REVIEW: ‘The Phantom of the Open’ is a below average biopic

Some sports biopics inspire, others make you laugh, and there are those that do both.

“Phantom of the Open,” unfortunately, isn’t such a film.

The movie tells the true story of Maurice Flitcroft (Mark Rylance) a middle class shipping worker in an English port town. Upon hearing that the company he works for may be downsizing in the years to come, he begins considering what else he can do in life.

After a night of watching golf on TV, he decides to try his luck at the sport, entering the 1976 Open Championship. The only problem is Flitcroft is a complete amateur entering a professional competition. Despite this, he goes forward with support from his family.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Phantom of the Open’ is a below average biopic”

REVIEW: ‘Hustle’ has enough highlights to be worth seeing

As a Timberwolves fan, I was happy to see Minnesota star basketball player Anthony Edwards featured in this film.

Unfortunately, he plays an antagonistic character in “Hustle,” so the audience isn’t supposed to like him. Quite the dilemma.

The main focus of “Hustle,” though, is Stanley Sugerman (Adam Sandler), a scout for the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers team. At the film’s start, Sugerman appears to have a chance at moving up from a scout to an assistant coach, but the promotion is dashed when a change of ownership takes place.

Sugerman is at first upset about having to go abroad to scout players again, but his mentality changes when he comes across a street-ball player named Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez) in Spain. Sugerman knows it’s a long shot because the 76ers don’t appear entirely interested in Cruz because of his lack of association play, but Sandler’s character still brings him to the United States, convinced that the player can get drafted by a pro team.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Hustle’ has enough highlights to be worth seeing”

Great (fictional) coaches in sports movies

The NCAA Final Four and Frozen Four both take place in the next week.

Then, the NBA and NHL playoffs are right around the corner. As is the NFL Draft, with the Super Bowl in the rear view. Simply put, there are a lot of sports events taking place this time of year.

With that in mind, I decided to take a look at some of the best fictional coaches featured in sports movies. I mean completely fictional, too, so no made up coaches for films inspired by true stories.

Continue reading “Great (fictional) coaches in sports movies”

REVIEW: ‘American Underdog’ let down by overstuffed story, weak script

Greatest Show this is not.

“American Underdog” tells the story of Kurt Warner. A man who, despite many setbacks, managed to earn a roster spot on a National Football League team, the St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams, and lead them to a Super Bowl championship.

Warner is portrayed by Zachary Levi, and the film follows how he played at the University of Northern Iowa, met his wife Brenda (Anna Paquin) and worked to make an NFL roster, mainly by building highlights in the Arena Football League.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘American Underdog’ let down by overstuffed story, weak script”

REVIEW: ‘King Richard’ can please crowds but could have been more

The Prince of Bel-Air has ascended to a higher monarch level, now having the title of king.

Will Smith is Richard Williams in this new sports drama, the father of tennis greats Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena Williams (Demi Singleton) who had the nickname of King Richard in Compton, Calif. The film begins with Richard helping his daughters with tennis practices, and making an effort to find them a professional coach, as he knows their potential.

From there, the movie follows how Richard worked to advance his daughters’ talents, while also halting their careers from advancing too fast. The movie also explores how Richard got along with Venus’ coaches and his marriage with Oracene Williams (Aunjanue Ellis).

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘King Richard’ can please crowds but could have been more”

REVIEW: ‘Space Jam’s’ New Legacy is mostly lousy

Do you love Warner Bros.? And I mean really love Warner Bros.? Then do I have the movie for you.

Warner Bros. has brought back its “Space Jam” concept, this time swapping His Airness with King James. In this film, Lebron James is having trouble connecting with his son Dom (Cedric Joe), who’s more interested in video game design than basketball, something that the NBA star isn’t excited about.

The future hall of famer gets a crash course in video games, though, when he visits the WB studio, which has a proposal for him to star in their movies through a program created by an artificial intelligence named Al G. Rythm (Don Cheadle). When James turns the idea down, Al G. Rythm is upset and decides to bring both Dom and James into the digital realm. where he challenges the NBA player to a game of basketball, against video game characters his son invented.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Space Jam’s’ New Legacy is mostly lousy”

REVIEW: Despite problems, ‘Mighty Orphans’ still cross the goal line for the win

I guess now I know who to thank for the high scoring Big 12 games on Saturdays.

Luke Wilson is Coach Rusty Russell in “12 Mighty Orphans.” As the name implies, the movie centers on a group of orphans who live at a Texas home for children and teenagers without families. Sadly, their home has seen better days and one of the educators, Frank (Wayne Knight), mistreats the students.

However, their fortunes begin to change when Russell arrives at the school in the midst of the Great Depression, along with his wife Juanita (Vinessa). On top of both Russells being teachers, Rusty also has experience as a football coach. He decides to apply that and forms a team. As orphans, though, the unit has to fight for respect both on and off the field.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Despite problems, ‘Mighty Orphans’ still cross the goal line for the win”

REVIEW: ‘Dream Horse’ won’t be in award races, but it can still please viewers

The races featured in “Dream Horse” aren’t related to the American Triple Crown competitions, but it still feels like the right time to watch this flick.

“Dream Horse” takes place in a small town in Wales and revolves around a group of residents who decide to invest in a racing thoroughbred. Mainly, the movie follows Jan (Toni Collette), the woman who comes up with the idea and convinces other community members to pitch in.

Together, they breed a horse and because it was a group of residents coming aligning for a cause, they name it Dream Alliance. The proposal initially seems like a risky gamble until Dream Alliance becomes a success on the track.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Dream Horse’ won’t be in award races, but it can still please viewers”

REVIEW: ‘Boogie’ is a bust

I’m a big fan of basketball and really excited for March Madness.

That didn’t help me like this movie any better.

“Boogie” tells the story of Alfred “Boogie” Chin (Taylor Takahashi), a senior who just started at a new high school to play basketball in the hopes that he will get recruited to a Division I school with a full scholarship. As he starts out at the new school, he finds himself a new friend in Richie (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) and  a romantic interest in  Eleanor (Taylour Paige).

While he’s great on the court, though, Alfred is also rather cocky and isn’t exactly a team player. This doesn’t make his parents all too happy, and it only leads to more tension since his mom and dad don’t see specifically eye-to-eye on the direction of his basketball career.Despite the issues, though, Alfred is determined to push forward to his dream of the NBA.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Boogie’ is a bust”

REVIEW: ‘The Way Back’ is enjoyable for fans of sports and cinema

Ben Affleck’s movie goes for the three point shot, at the buzzer, and… It’s not too bad.

While “The Way Back” prominently features basketball, it’s less a sports movie about basketball and much more about a man trying to pick up the pieces of his life. The movie follows Jack, a construction worker who was at one point an excellent basketball player in high school with a full ride to join the University of Kansas Jayhawks program.

His path in life took a different direction, though. The movie picks up with Jack now suffering from alcoholism after experiencing a personal hardship. He’s given a chance at escapism, though, when he’s hired by his high school to coach the basketball team midseason. Despite not having the best players, Jack’s coaching is effective and he’s able to help the team find success. Unfortunately, he still deals with drinking too much.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Way Back’ is enjoyable for fans of sports and cinema”