I suppose it’s fitting that the final Greenspan film is one of the Greenspaniest. I’m so happy these are over.

canada, 2010, english


Bud Greenspan Presents Vancouver 2010: Stories of Olympic Glory

What can I say, after ten Bud Greenspan Olympic films is finally at its end? I think what makes me the saddest about the whole run is how unchanging it is. Greenspan was a supremely conservative director. He landed on a legitimately novel approach to sports documentary with the original 16 Days of Glory and then he ran that formula, with virtually no evolution, right into the ground.

It’s just all so predictable. With every story it’s instantly easy to guess the outcome, or close to it. Here we combine that lack of vision with a renewed focus on American athletes, even though the games are in Canada. But more than that, the entire formula has just become so tired. As with anything else, if you stay in the same place you stagnate. This style, which really did bring new insights to the field when it started, ran out of any type of creative juice long ago.

As usual, what I’m saddest about is the missed opportunity for something better. I feel like I have such a limited understanding of all of the Olympic Games that these films purported to cover. All the new sports, all the arts and culture, all the locations, all the people. It’s all just a blur of athletes saying basically the same trite things, over and over again.

This is a fitting end to his reign. All his ticks and techniques are on full display, and, honestly, with all my complaining it’s a perfectly pleasant film to watch. I’m just left lamenting all the lost possibilities. One film to go, and it’s something totally new!