The Winning Season Reviews
Great Film! This is not a bad film at all, It was shockingly impressive and good. Sam Rockwell was so hilarious and into his role, he's a very talented actor. He seems to be the reason why this film is pretty good. He's basically a drunken asshole, very unlikable, but he completely draws you in so there's a real emotional connection for the dramatic elements. And as he has demonstrated before, his physical comedy antics are perfect making the comedy scenes pretty funny. "The Winning Season" has been done many times before, but here they managed to do it without being cheesy, while providing quality scenes of drama and comedy. If you like the genre, it is certainly worth a look. Highly recommended!
In a Hoosier town, boys' basketball is king. Bill is a former athlete and high-school coach who drinks too much, rarely sees his daughter from an old marriage, and busses tables at a local cafe. A friend who's now a principal offers him a job coaching girls; Bill takes it without much spirit. Six come to practice; one has a broken foot. They're awful in their first game, and Bill has to figure out, with help from Donna, the school's burly bus driver, if he actually can coach girls. They respond, and Bill suddenly has a family of sorts, just as his own relationship with his daughter worsens. With a winning season in reach, will Bill blow this chance?
Director: James C. Strouse
Summary: Searching for a coach for his hapless girls' basketball team, school principal Terry (Rob Corddry) turns to his friend, Bill (Sam Rockwell), a divorced, drunken dishwasher who isn't even involved in his own daughter's life. But Bill's life changes as he bonds with the team. He develops a special connection with team captain Abbie (Emma Roberts), and while the girls start winning, Bill and his players still have a lot to overcome off the court.
My Thoughts: "This is a great dark quirky comedy. I really enjoyed the relationships the girls formed together. How in the end, they had each other's backs and created a sisterhood. It's kind of like a basketball version of "Bad News Bears". Sam Rockwell did a great job as Bill. He started off as an asshole but ended being a great male figure for these girls that he hadn't been for his own daughter. They taught each other a great deal in the movie and it is a great inspirational story. All the girls were great in the film. A good film to see with your teenagers."
With everything I just said in mind, I still didn't hate this movie. I actually liked it.... I think. Sam Rockwell is good in everything he does and this in no exception. I'm also a Rob Coddry fan and even though he doesn't have a big role, his presence alone helped the movie. I'm also beginning to like Emma Roberts, although I don't find her acting to be great. She has a really likable way about her.
Not a great movie or probably even good one, but it's entertaining and it does have some heart.
A comedy centered on a has-been coach who is given a shot at redemption when he's asked to run his local high school's girls basketball team.
At least The Winning Season knows that the whole down-on-his-luck coach and group of misfit girls basketball team who learn about life and winning together type of story has been done before. They did unfortunately follow the exact same formula, but with a hint of whimsy and self-awareness, it's above average for the genre. Emma Roberts and the other girls comprising the team actually come across as real teenage girls. I found them cute and funny. As a big fan of Sam Rockwell, he seems to be the reason why this film is pretty good. He's basically a drunken asshole, very unlikable, but he completely draws you in so there's a real emotional connection for the dramatic elements. And as he has demonstrated before, his physical comedy antics are perfect making the comedy scenes pretty funny. The Winning Season has been done many times before, but here they managed to do it without being cheesy, while providing quality scenes of drama and comedy. If you like the genre, it is certainly worth a look.
Sam Rockwell is readily introduced as a drunk who works nights as a busboy. He is quickly reconnected to a former classmate/athlete who runs their Alma Mater and is desperate to find a new coach for the girls basketball team. So, he takes the job, but hates it and doesn't take the girls seriously. Meanwhile, his daughter who plays basketball for another school, hates him. So, the story pretty much writes itself after that, except watching Rockwell's tenacity as a coach and his teams dedication to him even after he gets fired is really something, and the overall turnaround for the character and a well executed ending make it a worthy view.
First of all, I do give it full marks for story. It could have very easily been a rehash of the same old sports movie routine and while it still had those common elements, its individuality outshines its derivative genre aspects. That combined with Sam Rockwell holding it down in the lead really makes the movie worth watching.
It's not perfect. a lot of the acting from the girls is corny and forced. Not great dialogue may be a factor, but the performances at times are reality-show-awkward. The story is not particularly clever, but original enough to not just re-watch Coach Carter, or something. Unless you want to have a battle of the Sams. (Nick Fury against Justin Hammer?) Thankfully, it's not so overwhelmingly awful that the really entertaining parts can't be enjoyed and overall I give it a solid B.