February 13, 2020

SCREEN | Nick Kroll Follows His 'Olympic Dreams'

"You made me feel so warm."
Nick Kroll Alexi Pappas Jeremy Teicher | Olympic Dreams
IFC Films
Shot completely on location inside the Athletes Village without a crew during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, married filmmaking couple Jeremy Teicher and Alexi Pappas have basically made a semi-improvised hangout movie set in an ultra-exclusive setting. With unprecedented access from the IOC through an artist-in-residence program, Olympic Dreams artfully captures the spirit and in-between moments of the games.

Starring comedian Nick Kroll as a mild-mannered volunteer dentist (Ezra) from New Jersey and Pappas (Penelope), an actual Greek-American Olympian in long-distance running who competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the oddball pairing make for a compelling vaguely romantic duo.

Both lost souls, Pappas offers a very naturalistic performance as a mousy cross-country skier unsure of her future after competition while Kroll is deft yet understatedly charming as virtually the only non-athlete or professional actor in the entire film.

Nick Kroll Alexi Pappas Jeremy Teicher | Olympic Dreams

Reminiscent of Lost in Translation, the heartfelt story takes an introspective approach to its very loose storytelling. Athletes and various other Olympics related people weave in and out of the film including wandering attendees looking for directions. It's a special achievement whose enjoyment largely depends on your fascination or curiosity about the inner-workings of the Olympics as a cultural event.

As a filmmaking experience, Olympic Dreams is an interesting exercise in its surroundings and environment more so than any sort of loose piece of narrative filmmaking. Kroll, Pappas, and Teicher have certainly made a wistful time capsule shot in one of the more unique locations ever captured. It recreates what it feels like to be up close and personal at the games as both a participant and onlooker.

Olympic Dreams is available to stream on various digital platforms and through video on demand.

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