Very rarely does a movie come down the pipeline that is so TNUC and so defining of everything our movement is about. Many come close but fall short in capturing 100% of the power and adrenaline found in the Land of TNUC. It’s not an easy thing to do.
Well my friends, I’m proud to report that 1986’s AMERICAN ANTHEM is that movie.
Mitch Gaylord the ultimate American hardbody. Janet Jones the perfect woman.
Watch the trailer and feel your pulse beating faster. The sweat is trickling down your forehead. If this didn’t happen, go see a doctor. There are scenes in this movie that I watch and literally whisper out loud “this is too good to be true”. It rocks on a level that is nearly impossible to summarize in words. Here’s a plot description that I saw somewhere on the internet:
Steve Tevere was once a rising star in both football and gymnastics but gives up on his dreams because his father gave up on supporting him emotionally. He now lives in regret over lost opportunities working as a motorcycle builder. He keeps an eye on his old gymnastics team and one day spies this new girl from New York City that joins the team. After meeting each other they fast enter into a relationship where she guides him and inspires him to rejoin the team. He joins only to find a tough road to the gold and still must face his inner demons and navigate his difficult relationship with his father.
So yeah, American Anthem is a classic “go for the gold” sports story about a kid who works under a rain of sparks in a motorcycle chop shop all day while dreaming of WINNING IT ALL. From the onslaught of musical montages to Steve’s unsupportive “old man” who wears a wife-beater shirt around the house all day and only appears in blue or yellow lighting, trust me when I say this is the movie you’ve been dreaming of all your life.
In one scene, Steve is training on a horizontal “high bar” that he suspends between two trees on a rainy night in the middle of the woods. As rain pours down and mysterious fog pumps to unforeseen levels, it won’t be long before the hairs on your neck are standing up.
Let’s take a moment to give maximum respect to heart-of-gold Steve for being a mechanic by day and gymnast by night. These days you never see blue collar, working men or women jobs portrayed in sports movies. At least they aren’t half as cool as working on motorcycles with a bunch of bikers who drink beer on the job. Again, this movie HAS IT ALL.
There’s a character in the movie named Arthur who would normally be positioned in the story as some insufferable dweeb that we’re supposed to feel bad for. However the genius writers of American Anthem created a handicapped synthesizer lord out of this character. Watch how Arthur handles his KORG synth as he records a gymnastics number for Julie.
If Uncle T hadn’t blown his savings this month on a lifetime subscription to Jugg’s Magazine, I’d buy every TNUC disciple a copy of this movie. In the meantime, above is a ripping cut from Julie’s gymnastic routine.
Below, John Parr’s hit “Two Hearts” from the big budget soundtrack which also features songs from Andy Taylor, Stevie Nicks, INXS and Mr. Mister. Don’t pass up watching this music video. It’s a beaut.
The movie never got a fair shot in 1986 as reception from moviegoers and critics alike was pretty poor. It’s a shame because these days I feel like people love a simple sports flick with simple (but potent) ingredients. Small town kid, brooding attitude, going for the gold, broken home, 4×4 riding, cigarette puffing, BIG soundtrack, minimal dialogue, over-enthusiastic crowd, inspirational montages, training routines, hardbodies galore and moonlit sexual evenings. All I know is that American Anthem checks all my boxes √. The acting might not be winning any trophies, but it’s almost like no one respects the fact that instead of using actors, they cast real Olympic gymnasts Mitch Gaylord, Janet Jones, Maria Anz and Stacy Maloney to play these characters. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.
“THE NEW VISION OF LOVE AND TRIUMPH”