Paper Lion - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Paper Lion Reviews

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August 15, 2014
7.5/10. Compellingly gritty and brutally realistic portrayal of the sport. Very entertaining debut by Alan Alda. 8-15-2014.
Super Reviewer
½ October 5, 2012
Time-worn but still entertaining. Lauren Hutton is absolutely gorgeous!
August 22, 2010
Served up by TCM at 3:45am as its graveyard steak special - and the meat was pretty tough to chew.

Alan Alda, early on his career, here plays the incompetent neophyte quarterback in this farcical and unentertaining adaptation of George Plimpton's experience training alongside the 1963 Detroit Lions. Though Plimpton was only allowed to call a few plays in scrimmage, this adaptation in search of a story-worth-telling places Alda in the final moments of a pre-season game with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The film's payoff is seeing Alda give ground and eat turf on 1st and 2nd downs then, while scrambling but unable to find his wide-open receiver, knocking himself out by running head-first into the goal post. Hardee-har-har.

Most people will consider neither that, nor Alda's subsequent resuscitation with smelling salts, to be adequate reward for their 100 minutes of patient viewing.

Lauren Hutton, bouncing up and down on the sidelines in her career debut, isn't very interesting, unless the viewer fancies the novelty of the gap between her front teeth.

The most tasty part of the meal is the occasional close-up look-sees of the vintage Lions doing their thing and the cameos from gridiron greats such as Frank Gifford, Alex Karras, and Vince Lombardi.

Diehard football fans might well be fascinated by the paperback that probes the nature of the players and the game - but it's doubtful the same can be said of this cinematic retelling focused squarely upon Plimpton's self-indulgence.

Ultimately, Plimpton carved a career (of sorts) out of such self-indulgence, dealing out the insider's view of several other sports over several other novels. Truly, the story this film documents is what doors of opportunity will be thrown wide open for a ne'er-do-well - - if he's prepped at Phillips Exeter, graduated Harvard, taken tea with the Kennedys, and done a bit of step-and-fetch work for the CIA.

REcOMMENDATION: At 3rd and 32, Alda should have punted - and you should punt here as well.
½ December 10, 2009
Only the Detroit Lions would take on a Sports Illustrated writer @ training camp & let him play in a game. I guess it couldn't get much worse for them. Were they as bad back then as they are now because they suck now (& have for awhile)'s almost an embarrassment to root for them. Fortunately George Plimpton sucked ass too; it's kinda better he didn't rise to the occasion. A great bitter sweet ending.
April 28, 2009
A lost gem from the late 1960s featuring a fine performance from a very young Alan Alda as real life sportswriter George Plympton, who became famous in the 1960s for actually attempting to play professional sports, from being a goalie for the Boston Bruins to fighting 3 rounds against Sugar Ray Robinson. "Paper Tiger" is the story of Plympton's brief stay at the Detroit Lions training camp and his eventual 15 minutes playing quarterback in an actual game. This is not a perfect film by any means but is a fine showcase for Alda's talents. Also many professional athletes such as Alex Karras and Frank Gifford lend their real experiences to the film. Lauren Hutton is there as girlfriend/scenery but offers little to the film. Keep an eye out for a young Roy Scheider playing football in the park early in the film.
July 14, 2008
Austin Powers meets NFL Films. Alan Alda was pretty well cast as Mr. Plimpton (probably worth a watch just to see that), but it's so, well, 1968, with the shag-a-delic nightclubs and the interminable scenes of the "real" NFL via NFL Films. Still, it seems pretty faithful to the book, even if it's oozing filler with Lauren Hutton looking longingly at the gangly Alan Alda and - of all people - David Doyle auditioning for his future role in Charlie's Angels.
July 11, 2008
Sometimes I just like to watch whatever is showing on TCM. Paper Lion was an amusing, but a mostly uninspired sports movie. It was pleasing to see something a little more realistic, but it just wasn't very memorable in the end. Maybe that's why it's not even listed on Rotten Tomatoes. If you could even find this flick, there is no reason to spend any time with it.
December 18, 2006
My economics teacher from high school used to play runningback for the Detroit Lions and he would show us this video all the time. He was so proud of the like two lines that he said. Look out for him, his name is Tommy Vaughn. He looks much younger in this film. Nowadays, he's just a fat old turtle.
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