Monday, May 2, 2016

Take Down (1979)



A bland sports drama containing anemic attempts at comedy, Take Down depicts the struggles of an English teacher forced to coach a wrestling team, as well as the journey of a young man who becomes a star athlete. Even this brief description should be sufficient to indicate that Take Down comprises nothing but clich├ęs, so while the picture has adequate production values and a personable leading performance by Edward Herrmann, Take Down is completely forgettable. Not coincidentally, Take Down contains one of Lorenzo Lamas’ first major roles. The sun-kissed hunk who later played “Lance Cumson” during the 1981–1990 run of the nighttime soap Falcon Crest is among the most vacuous actors ever to appear on film, and Take Down hinges on scenes in which Lamas is asked to convey deep wells of emotion. He can’t, and as he struggles, so too does the film. Protagonist Ed Branish (Herrmann), a scholar finishing his Ph.D. dissertation, teaches English to unreceptive small-town kids and rebuffs entreaties from his wife, Jill (Kathleen Lloyd), who wants to start a family. Ed blocks the graduation of lackluster student Nick Kilvitus (Lamas), who has missed school because he’s filling in at a local factory for his drunken father. When the principal tasks Ed with coaching the wrestling team, Ed must reach out to Nick for help. Cue predictable scenes of Ed growing to love his small-town neighbors, Nick realizing that it's okay to believe in people, and so on. Filled with unimaginatively filmed wrestling scenes, Take Down fails when it tries for high comedy (e.g., Ed talking a wrestler through the bowel movement that will help the wrestler make his weight for a competition), and it doesn't do any better when it tries for high drama.

Take Down: LAME

4 comments:

Alan Beauvais said...

Poor Maureen McCormick. Between this, that same year's "Skatetown USA," and 1977's "Moonshine County Express," the former eldest Brady girl just couldn't get an A-list foothold in the big-screen world.

greg6363 said...

This film had the distinction of being the first PG rated movie released by Walt Disney Pictures.

greg6363 said...

However, one can notice the Disney name is nowhere to be found on the one-sheet. By this time in the late 70's, the studio knew they had to produce more than just G-rated family fare but lacked the marketing prowess to make it happen. While it took a few years before Touchstone was created to meet this challenge, the leadership void continued until Michael Eisner's arrival that transformed Disney's status into a global entertainment giant.

Alan Beauvais said...

The second PG film from Disney (not in name but via Buena Vista) was "Midnight Madness," a scavenger-hunt comedy featuring a young Michael J. Fox. "The Black Hole" was the third PG film but the first with the Disney name prominent.