Oliver Garden’s restaurants offer a Tour of Italy — homemade lasagna, lightly breaded chicken parmigiana and creamy fettuccine. That all odds up to 1,450 calories, 33 grams saturated fat, 3,830 grams of sodium. Add a garden salad with dressing (150 calories) and 760 mg of sodium and you consume 1,740 calories (nearly a day’s worth) and 4,960 mg of sodium (three day’s worth).

I’ll share some more of these diet-busters soon.

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.


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