Author Topic: (American) Football  (Read 3132 times)

Corndog

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Re: (American) Football
« Reply #70 on: December 06, 2018, 07:22:28 AM »
Any Given Sunday (Oliver Stone, 1999)

★★★ - Liked It

Speaking of eye-sores... any comment on the eyeball hitting the field? :))

I like a whole lot about this movie, much of which you covered. It's the only football movie that feels like it takes a real look at the life. At least the only one I can think of. I've seen it a handful of times over the years and it has settled at about the same ranking you gave it.

As coach's speeches go, this has one of the better ones imo. But as good as it is, I think Cameron Diaz takes the prize for best line delivery. It's that scene where Pacino comes over to her house and they have a back and forth, and after Pacino walks our she's still fired up and she just says "...CINECAST!in' beer!" in frustration. I ALWAYS think about that part and how she says it. It really has gotten stuck in my head.

I would love to know if the writer actually wrote that line.

As to the eyeball, I think it encapsulates a lot about this movie. I mentioned that it's the harshest take, and for that reason it's probably also the most accurate. I think that's true, but I also think this movie dials up that reality to 11, and the eyeball is a good example of that. Just ridiculous. Football has some truly gruesome injuries, but a guys eye getting yanked out when they wear full helmets with facemasks? I don't know that I believe that has ever happened in the history of football, but I guess they needed a gross out moment to show how rough a game this is.
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Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: (American) Football
« Reply #71 on: December 06, 2018, 08:54:39 AM »
The Last Boy Scout - I'm a Shane Black defender and while the script is too in love with dialogue and the daughter is a rough character to take, there's more than enough Shane Black greatness for me to have watched it several times. Like a particular murder towards the beginning of Buster Scruggs, I love the boldness of a football player with a gun. Tony Scott heightens the reality with the intense rain and his hyper-style.
This. Shane Black's dialogue paired with Tony Scott's hyper-realism made this one work perfectly for me. Not a great film, but super good and extremely watchable.

Corndog

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Re: (American) Football
« Reply #72 on: February 26, 2019, 08:22:15 AM »
Radio (Mike Tollin, 2003)

Entering back into the world of football films after playing some end of year catch-up with everything from 2018, and sprinting through awards season, we get to take on this film for the first time. I received some attention upon release, but was not a staple in my childhood household, as something like Remember the Titans was, but itís not dissimilar. Radio takes place in the south during the 1970s, focusing on high school football. But rather than comment on race relations and the competition on the field, Radio focuses on the ability of people to show love and compassion. What results is an overly saccharine and sentimental view of the relationship between a coach and the retarded man his players tormented.

At TL Hanna High School in South Carolina, football is king, and Coach Jones (Ed Harris) is a well respected leader on the field and in the classroom. But after he catches his players tormenting a man with mental problems who likes to walk by practice and watch, he invites him to participate with the team, considering it to be the right thing to do. As Radio (Cuba Gooding Jr.) becomes more and more welcomed, his personality really blossoms and the team and town comes to love him. But his journey is not without road bumps and detours, as not everyone thinks his involvement is best for the team.

Iím not really sure I can call this film offensive, but man is this not very good at all. Filmmaker Mike Tollin, whose other work Iíve seen some of, seems content with telling this tale at the highest of levels. There is a serious lack of detail and subtle touch which makes the film play like a highlight reel with very little context or fuel to make me connect with the characters, their struggles and even their triumphs. Conflict seems manufactured, and resolutions feel forced and inevitable. Which is a shame because this film has its heart in the right place, and being based on a true story, we can only glimpse and imagine what the real relationship between Radio and Coach Jones must have been.

Luckily, we do have the incredibly talented Ed Harris to help guide us through this mess as Coach Jones. His performance helps ground the film and give some semblance of humanity throughout this paint-by-numbers inspirational story. Cuba Gooding Jr. on the other hand, I feel a bit sorry for. I can remember a bit from the comedy Tropic Thunder, where actors are told to ďnever go full retardĒ. Well, Iím sure it was at least somewhat inspired by Gooding Jrís performance here. Not only is the performance awkward, but it doesnít really afford him much of a chance to shine, relegating him to shy looks and whispered dialogue. The rest of the supporting cast is just as bland.

If it wasnít for the core of this story, I would say this film is a complete trainwreck, but the heartstrings canít help but be naturally pulled at least somewhat by the tale, but that is of no credit to Mike Tollin and the film itself. But for that reason, itís at least passable, if not very disappointing, especially as a vehicle for both Ed Harris and Cuba Gooding Jr., who never seemed to be able to recreate the greatness of his performance in another film included in this marathon, Jerry Maguire. If youíre casually looking for football films to watch, this one can be a pass.

★★ - Didn't Like It
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Corndog

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Re: (American) Football
« Reply #73 on: March 04, 2019, 11:56:09 AM »
Friday Night Lights (Peter Berg, 2004)

Friday Night Lights has gone through many iterations. First, it happened in reality when the 1988 Permian Panthers had a magical run in the Texas High School football season, then Buzz Bissinger released a book about it. A lot of time passed, and Peter Berg made a movie based on the tale. This movie. There then came a television series on NBC which was more liberal with the story and was a fairly successful and critically acclaimed show. Itís hard for me to really get a pulse on how the film was released, but itís always been one of my favorite football films. This marathon has uncovered many others, but I was certainly curious to see if it would hold up. Spoiler alert: it totally does.

The Permian Panthers from Odessa, a West Texas town with nothing on its mind except high school football, are expecting to ride their star running back Boobie Miles (Derek Luke) to the state title. Itís a championship or bust for head coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton), his boosters have made as much very clear. But after Boobie experiences an unfortunate injury, the team is forced to band together behind their captains (Lucas Black, Garrett Hedlund, Jay Hernandez, Lee Jackson) to still make the dream a reality for this football crazy town. But as just high school kids, can they bear the pressure put on them by family and friends, or will they break and be a disappointment to everyone?

What weíve seen from these football movies is a mix of character studies, comedies and full blown dramas. With Peter Bergís film, we get a mix of everything as we enter into the lives of these kids and coaches on the journey for the ďtime of their livesĒ. Itís quite eye opening to watch as townsfolk repeatedly refer to their high school football years as the best of their life. Itís all dull family life and hard work in a small town afterward. No excitement. For towns like Odessa, Iím sure thatís true, but how sad to think that your life might peak at 18, with the rest of your life predetermined. Thatís what fuels stars like Boobie Miles to making it to college ball, to get out of town.

Peter Bergís visual style somehow works wonders to the story. Extreme closeups, sudden camera movement. It manages to enhance and bring out the more frenetic and random qualities of a sport like football. I can see how some would be annoyed or put off by the style, but I thought it worked. In many ways, this feels like the better version of Varsity Blues, a film that felt rushed out and directed at an audience who just wanted to see some kids party (looking at you MTv Films). It tells a very similar story, but Bergís vision focuses on the story much more than the superficiality of high school football/lifestyle.

As for the football action, itís pretty well done and marries nicely with the aforementioned visual style. And in terms of the halftime speech, Friday Night Lights features one of the best from Billy Bob Thornton. And while he doesnít directly say it, itís pretty clear this speech gave inspiration to the ďClear Eyes, Full Heart, Canít LoseĒ mantra that the television show made famous. Itís a great speech and worth watching on its own, but as the film cressendoís to this moment near the end of the film, itís clear Berg and the cast have planted the emotional seed throughout to make this scene work. Weíre invested in these kids, in Coach Gaines, and thatís a great credit to the film.

★★★★ - Loved It
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smirnoff

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Re: (American) Football
« Reply #74 on: March 04, 2019, 01:07:20 PM »
I just looked up Derek Luke, because I wanted to see what he's been up to. I was introduced to him in Spartan which came out the same year. Can you believe he was 30 when this came out?


Corndog

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Re: (American) Football
« Reply #75 on: March 04, 2019, 01:15:10 PM »
Wow, that is hard to believe. I would buy pushing mid-20s, but 30. Wow.
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Corndog

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Re: (American) Football
« Reply #76 on: March 04, 2019, 01:16:59 PM »
The Longest Yard (Peter Segal, 2005)

If you look in the encyclopedia under ďSequels, UnnecessaryĒ, The Longest Yard would be one of the first examples because it is truly unnecessary. The 1974 Burt Reynolds film was a great entry into the football movie genre, but all these years later, there isnít much to add or change to make it more current or to tell a new story. Instead, I believe the 2005 version simply exists as a vehicle for Adam Sandler and his cronies to make more money by taking a good movie and making a lazy remake of it. With a worldwide box office of close to $200 million, it worked. And I myself must admit that while watching it, seeing all the laziness and warts in the production, I was still won over by the filmís story, which is rooted in that original 1974 screenplay. Itís a far cry from that film, but not nearly as bad as is likely should be.

If youíve seen the original, the plot hasnít changed. Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) is a washed up ex-star quarterback, who quickly declined after allegedly shaving points in a betting scandal. When he steals his girlfriendís car and goes for a joyride, he lands himself in a Texas prison under a football crazed warden (James Cromwell), whose guards are recruited to play in a league he hopes to win the championship in. When the warden asks Crewe for advice, he suggests they play a tune-up game before the season, which prompts the warden to force Crewe to build a team of inmates to face the guards. After assembling a rag-tag team (Nelly, Chris Rock, Michael Irvin, Terry Crews), the inmates find motivation in the opportunity to stick it to the guards who have given them a hard time over many years.

Itíd be super easy to sit here and rip this movie to shreds, as Iím sure many critics did upon its release. Adam Sandler feels like heís totally phoning it in for this performance. He could be replaced by about a million other actors to the same effect. The story so closely resembles the original that itís such an offensive cash grab. There are some glaring directorial choices which are quite amatuer. The use of ďcelebrityĒ cameos is cheap, as is much of the rest of the film. And yet, here I am, saying I somewhat enjoyed the experience. Perhaps I was in my happy mood for the day, but I was able to largely bury the glaring issues and remember how much I liked this story, and the football action that comes with it.

The ďcelebrityĒ cameos worked for me, mostly because I didnít think Michael Irvin, Brian Bosworth, et al. were that bad of actors. They actually blended in quite nicely with the rest of the cast, although perhaps that an indictment on the rest of the cast and not a compliment to the non-actors. Even leaving the story exactly the same worked for me, although again, perhaps that safest of safe choices merely worked because making any changes would have easily revealed the hack filmmaking. Okay, okay, at this point this is probably the most negative positive review Iíve ever written, but itís because I donít fully understand why it is I like this garbage heap.

Well, I do understand. Itís because the story is as good as it is, and I guess Iím a sap for it. I liked watching Nelly running around like a magical athlete (and one with zero ball control, tuck that rock away man!). I liked watching Irvinís Deacon Moss, well, Moss-ing the guards. Even some of the childish jokes worked for me, although that could be because I like way more Adam Sandler movies than most people. Whatís bizarre is how insignificant Sandler himself is in the film. What a nothing performance in a movie that works in spite of the Paul Crewe character having no charisma, nothing to root for. Perhaps the genius stroke of bringing Burt Reynolds back as Nate Scarborough this time saves the film. Burtís presence is everything over Sandler. Please donít hate me.

★★★ - Liked It
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Corndog

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Re: (American) Football
« Reply #77 on: March 04, 2019, 01:22:31 PM »
That's it for football until April. Time to focus on Westerns for a month!
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."