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Reporter Meri-Jo Borzilleri shares her thoughts.

It’s not often you get to see a time-period Hollywood movie with so much local flavor. Pacific Northwesterners will be able to claim a piece of “The Boys in the Boat.”

The Depression-era, true story tells of an eight-man crew, plus a spunky coxswain, most of whom were desperate to make the team because of the steady meals and housing provided. The movie plot, like the book of the same name, centers on Sequim’s Joe Rantz, but two rowers had ties to Skagit and Whatcom counties — Don Hume of Anacortes and Gordy Adam of Everson.

The movie is an inspiring story that was pretty much forgotten to history. Shot in amber light, it’s an old-fashioned sports film with all the attendant figures — a demanding, brooding coach in legendary Al Ulbrickson, played just right by actor Joel Edgerton; the boatbuilding philosopher and guru George Pocock (Peter Guinness); and Rantz (Callum Turner), whose hard-luck story of abandonment, along with his platinum blond hair, has him stand out on an ascendant junior varsity team that bonds over shared desperation and underdog status.

The rowing scenes are notable for their closeup and bird’s-eye camera views. Clooney pulls off a not-so-easy task, building suspense in a movie where the competition outcome is already known. The film was not shot on campus, but the UW old shell house looks like the real thing, inside and out, and care was taken in period clothing, hairstyles (a fortune must have been spent on gel), and dialogue verging on corny — though that was the language of the time. 

Still, it was hard not to get goosebumps when coxswain Bobby Moch exhorted his teammates with the cadence-directing command “As … ONE! As … ONE! As … ONE!” during the chaos of the Husky Clipper’s rally to gold.



Playing January 12-14 & 19-21

Fridays and Saturdays at 5 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m. with captions
Rated PG-13, 2 hours

Free posters while supplies last.

On Saturday, January 13, we’re expecting three UW grads who were part of Washington Rowing when they were students in the late 60s. If you come to the show at 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 13, you’ll meet:
Bob Stanley, team member 1966-69.
Jim Edwards, 1968 olympic trial coxswain and 1970 national champion coxswain.
Larry Johnson, 1970 national champion. His father rowed with the 1936 Olympic champion crew.