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The Replacements (2000)
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Review Date: July 30, 2000
Director: Howard Deutch
Writer: Vince McKewin
Producers: Dylan Sellers
Actors:
Keanu Reeves as Shane Falco
Gene Hackman as Jimmy McGinty
Brooke Langton as Annabelle Farrell
Plot:
A football player's strike forces team owners to recruit everyday men with football experience to make up their professional teams. The Washington Sentinels bring in a legendary coach to enroll their players, most of whom turn out to be major underdogs with unique styles. So can this team of misfits lead their organization into the playoffs?
Critique:
The most difficult reviews to write are for those films which aren't great, aren't bad, but fall somewhere in between. This movie is the perfect example of such a film. It's an okay movie which starts off slow, offers a few chuckles here and there, many colorful characters, Keanu in decent form and sexy cheerleaders all stacked in a mediocre plot filled with cliché upon cliché. In fact, there isn't one original thing about this movie. When I stopped counting the cliches, I had personally come up with "the underdog cliché", the "old coach given a second chance cliché", "the final play decides all cliché", "the motley crew of characters rising above all challenges cliché"... And unlike Oliver Stone's ANY GIVEN SUNDAY (7/10), this movie doesn't make you feel like you're really part of the game either. It doesn't really give you any real insight as to the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of the football league or offer any rich acting performances. In fact, it basically makes every single real professional football player seem like a stuck-up, egotistical, heartless asshole (granted, I'm sure some of them really are like that, but every single one of them?!).

Having said that, the film doesn't really pretend to be anything more than what it is either. It's fluff, pure and simple. The movie is packed, and I mean packed with various rockin' tunes prime to make you want to boogie. At least 20-30 songs must be featured in this movie including such favorites as Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll", "Takin' Care of Business", "Good Vibrations", "I Will Survive", "Unbelievable", as well as another CD worth of others.

I also enjoyed all of its characters, believe it or not...despite much of their one-dimensionality. Jon Favreau was particularly good as the extremely aggressive player, but most of the others also kept me entertained, including Orlando Jones as the butter-fingered receiver, Rhys Ifans as the Welsh star kicker who doesn't mind a smoke even while he's playing and the rest of the tubby bunch also. Their camaraderie is what probably kept me in this game, despite the tepid attempt at romance between Keanu and the very pretty Brooke Langton (who incidentally, subscribed to the ol' "I don't date football players cliché" early on in the film...) and the very plain directing style. Gene Hackman was also solid, but mostly in a "punching in his acting card"-type of way. But in the end, how could anyone really dislike any movie that replaces the regular cheerleaders with...well, lap-dancing strippers! Yippee! Of course, you can't miss the cheerleaders because the director makes sure to pan over to them at every other stoppage in play. But hey, for fluff, I suppose this film works. For a comedy, it's so-so. For substance, reality, drama, romance or any kind of originality, it doesn't. Your turn to choose!
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
Strikeback
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12:33PM on 01/23/2006
This movie is by far nothing original; I just caught the premiere on TBS. I mean the has-beens, never weres, and basically losers coming together under a head coach and beating the odds has been done for almost every sport in a movie.

But I like these movies; they make you feel all good inside and warm and cuddly, okay maybe I went too far there, but nevertheless I still like them. Yes there is the stereotypical problems: wide receiver who can't catch worth a damn, a little ethnic/racial
This movie is by far nothing original; I just caught the premiere on TBS. I mean the has-beens, never weres, and basically losers coming together under a head coach and beating the odds has been done for almost every sport in a movie.

But I like these movies; they make you feel all good inside and warm and cuddly, okay maybe I went too far there, but nevertheless I still like them. Yes there is the stereotypical problems: wide receiver who can't catch worth a damn, a little ethnic/racial tension, and the team leader who's afraid to lead. But these writers still manage to come up with some pretty original ideas. The deaf tight end took me by suprise.

And plus, with Gene Hackman as the coach, it reminded me of my favorite sports movie: Hoosiers.

Coupla of other good notes about this: Jon Favreau as an overdetermined defender, the replacement players who are packing heat, and strippers as cheerleaders (KICKASS!)

Again, nothing new here, but if you like these feel good movies about sports with plenty of laughs - watch it.
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