The Winning Season - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Winning Season Reviews

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½ January 31, 2016
So on Netflix, I was looking through the genres, and I found out that The Winning Season is on it which is surprising because I've never seen this film on Netflix before, and it made me very excited to watch it as I've haven't seen it in a long time, and so has my sister. The Winning Season is better than I remember it and it also shows that you can do a formulaic film vey well. Sam Rockwell is fantastic in this, he's one of the best parts of the film, and he has a hilarious scene of him dancing. The girl varsity cast are really good, and the characters are memorable. It has a a lot of funny moments, and the basketball scenes are exciting to watch and are unpredictable. The movie does a lot better of making an unlikeable main character likable after watching a recent sport film I watched that is Forever Strong. The plot has been done before, but with great chemistry from the coach and his team and some great performances, there's really barely nothing that they could've done better.
July 3, 2015
This was a very upbringing movie
February 25, 2015
Very fun, moving movie.
Super Reviewer
½ January 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.
January 10, 2015
I'm struggling to think of a movie that Rockwell hasn't been excellent in.
September 2, 2014
Cliché but charming.
September 1, 2014
Made me appreciate the term "onion butt"
½ February 27, 2014
Starts off great and everything, but then it starts to promote gay rights in high school.
½ February 16, 2014
Sam Rockwell is always watchable. This movie is just dark enough dealing with high-school girls. It's funny.
February 8, 2014
Love Rockwell so much and this is another fine perfomance from him. Dont know why this film disappeared as its actually rather good and worth a watch.
Nice to see Margo Matindale in a star role too
February 5, 2014
shet in not se enithing
February 4, 2014
witty and alert, would see it again
October 2, 2013
I needed a net-fix so I gave Winning Season a try solely because of Sam Rockwell. I was fully prepared for the movie to be a blatant Bad News Bears Rip off so when it started out that way I didn't pay any attention. Surprisingly, The movie comes into its own fairly quickly and though Rockwell is certainly the strength of the film I found myself pretty interested and actually enjoying the movie.

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.
September 18, 2013
typical "okay" movie. predictable and forgettable but sweet with a likeable cast.
½ September 16, 2013
A little cheesy and sappy, but Rockwell delivers an amazing performance as usual.
July 18, 2013
Sam Rockwell is a great actor, will certainly see this
June 2, 2013
Not your typical sports film. The coach is VERY dysfunctional, but everything tidy's up in the end with a funny final game.
½ March 3, 2013
This struck a chord with me for some reason. Rockwell is one of my favorite actors and he's a genius in this. If you have Netflix, you might be interested in it. Critics were mixed about it, but fuck them. Their clout and profession is going away in the age of Twitter anyway. Good. Now they'll have to get real jobs.
January 5, 2013
Automatically gets two stars for Mr. Rockwell.
½ December 19, 2012
Slightly-above-average coming of age film, but it's more about the coach finding redemption (Sam Rockwell, fantastic as ever). Some funny & touching scenes, considering you only gradually learn about the characters. Well done, for an unheard of indie!
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