What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie includes gritty scenes of South Philly in the 1970s, when jobs were scarce, strikes were rampant, and times were desperate. There are also references to the death of Frank's wife. There's some mild profanity, smoking, drinking, and sports violence.
What's the story?
The year is 1976, and things look grim for Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg). After his wife dumps him and he loses his teaching job, the 30-year-old Philly resident learns that the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear), is having open tryouts for the city's pro football team. He has nothing to lose, so he joins dozens of other hopefuls with big dreams. Amazingly, Papale makes the team and goes from fan to player in one fell swoop. Against the wishes of the other coaches and trainers, Vermeil decides to let Papale play. Pretty soon, Papale's a true hometown hero -– an everyman who has the whole town standing behind him, including his working-stiff dad (Kevin Conway), and the attractive Janet Cantwell (Elizabeth Banks). But Vince's sandlot football mates have mixed reactions—a few live vicariously through him, another is jealous and worries about losing Vince to fame and fortune.
Is it any good?
Sure, it's the classic sports-underdog-defying-the-odds movie that's been done a million times. But it works, which is why studios keep churning them out and why we keep flocking to see them. This one has the added benefit of true life –- Vince Papale is a real person, and this story really happened. And like prize-fighter Jim Braddock in Cinderella Man, Vince gave hope to a lot of people struggling through tough times. They needed something –- and someone –- to cheer for.
The film captures the gritty, financially-pressed times of south Philly in the mid-1970s. Lots of wood paneling, shag carpet, and cheesy garage-band music give it an authentic feel. The football scenes, filmed in cooperation with the NFL and real football players, are intense –- you can almost hear bones breaking. Not only that, Wahlberg is an awesome athlete who did all his own stunts, so those bruises and welts are the real deal. And Vince is a likeable guy. You really want him to succeed -– from the first scenes where his wife dumps him to the local-guy-makes-good ending. Greg Kinnear scores a touchdown as Coach Vermeil, and Elizabeth Banks is surely destined to be a big star. With an inspiring story, snappy dialogue, true-to-life characters, and plenty of goosebump scenes, this movie's a winner.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about how our spirit and determination can get us through the rough patches. How do you handle it when it seems like the world is plotting against you? Should you give up when things aren't looking good? Should you let others give up? How did playing on the Eagles help Vince overcome his doubts about his own abilities?
|Theatrical release date:||August 25, 2006|
|DVD release date:||December 19, 2006|
|Cast:||Elizabeth Banks, Greg Kinnear, Kevin Conway, Mark Wahlberg|
|Studio:||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Topics:||Sports and martial arts, Misfits and underdogs|
|Run time:||104 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||sports action and some mild language|