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The Longshots
DVD disk
7 years ago By: Mathew Plale
The Longshots order
Director:
Fred Durst

Actors:
Keke Palmer
Ice Cube
Tasha Smith

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The true story of a young student (Palmer) who, with the help of her uncle/coach (Cube), became the first female participant in the Pop Warner football championship.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Last week, on the DVD Clinic’s homepage, I opened an article for The Express: “No more inspirational sports movies based on true stories. First, they're all the same. Second, they're just not that good. And third, half of them aren't all that inspiring.”

After seeing The Longshots, I stand by it. It is neither different, good, nor inspiring. Yes, the story is “inspired by a true story,” so the subject should be (and has been) applauded. That subject is Jasmine Plummer, a teen from Harvey, Illinois who, pigtails-and-all, went on to become the first female to play in the Pop Warner football tournament.

For the movie, the story is relocated to Minden, a town lined with boarded-up storefronts and factories. With dreams of leaving the town, Curtis Plummer (Ice Cube) is saving money to move to Miami. So far, his funds are a few ones and fives in a beat-up lockbox. His plans are sidelined when his sister (Tasha Smith) needs a babysitter for her daughter, Jasmine (Keke Palmer).

It’s here, too obviously, the story develops. Curtis finds Jasmine has a great throwing arm and begs the Minden Brown’s coach (Matt Craven) to put her on the team. And, like most underdog stories go, Jasmine gets her proverbial balls busted, earns her teammates’ respect, and makes it to the Big Game.

If there’s one remarkable thing about The Longshots, it’s not in the story. It’s that the talented Keke Palmer (2006’s Akeelah and the Bee) would want to play on the same team as two former hip-hop heavyweights, Ice Cube (N.W.A. and solo) and director Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit), when her career is just starting to take form.

Is my one-and-a-half star rating too harsh? Not at all. What Jasmine accomplished with her uncle is a nice (some might say “heartwarming,” but I won’t let you fall for that) little story, but the entire movie—complete with a small town that comes together, a reluctant mentor, and “even if we lose, we still win” moral—has all been done before. What’s the point?
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes (19:23): There are 13 here (viewable separately or as a bunch), none of which offer much of anything that would have improved the feature. Skip them.

Jasmine Plummer: The Real Longshot (6:44): The inspiration for The Longshots is under the spotlight here, with comments from Ice Cube, Fred Durst, Keke Palmer, her uncle, and Plummer herself mixed with footage from the movie and the premiere.

Making The Longshots (8:06): This standard featurette combines on-set footage with interviews. A quick enough watch.

In A Conversation with Ice Cube (5:30), the rapper-turned-“actor” clutches a football and discusses shooting The Longshots, while in A Conversation with Fred Durst (7:26), the rapper/rocker-turned-“director” shows his passionate side and appreciation for Ice Cube and Jasmine Plummer.

Theatrical Trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If you've seen one sports movie "inspired by a true story," you've seen them all. The Longshots, despite featuring the promising Keke Palmer, is no different, though it could appeal to a younger crowd.
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