New golf movie, 'Seven Days in Utopia,' promises golf authenticity
Another golf movie will be hitting theaters in a few weeks, and like all of them, I’m wondering if it will have credibility. I’ve been disappointed by so many.
The movie, “Seven Days in Utopia,” is based upon sports psychologist David Cook’s book, “Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia.” Cook’s story, which takes place in the Texas Hill Country near Fredericksburg, is about a struggling tour professional who winds up in the small town of Utopia only to stumble upon a wise sage who helps him find his righteous path.
And by righteous, I mean that in a religious way. For Cook, the book was a vehicle to spread the good word about his faith, but the story itself has a pretty good golf story as well.
The movie stars Lucas Black ("Friday Night Lights,” “Fast and the Furious") and Robert Duvall. And by all accounts, it appears as if the screenplay has taken some liberties with the original story, like adding a romantic element to it. My guess is that the religious aspect of the story is a little less heavy handed in the film, but maybe not. My biggest concern is whether or not the golf scenes, many of which were shot at Boot Ranch Golf Club, look like golf because most golf movies don’t pull it off.
In fact, I can’t think of hardly any that really pull it off. Some of them really didn’t need to. It was obvious that Chevy Chase and Michael O’Keefe had very little golfing ability back in 1980 (Chase clearly tops the shot he hits blindfolded over water onto the green), but it really didn’t matter. The golf part wasn’t important. The same could be said for Adam Sandler’s “Happy Gilmore.” But Tin Cup, though a comedy, lost a lot of credibility for me because Kevin Costner and Don Johnson didn’t look like golfers (Johnson was really bad). And I don’t even know where to start with Matt Damon in “The Legend of Bagger Vance.” That was almost unwatchable. Shia Lebeouf in “The Greatest Game” was passable. Jim Caviezel ("Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius") was almost believable.
So the question is how will the golf scenes look in “Seven Days in Utopia?” I’m not too worried about Duvall, but Black’s character needs to be convincing, and he probably will be.
Black is a golf nut and reportedly plays to a 2.3 handicap. The 28-year-old told a men’s magazine that his dream job would be to play on the PGA Tour.
In addition, Cook insisted that the golf scenes look authentic. So one of the things movie producers did was bring in several golf professionals from the Southern Texas PGA as technical advisers.
In the trailers I’ve seen, the golf looks pretty credible, but you never know until you see the movie. Plus, K.J. Choi has a role as Black’s character’s nemesis, and some other tour players have cameos, too.
“Seven Days in Utopia” opens Sept. 2 nationwide.
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