Touch the Wall (Amazon Prime, 2014, NR, brief language) follows the intersecting paths of swimmers Missy Franklin and Kara Lynn Joyce, beginning almost two years before the 2012 London Olympics. Franklin is trying to make the Olympic team for the first time; Joyce is attempting to stay on it and compete in her third Olympics. At the start of the documentary, Franklin is 14 years old and Joyce is 26, but they become best friends training together under the same coach, one who’s interested in teaching life lessons, not just strokes. Franklin’s supportive parents and Jesuit high school contrast markedly with Joyce’s adult independence and eventual move-in with her boyfriend, but their encouragement of one another never wanes despite head-to-head competition. The depiction of dedication and discipline, and constant practice and travel, gives viewers a glimpse of the commitment needed to succeed. Franklin’s winning personality, optimism, and genuine smile fill many frames.
Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk (Amazon Prime, 2019, PG, occasional, suggestive rude humor): Even non-golfers will enjoy this Bill Murray–narrated, entertaining take on how caddying has leaped from being considered golf’s “show up, keep up, shut up” profession historically, to today’s highly paid, invaluable asset of top golfers. Highlighting beautiful courses around the world and professional golfing legends and caddies, the documentary emphasizes the other-oriented nature of caddying that requires rigorous knowledge of the course, the clubs, the game, and the golfer. And it explores how good caddies pave the fairway to success and develop deep, lasting relationships with golfers. Learn the difference between a links course and a parkland course, what the caddy code of conduct entails, and how much money is available for caddy scholarships. Plus, savor the sweet Scottish brogues.