Playing the Moldovans at Tennis
And last week I went to see Playing the Moldovans at Tennis...
...followed by a Q&A session with Tony Hawks, its writer and protagonist.
I wasn't quite sure what to make of the film at first. Basically it chronicles the working-out of one of the pub bets that seem to be what keep Tony Hawks going: "Hey, most professional sportsmen are really specialised: I bet if I tried I could beat all the footballers on the team of, say, Moldova, if I played them at something other than football. Say, tennis...." It could have been really gimmicky and silly, and I did keep thinking that it was a crazy caper (something the film underlines many times). But it has a certain grandeur to its seemingly-doomed enterprise, and you end up rooting for Tony Hawks against the Moldovan mafia and other obstacles. (Though he really does make things difficult for himself by pissing off the organised crime king of Transnistria for the sake of a knob joke.)
Tony Hawks took the comments (shown on the film) from his translator to heart (basically, you swan in and out for a bet but we have to live in this shit-hole) and devoted a large chunk (half, I think) of the film's proceeds to a children's charity in Moldova. If it were a bad film that wouldn't rescue it, but as it's a pretty good film that adds another reason to see it. It's informative, thought-provoking, and very funny.
Oh, and in the Q&A I asked Tony hawks why, in the match that he lost, it went to a tie-break after two sets rather than a third set. Basically they ran out of filming time: but it seems that in professional double matches these days they sometimes do that. Well, well.