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Author Topic: Just saw this post on "3"  (Read 501 times)
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« on: December 20, 2004, 09:14:52 PM »

Mark Armijo
On racing
Dec. 17, 2004 12:00 AM

How do you capture Dale Earnhardt in two hours? You don't.

Hollywood tried last week with the ESPN movie, 3, and failed. I watched it and felt badly afterward knowing that many viewers probably wouldn't be able to embrace the true essence of Earnhardt and what he meant to NASCAR's growth and popularity surge.

But give ESPN credit. The movie wasn't half-bad. It didn't make you cringe with embarrassment like Days of Thunder and Driven. And actor Barry Pepper, who portrayed former New York Yankees slugger Roger Maris in the HBO movie 61*, delivered a memorable portrayal of Earnhardt.
The movie also handled with compassion Earnhardt's death, which hauntingly occurred on the final turn in the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.

Aside from the pluses, however, there were just too many minuses.

Too many scenes had a herky-jerky feel to them, moving from one topic to the next without a soft transition. But that's what happens when you try to cram two decades into two hours on the television screen.

A miniseries would have been preferable, filling in gaping holes left by the shorter version.

Hollywood being Hollywood, the movie embellished some facts and was just plain inaccurate in some scenes.

In one, Teresa Earnhardt, Dale's third wife, tries to dissuade her husband from sending Dale Earnhardt Jr. to a military school. People in the industry I've talked to say the opposite was true.

I tried to solicit the younger Earnhardt's critique of the movie via a team publicist, but was informed he wouldn't publicly comment.
Hmmm. Take that any way you want, but it doesn't sound like somebody willing to give the movie an enthusiastic thumbs up.

Still, fans tuned into 3, which attracted a 5.0 rating. The rating made it the second-highest rated movie of 2004 on ad-supported cable. It also posted ESPN's highest ever movie rating among all key male demographics and was the most viewed program on TV during its initial time slot last Saturday.

But there is no rating to tell ESPN what viewers thought of its depiction of a driver many believe to be the greatest in stock car history.

So we'll give our own rating - three sparkplugs on a scale of five.

H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, an executive with Lowe's (N.C.) Motor Speedway and a longtime Earnhardt friend, was more positive in his assessment of 3.

"I thought it was pretty good considering they didn't have a big budget to work with," Wheeler said in a telephone interview. "I thought Barry Pepper did a heck of a job. If you saw how Dale looked when he was 16 or 17, skinny and with long hair, and how Pepper looked in the movie at that age, it was spooky.

"They got some Hollywood stuff in there, but I thought they followed everything the way it really happened. It was a good character study."

Perhaps. It's just that it could have been so much better.


I think he makes some very good points in this article.  I still have mixed feelings and although I taped it, I will probably never watch it again as I do other things.
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