Movies We Love: American Anthem

Purple Rain writer and director, Albert Magnoli, unfolds gymnastic contemporary drama onscreen with real talent and a rocking soundtrack featuring INXS, Stevie Nicks, and Mr. Mister.

American Anthem centers the majority of its focus on protagonists Steve and Julie. Steve (Olympic Gold Medalist Mitch Gaylord) is on hiatus as a welder (enter Flashdance joke) living with his dysfunctional family. He use to be this big time sports star until his unemployed dickhead father broke his arm. When he's not too busy fighting with his family, chasing after Julie, and contemplating his future career in the gym he's eating raw eggs and licking yogurt. Gross. Steve sticks two metal poles between trees and practices in the rain with some freaky monk music in the back ground and blue fog rising. It looks like a music video which makes sense considering who directed this crap.

Julie (Janet Jones of Chorus Line) wants to be taken seriously but discourages her coach because she hates her classic floor music and loves her handicapped composer's bad disco beats that are not permitted.  This and her relationship with Steve intereferes with her focus which causes a lot of yelling in the gym by her coaches. She's corrected constantly while the hardest working gymnast, Becky Cameron, shines on and get to perform her floor routine to cool music. It's too bad about Becky's knee. Julie may have hope after all. A few more useless family drama scenes later, we reach the final conclusion of the film with several competitive athletes fighting for a spot on the Olympic team and Steve mulling over his rocky relationship with his father.

American Anthem is filled with cliches and corny dialogue accompanied by some very good and some very bad music. The acting is suitable with Mama's and Papa's singer Michelle Phillips portraying Steve's mom, who gets yelled at for earning the daily bread. Mitch Gaylord is pretty decent considering he's an athlete and not an actor. Janet Jones has so much talent, it's hard to understand why she wasn't involved with more films.

It'S nowhere near as good as other gymnastic films but still worth a look.

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