The Winning Season


The Winning Season

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 22


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,941
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Movie Info

Set in suburban Indiana, the film stars Rockwell as Bill Greaves, an adult misfit recruited by the local high school principal (Corddry) to coach the school's floundering girls' basketball team. Initially retreating from what appears to be a hopeless situation, Bill perseveres and manages to help the team and its captain (Roberts) ratchet up its competitive spirit, while the girls offer Bill a renewed life focus. THE WINNING SEASON also stars Shareeka Epps, Emily Rios and Margo Martindale.-- (C) Lionsgate


Melissa Graver
as New Rome Forward
Clarke Thorell
as Prairie Hill Coach
Rhonda Keyser
as Uno's Waitress
Sara Chase
as Outback Waitress
Colby Minifie
as Teen Girl
Colleen Broomall
as New Rome Center
Jennifer Regan
as Concerned Mother
Devin Ratray
as Security Officer
Ed Jewett
as Announcer
Marceline Hugot
as Dr. Parsons
E.J. Carroll
as Male Announcer
Caitlin Colford
as Prairie Hill's Center
Lynn Mancinelli
as Cheerleader/Dancer No. 1
Pauline Sherrow
as Cheerleader/Dancer No. 2
Angelina Aucello
as Cheerleader/Dancer No. 3
Robert Keir
as Arcade Boy
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Critic Reviews for The Winning Season

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (11)

  • In its final lap The Winning Season collapses into a sentimental farce that even Mr. Rockwell, now playing the clown, cannot redeem from cringe-inducing hokum.

    Sep 3, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • Rockwell does a typically fine job -- he's funny, touching and appalling -- as an alcoholic mess of a former high school basketball coach who's been reduced to washing dishes in a restaurant.

    Sep 3, 2010 | Rating: 3/4
  • The story deepens through the clownish, heartbreaking exertions of Rockwell's gruff misfit, still working things out at the final buzzer.

    Sep 2, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A predictable and cliched dramady.

    Sep 2, 2010 | Full Review…
  • Forget AA; according to the movies, there's no better cure for alcoholism or depression than good ol' precollegiate athletic coaching.

    Sep 1, 2010 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Eric Hynes

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The Winning Season respects its misfits (and its audience) by not stripping away their foibles in the service of sports-movie clichés.

    Aug 31, 2010 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Winning Season

  • Jan 20, 2015
    I've decided that Sam Rockwell should probably be in every movie from now on. At least films that take place in this side of the world. I'm sure he'd look out of place in a British rom-com or an existential French drama. But for films on this side of the world, Sam Rockwell is perfect for absolutely everything. He's one of those guys that can make a shitty movie somewhat better. He might not be able to single-handedly save the film, but he can alleviate the pressure. Make things a little easier to watch, if you will. He actually did this in The Sitter, that would've been a considerably worse movie without him in it. But he was the only character, as far as I can remember, that made me laugh. And I think that he, honestly, raises this film past its normal sports movies trappings. That's not to say the movie isn't full of cliches, because it is. Bill learning something about himself as he coaches these girls basketball. So really, they taught HIM. That type of ridiculous shit you expect in sports films. I think the film is, honestly, at odds with each other. Because it's clearly got this independent budget, it doesn't look very expensive, nor does it feel like. In some parts it's like a character study of this alcoholic who decides to give the sport he once loved another shot as a coach and in other parts it's a silly, feel-good, and sentimental, sports film like Hoosiers or Rudy. It doesn't work to be honest. It's just two different philosophies taking shape in the same movie and, because of that, it doesn't really work as well as it probably could've. The cast, outside of an inspired choice in Margo Martindale and, obviously, Sam Rockwell is fine. Outside of Rooney Mara, none of the girls in this film have proven to be an elite actress, if you will. Emma Roberts is good, but she's not gonna win any Independent Spirit awards, at least I don't think. Emily Rios has proven to be good in Breaking Bad, but nowhere else really. But the cast is pretty decent all things considered. They all have their own little stories, but they feel a little bit sitcom-y and one-dimensional. Of course, they don't spend a lot of time on them so it's irrelevant in the long run. It's just done to flesh out the girls' characters a little bit more, so I get it. Of course, by the end, the film turns into every sports movie you've ever seen. Quite a bit of sentimentality to boot. It doesn't really work because, even though the film tries to build a connection between the girls and their coach, it feels really hollow. It didn't feel natural or organic. It just felt like it was the next step of the film. At first he's an asshole, then he starts warming up to them as he sees their hard effort paying off, and by the end he loves them. You've seen it before and you will see it again. It just helps to remind you of better films in the same genre. And I'm not even that big of a fan of these inspirational sports films. They just feel like they're cut from the same cloth. The only difference would be the sport that's portrayed in the film. But this is a decent movie, don't get me wrong, it's only average at best, but it's not terrible at all. It certainly takes a bit before it gets going, it was really rough at the start there, but it turns into a more than watchable movie. Plus, any film that has Sam Rockwell dancing is ok in my book.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2012
    Sam Rockwell and Margo Martindale are excellent but the film is an ordinary impowerment story that's been done a million times. It does have a positive message about being true to who you really are though. Not a bad film but very average.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Dec 16, 2011
    I didnt expect to like this movie. The start was a little slow, and I wasn't sure how well put together this movie was going to be. Before too long, however, I was all on board! Very dry, quirky, understated humor here, which seems to be Sam Rockwell's forte, and I love that. The girls were fantastic. Just an all round fun Independent film.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 24, 2011
    ~What's an onion butt? ~It brings tears to your eyes!
    Ida K Super Reviewer

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