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Film / Eddie the Eagle

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Eddie the Eagle is a comedy drama sports biopic released in 2016, directed by Dexter Fletcher and featuring a screenplay by Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton. It stars Taron Egerton as Michael "Eddie the Eagle" Edwards, Hugh Jackman as Bronson Peary, Christopher Walken as Warren Sharp, and Jo Hartley as Janette Edwards.

The film follows Edwards' life as he attempts to become an Olympic athlete, culminating in his participation in the 1988 Winter Olympics as the sole ski jumping applicant from Great Britain.

Eddie the Eagle contains examples of:

  • 15 Minutes of Fame: After Eddie completes his Olympic jump, the world immediately drops focus from him and jumps to the other big underdog story of Calgary 1988, the Jamaican bobsled team. This inspires him to push himself even harder.
  • Almighty Janitor: Bronson Peary, former Olympic ski-jumper who trains Eddie, works as the ski-jump centre groundskeeper.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: More like Arrogant Ski Jumping Guy, but Matti Nykänen, the world champion, is portrayed as this. He refuses to sign an autograph for Eddie and acts aloof towards him when they first meet. The Norwegian ski jumping team is full of these types. Ultimately subverted by the end since Matti comes to respect Eddie and tells him so.
  • The Alcoholic: Bronson Peary, Eddie's mentor. He's constantly seen with his flask or a drink in his hand.
  • Alliterative Name: Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards.note 
  • Badass Adorable: Arguably Eddie. Despite ending up in last place, he still managed to become an Olympic athlete capable of performing a 90m ski jump with only a year's worth of practice and some Loophole Abuse.
  • Based on a True Story: As a biopic, this film is based on "Eddie the Eagle" Edwards' life story.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Despite his enthusiasm, Eddie doesn't win the gold medal in ski jumping. But he did set a new British record and beat his personal record.
  • Composite Character: Bronson Peary represents the group of coaches who helped train the real Eddie for the Olympics.
  • The Determinator: Eddie might suck at a lot of sports, but he never ever quits. Injuries, rules, disparaging father, lack of money, nothing will keep Eddie from competing at the Olympics.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Not really acknowledged in the film, but in real life Eddie was already a gifted downhill skier and held a number of British speed records. He decided to switch to ski jumping because there hadn't been a British jumper in a long time and he felt that being Britain's only jumper would make it easier for him to achieve his Olympic dreams.
  • Failure Montage:
    • It starts with young Eddie trying out different sports in preparation for his Olympic career and failing miserably at each, eventually completely filling a box with pairs of glasses he's broken in the process.
    • Later there's one of his attempts on the ski jump with crash after crash after crash.
  • Giftedly Bad: Eddie.note  Despite having impossible odds placed against him, and coming in dead last at the Olympics, he's loved for his determined nature and relatability.
  • Graceful Loser: Eddie never comes in past last place in any of the events he participates in but he doesn't care. He just wants to prove he can compete at any level and to know he did his absolute best. It's this quality that Matti respects in him and which he notes when comparing them, saying they are the only two true jumpers because they don't care about winning, just doing their best.
  • Hero of Another Story: At the Calgary Olympics an announcer says the Jamaican bobsled team will be competing.
  • I Call It "Vera": Bronson refers to his flask as "his jacket".
  • Idiot Hero: Eddie's boundless optimism is unquenchable, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that he's completely unsuited to Olympic competition and his pig-headed refusal to accept that might get him killed. He also thinks that he's ready for the next level of competition the instant he has any success at all at a lower level. It's as if he's immune to common sense. It should be noted that this only really applies to the film version of Eddie. The real Eddie was cagey enough to spot a loophole in the Olympic rulebook he could exploit to get to compete, and he was a pretty accomplished downhill skiier.
  • Instant Expert: Realistically averted. Determination and pluck are not enough to overcome a lifetime's worth of professional practice. At best Eddie's performance is terrible, but the fact that he managed to survive doing jumps that would have killed other amateurs is still worth noting.
  • Insult Backfire: On the sidelines after Eddie successfully lands a 43-metre jump, Norwegian coach Bjørn calls Bronson a "disgrace" to ski jumping, a remark that the latter takes in stride.
    Bjørn: You're a disgrace to the sport.
    Bronson: Really? Good. [calls out to Eddie, delighted] Personal best! And we're a disgrace!
  • Jerkass: Out of all of Eddie's detractors, Dustin Target never really changes his opinion of him.
  • Jerk Jock: Pretty much every other athlete in the film makes fun of Eddie and laughs at his likely impending death. Of special note are the Norwegian ski team, and even the other Olympic athletes from Great Britain. Averted in the case of Matti "The Flying Finn" Nykänen, the gold medal favorite, who sees Eddie as a kindred spirit and gives him some encouragement before the final jump.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Bronson may be an abrasive alcoholic, but he does coach Eddie and help him get to the Winter Olympics without asking or expecting anything in return.
    • The Norwegian ski team wastes no time in bullying and intimidating Eddie the first few times they meet, but when he gets seriously injured in a jump, they're genuinely alarmed and rush to help him while berating Bronson on not caring enough about his safety; on Eddie's final jump they're also seen pulling for him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Rude though they might be, Eddie's naysayers (including his father) do have reasonable doubts about his competence. For the most part he is a total amateur participating in an extremely dangerous sport that could cripple or even kill him.
  • The Klutz: Eddie is very accident prone; managing to knock over an entire ski team, as well as catching his skis on a fence, and falling down a 70m ski slope. Notably, the real life Eddie Edwards was nicknamed Mr. Magoo by the press.
  • Lactose over Liquor: Throughout the whole movie, Eddie orders milk instead of alcohol when at a bar, much to the amusement of his hard-partying fellow athletes.
  • Loophole Abuse: Eddie manages to participate in the Winter Olympics as the ski jumper from Great Britain because he is the only ski jumper from Great Britain. As he points out, the rules hadn't been updated for 52 years.
  • Made of Iron: Eddie gets up after so many crashes that he seems more a ragdoll than anything; notably averted on the one time he actually does have to go to the hospital.
  • Nerd Glasses: Throughout the film, Eddie wears large glasses that don't fit well. And breaks several in his practice sessions. He's also constantly pushing them back up on his nose.
  • Nice Guy: Eddie is extremely sweet and earnest about everything he does, which is a part of what makes him such a PR darling at the Olympics.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Matti "The Flying Finn" Nykänen says this to Eddie, that despite what everyone may think, they are more alike than anyone else in the competition, being the only two competitors who are driven to do their absolute best and value doing so above winning.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Following Eddie's Loophole Abuse above, the British Olympic Association makes a new rule declaring that all Olympic Ski Jump contestants must have jumped a minimum of 61 meters at a sanctioned competition. This nullifies Eddie's right to participate because his previous record was 35 meters. In real life the "Eddie the Eagle rule" was implemented soon after to prevent anyone from being able to compete in the Olympics the way Eddie did.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: We hear Matti breaking a world record over the announcements, but we don't get to actually see it.
  • Scenery Porn: The competition was filmed in Bavaria, Germany, and shots of the surrounding snow-covered mountains are shown often.
  • Shout-Out: A radio reporter finishes talking about Eddie and moves on to discussing the Jamaican bobsled team.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Bronson lights up a cigarette and smokes it while doing a 90m jump! Lampshaded later by Eddie who says smoking is way more dangerous than ski jumping.
  • Spit Take: Bronson sprays his beer everywhere when Eddie announces, live on TV, that he'll be competing in the 90 meter jump.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: It's Hugh Jackman. Enough said.
  • The Teetotaler: Eddie only drinks milk while practicing, in contrast to Bronson who is The Alcoholic.
  • Training Montage: There's a lively montage of Bronson teaching Eddie how to jump from side to side, set to 80's pop music.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    • Eddie's father never supports his Olympic aspirations as a boy, but comes around once his son starts setting national records.
    • Bronson Peary, who coaches Eddie in part from a book written by his former coach Warren Sharp, who isn't shy about badmouthing him as a disgrace to the sport before the 90m. After Eddie's final jump, Sharp approaches them both in the locker room, autographs the book for Peary, and offers a heartfelt handshake. On the plane ride home, Peary shows Eddie the message Sharp left him: "Now the real work begins."
      Sharp (to Peary): I was wrong... about you.