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Spinning Out Review

If you are a figure skating fan and were on Twitter at all during the first week of January, you must have seen all the feelings and opinions on Spinning Out. I took my time watching the 10-episode series, but now I’m ready to weigh in.

I kept my blog notebook beside me while watching the show, and managed to fill four pages, front and back, with my observations. I’m going to stick to assessing the skating, not the plot, which was straight out of a 2000s CW teen drama. I write this as a diehard One Tree Hill fan, so I enjoy my fair share of CW drama, but it’s not for everyone. If this show didn’t have the skating element, I’m not sure I would have made it past the first few episodes.

As far as skating TV shows and movies go, my bar is pretty low. Isn’t yours, too? Ever since the Disney movie Ice Princess told us all that skating was just physics…

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…I’ve had low expectations for how my beloved sport is portrayed on screen. Blades of Glory may have been comedy gold, but I sat in the movie theater getting all offended by the stereotypes and annoyed that the “iron lotus” wouldn’t be possible because of GRAVITY. I’ve since evolved to have more of a sense of humor about these portrayals, which might be part of why I thought that, overall, Spinning Out had pretty good skating scenes.

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“I, Tonya” Movie Review

I finally saw “I, Tonya” last night. The movie — about Tonya Harding, the skater on the other side of Nancy Kerrigan’s infamous knee-wacking in 1994 — is already winning big during awards season and has several Oscar nominations.

I generally struggle with on-screen portrayals of figure skating, because filmmakers so rarely get it right. Anybody else remember the scene in “Ice Princess” where a character drives a zamboni through the woods to smooth the ice surface of a pond? As if the ice could take the weight of a zamboni…if it even still worked after driving through the woods.

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“I, Tonya” got a few skating quirks right. Some humorous, like Harding’s coach donning a fur coat at competitions as a status symbol, which had me cracking up in the theater. My first coach always pulled out her fabulous fur for my competitions, too. Harding’s costume recreations were also impeccable. The skating scenes, while shot at camera angles that made me rather dizzy, were largely accurate in terms of jump set ups and how skating actually looks — there were no gravity-defying “iron lotus” moves like in “Blades of Glory.”

And the actors’ performances were phenomenal. Allison Janney is a force to be reckoned with as Harding’s abusive mother, and Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harding is uncanny. My issues with the movie lie with the screenwriters and filmmakers.

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