UK Release date: 3rd August 2012
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 14th April 2013.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I hadn’t heard about this documentary until I found it in the TV listings the other day. Although I’m not a fan of Grid-Iron football (I am British after all), I decided to give it a look. What I discovered was a fantastically inspiring tale of a high school football team and how their coach turns them around from a bunch of losers to a winning team despite all the odds being stacked against them. It won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2011 and I can see why!
So what’s it all about? Well a North Memphis high school football team, the Manassas Tigers haven’t won a game in almost fourteen years. Their coach, Bill Courtney is determined to change all that. There are many problems off the field with his players getting into trouble and even being arrested in a few cases. But he is a determined man and he wants the best for the team. They have one key player, O.C. Brown and he is struggling academically and so they arrange for him to live with one of the coaches for a few days a week so he can get the extra tuition he needs. No tutor is willing to go to O.C.’s neighbourhood it seems. As the season progresses and the team begins to put a string of wins together coach Courtney can see they might have a crack at the play-offs. This is important because no team from that school has ever won a play-off game. I’ll leave it there; don’t want to give the ending away.
I found this a very inspirational film with insights into the lives of the players and the coaches alike. Admittedly, a lot of the focus is on Coach Courtney, but we do get glimpses of the lives of the players too. Not only star player O.C. Brown, but players like Montrail 'Money' Brown, who struggles with a bad injury part-way through the season. It was great to see how both the coach and his team-mates stood by him throughout. Also there was bad boy Chavis Daniels, who had problems with discipline but overcame them to become an iatrical part of the team. Even if, like me, you’re not particularly a fan of the game this inspirational film is well worth a look!
SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
My score: 8.9/10.
IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 2,299 votes when this review was written).
MetaScore: 71/100: (Based on 29 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 88/100 (based on 3,015 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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