The Longest Yard Reviews
The Longest Yard takes a significantly more counter-culture angle on its story than the remake and is therefore significantly more dramatic. So instead of being a ridiculously crude comedy film, it's a more real counterculture sports drama with a twist of comedy which comes out at unexpected times and lightens the mood. And when it does it proves to be quite funny, with some surprising crude jokes coming at serious times. The Longest Yard works as a serious drama and a decent comedy too by supplying surprises at many moments. Even if the humour is a bit scattershot for the film to win the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy and not exactly sufficient to ensure any consistency of laughs, it's still an entertaining feature as a comedy, a drama and as a great sports film.
The atmosphere in The Longest Yard is pretty gritty. It's hard hitting in its counterculture elements which keeps the dramatic mood active. And really, the whole story feels rather allegorical. Coming from the timeframe of 1974, the same decade that films about rebelling against corrupt authority were in their heyday and the same year that the nihilistic neo-noir masterpiece Chinatown hit cinemas, The Longest Yard perfectly embodies the public's perception of authority at the time and puts it into the context of a prison where corrupt authority is essentially a given. And yet at the same time it adds a nice comedic touch to separate it from many other prison or sports drama films and make it that little more entertaining. Plus, it gives The Longest Yard the easy ability to deviate between moments of true grit and moments of light comedy which makes it a successful dramedy. The issue with this however is that the inconsistent tone may throw viewers off, and it's all a bit scattered for a film that runs for 121 minutes at a generally slow pace, and so the experience may differ today for people in 1974. If you understand its cultural context it is a better film, but even then it is a bit of a slow venture, even if it's a well crafted and strongly written one.
Luckily, the actors supply a sufficient entertaining charm to the film both comedically and dramatically.
Burt Reynolds is a great lead. He has the powerful charisma which made him a superstar in the 1970's put into his role and his passionate line delivery is both strong and charming. He manages to keep the comedy and the drama of the story on a direct course to the end, and he ensures that the entertainment value of the film has no shortcomings because of his performance in the lead role. It's great to look back on him and see him playing NFL so young, because his heyday was truly a great time for cinema. It's sad that this is no longer the case, but there is nothing sad about his performance in The Longest Yard.
James Hampton gives a determined and strong supporting role which gives the story a certain backing of support, as well as to the protagonist Paul Crewe.
Richard Kiel is also hilarious because of how he plays himself off as being a tall yet idiotic figure, and his character is too likable and perfectly executed by the man's natural comedic talent. He is one of the funniest reasons to see The Longest Yard.
Robert Tessier does a decent job himself too.
So while The Longest Yard is long, sporadically funny and dated, it's an entertaining sports film with great political subtext which is shot and directed well, as well as benefiting from the natural charm of lead Burt Reynolds.
Almost all sports film invariably devolve into cliches. There's something elemental about sports that creates an inherent conflict that can carry a film. The good sports films are good because of their variations -- 61*'s portrayal of Maris's innate strength of character, Sugar's focus on the unheard of players, and A League of Their Own's hot women (jk). The fact that this film is set in a prison is supposed to be its interesting variation, but I don't find the prison setting to be particularly compelling or to be used in a profound way. Its attempt at a variation is also Burt Reynolds's character, Paul Crewe. Crewe is a wise-cracking, devil-may-care kind of guy, and Reynolds made a career playing parts like this. He does it well, handsome, charming, and witty.
Overall, The Longest Yard's attempts at breaking sports films' cliches aren't bad, but the film doesn't amount to anything extraordinary.
Just saw the original "Longest Yard" -- or, as it's apparently called in the UK, "The Mean Machine". Yeah, imagine my confusion, especially knowing about the Adam Sandler remake!
This is the second American football movie I watched today, after revisiting "The Blind Side"! :D And I... didn't like it. I'm sorry: this seems to be a very popular movie, but it didn't do a thing for me at all.
I am *not* a sports fan myself, but that doesn't necessarily mean I won't like a sports *movie*. It all depends on whether or not I like the characters enough to cheer for them. But here, I just didn't care. They're all prisoners -- hell, we even hear about some of the grisly crimes they committed -- so why *should* I care?
Even in the climax, when (spoilers) Crewe keeps going just to defy the warden, I *still* didn't care. And, since I don't understand the rules to American football, the game itself made no sense to me.
On the whole, I just found the movie dull and far too long.
My rating: 40%