Another feel good sports comedy where two old high school football players get to relive the final they lost because one of them didn’t catch the final ball. For anyone who doesn’t know about American football, it doesn’t really matter. The rules of the game are quite simple, that’s why american football has more chances of making a good movie than, say, a game like soccer, or cricket, what the hell (baseball is an exception, because everyone knows the rule of that game anyways). It doesn’t really matter if you know the rules anyways for another reason; it’s not like we don’t know who’s going to win. It’s a sports feel good comedy and it was filmed in the eighties…’nuff said.
There is little to say about this movie. It’s directed by the guy that did Stop! Or Mom Will Shoot and had it best with the Tom Hanks family movie Turner & Hooch. He’s a studio director, he leads the studio projects comfortably home. It is quite a ‘comfortable’ movie, in the sense that there is nothing special about it. That should be pretty clear to all that watch it anyways. From the start, the pace is slow so that everyone can understand every little aspect of why these grown men should care about a game they played so long ago. One, they do it to give their small quiet, even dead town some dignity. Two, they do it because they want to impress their wives, who are on the verge of leaving them, though we don’t believe that aspect for one second, and not just because the director makes it obvious for all to see that you can see it in the women’s eyes that they are still in love.
All in all, there is one certain aspect that is quite charming, and to be fair, there usually is in most sports comedies. It’s also the third reason why that game is so important for the two men who go through so much trouble in setting it up. That is, the necessity to go back to a time when they felt they had the world in the palm of their hands, in their youth, when they were happy and felt important. When we first meet the characters played by Robin Williams (featuring his incredibly hairy arms) and Kurt Russell, they are losers. Robin Williams is working for his father in law, who just so happens to be the biggest (and richest) supporter of the team that shattered his dreams long ago. Kurt Russell is a garage owner whose wife wants to leave him, and who is terribly behind on his mortgage payments. Williams spends hours on end watching the footage of him missing the catch on that fatal game. Russell lives for his legends, and loves people going up to him and asking him about his various records.
It is charming, hence, to see a whole town want to relive the times of their youth. They even get to do that, particularly in the big dance before the game that the town organises, where grown men and women all act like teens, and relive the moment that not only reminds them of their happiest and thoughtless times, but also makes them fall in love again. Incidentally, this is the bit that ensures the movie its target audience; sentimental adults who can think back at the time of their youth with nostalgia.
WATCH FOR THE MOMENT – The bit where Robin Williams persuades Kurt Russell to replay the game by taking him to the football pitch, and asks him to pose. The hero and the follower. The single scene where the importance of the game really transpires.