Going for the Gold: The Bill Johnson Story (1985)

Going for the Gold: The Bill Johnson Story (1985)
 
 

The Speed Skier

Anthony Edwards in Going for the Gold: The Bill Johnson Story (1985)

Having got him self in trouble a few times Bill Johnson (Anthony Edwards) is facing some time inside, that is until his father Wally (Dennis Weaver) persuades the judge to let Bill go to ski college as he is a talented skier whose future will be wrecked if he has done time. Having headed to college Bill's confidence sees him dating Maggie (Sarah Jessica Parker) but his cockiness not only sees him having issues with other skiers but also the coaches. After a Christmas vacation teaching at a ski resort brings him in to contact with the American ski team he becomes all the more dedicated and determined to become a speed skier in the US Olympic team.

Back in 1985 Anthony Edwards was one of the group of hot young actors, he hadn't appeared in "Top Gun" yet and "ER" was almost a decade away. The trouble is that watching Anthony Edwards star as the cocky Bill Johnson in "Going for the Gold: The Bill Johnson Story" is hard work when watched now because it doesn't feel right to have nice guy Edwards playing a bad boy. But ironically Edwards natural likeability comes in to play because whilst the cockiness doesn't feel right the conversion from bad kid to good kid, or sort of, works well.

Anyway, aside from the almost novelty of Anthony Edwards in a bad boy type role what we get is a look at the life of skier Bill Johnson from a rebellious 17 year old to his participation in the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Along the way we see how he chats up various women, has to deal with his demons when it comes to not having the equipment he wants and how his brashness could have cost him his shot of glory as his cockiness wound people up. All of which is entertaining as is any story about someone pushing themselves to be the best but at the same time this is full of cliches especially when it comes to the dialogue about "being the best".

What this all boils down to is that "Going for the Gold: The Bill Johnson Story" is entertaining in two ways, firstly the story is entertaining but more entertaining is the performance of a young Anthony Edwards playing it as a bad boy.

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