Running To Inspirational Messages In This Okay Sports Movies

Run the Race Poster

 

Sports movies, they have many presentations and styles that make them so darn popular, but it’s often the ones that have the deep motivational themes and heart that really get the attention.  We Are Marshall, Pride of the Yankees, and of course Remember the Titans are just some of the films in the hall of film fame that are “timeless” pieces.  Yet, unsung heroes often wait on the bench, hoping to have their shot at shining amidst the stars.  Tim Tebow’s production is hoping to be one of those rookies to make a statement this weekend and this reviewer is ready to share his opinion.  Happy Friday folks and welcome to another review, this time on:

 

Movie: Run The Race (2019)

 

Director:

Chris Dowling

Writers:

Jake McEntire (screenplay), Jason Baumgardner (screenplay)

Stars:

Mykelti WilliamsonFrances FisherKristoffer Polaha

 

 

LIKES:

 

Well Acted

Pretty Cast

Sports Fueled Moments

Inspirational

Deep

Decently Paced

 

SUMMARY:

 

Run the Race’s likes center on some surprising balance in this fairly realistic portrayal of faith and football.  The cast of pretty thespians and cute physiques will be eye candy as they bring some decent acting to the mix of the family facing interesting circumstances. Their journey finds ways to bring the sports montage into the mix, crafting the story around the sports without becoming too invested into the mix.  It’s inspirational, finding some sequences that utilize the movie tricks and crafted speeches to get people going into action in helping face their problems.  The film goes deep into trying to teach the religious based life lessons it holds, and can really get some emotion going, as was seen in my audience and showing. And surprisingly, it’s got some decent pacing to it as well, finding a means to keep all these elements juggling smoothly, in hopes of getting to the end zone or finish line depending on the sport you like.  Nonetheless, the movie’s a nice sized package of inspirational messages delivered by poster worthy stars.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Plot Inconsistency

Sports Avenues Are Not Made Up

Rushed solutions

Unrealistic Manipulations

Preachy

Predictable

 

SUMMARY:

 

Despite the inspirational components to the movie there are some things that take it away from the majesty of the theater.  For me, the plot inconsistency is sort of the start as the race is ran a little too fast for some fo the plot lines to keep up with.  Some avenues keep the pace going well, but others like the romance arc, the tension with the dad, and even the rivalry of some of the characters are not quite as present as the main story line, leading to them hastily cleaned up by the end of the movie.  In addition, the sports montages are very simplistic, keeping the realistic component with them, but lacking those epic moments that make you want to scream out in delight.  Again, while I appreciate the down to Earth approach, this film really could have used some magic to help pep up the exciting sports it bombarded us with, even resorting to unrealistic manipulations of the system that were eye rolling. Instead, the religious aspect is where this film leads, using very preachy dialogue that while strong, motivational, and certainly a spiritual component sets up much of the movie’s “surprises”.  The predictable finish took away much of the emotion component for me and left me a little bored as I waited for the ending.  Still, the avenue of preaching the good word is something to be forewarned, and if you don’t want a case of faith, then you need to maybe hold off on this one.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

Overall, Run The Race is actually a decent movie when it comes to religion influenced sports movies. A pretty cast will take on the task of instilling good messages that are deep and inspirational, while trying to develop the characters in the 105 minute run time.  Yet, the movie still runs into trouble when it comes to the memorable sports intense films.  It lacks the movie magic for one thing, and the preachiness may not be for everyone, especially if case of faith is not your cup of tea.  As predictable as it was though, this Friday Night Lights themed movie could have been better with a little more balance in terms of handling the other story themes and may injecting some movie magic as well. Worth a trip to theater?  I believe this one is best served for streaming to be honest, but that’s just my opinion. 

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Sport:  7.0

Movie Overall:  6.0

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I DeCreed This One Powerful Sequel

Creed II Poster

            The legacy of Rocky is an epic one that has etched its way into the hearts of sports movie fanatics until the end of time.  Despite their outdated cinema work, the movies hold such epic bouts of fist flying destruction, brazen masculinity, and surprisingly deep portrayal of sport vs. life.  It has worked super well for years, and with Creed reviving the series with a new, modern edge that showed a boxing movie can still pack the punches.  So a sequel to continue the new boxer’s legacy has emerged to challenge the rest of the Thanksgiving line up in hopes to win the championship of best box office.  Will it succeed?  Robbie K here to fill you in as I review:

 

Movie: Creed II (2018)

 

Director:

Steven Caple Jr.

Writers:

Cheo Hodari Coker (story by), Ryan Coogler (characters)

Stars:

Michael B. JordanSylvester StalloneTessa Thompson

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Character Development: Adonis Creed’s journey was soul searching and inspiring in the first film, and the sequel follows that back in spades. This film is dedicated to the torture of balancing pride of your career while trying to balance the other aspects of life.  Adonis goes through a lot of tough mental burdens, which helps stretch the limits of the character.  Of course Rocky himself still is finding ways to expand his own dynamic, still finding lessons to teach and learn as he himself goes through the throngs with his indirect nephew.  A Rocky films has always been about expanding the character and the traditions continues in the 8thinstallment.

 

The Music:  You like rap, hip hop, and R&B, you’ve got yourself a soundtrack that captivates the essence of the film.  It’s edgy, aggressive beat mixes beautifully with the actions scenes, mirroring the fighting lion that is Adonis in his quest for reaching his goals. Be ready for some hard-hitting beats, with potential aggressive lyrics that can be offensive.

 

Expanded Villain:  Most Rocky movies do a poor job of elaborating on the villainous boxer who wishes to stop our hero.  In this film though, the villains get a small subplot that helps to give them more details and appreciation.  Balancing this tale with the main story, crafts a much better investment in time when it comes to designing the rival boxer that I really liked, especially when even Ivan Drago contributes significantly to the tale.

 

The Rocky Feeling:  Creed II continues the tradition of the boxing movies, by crafting a tale that is all about getting guys in the macho, masculine mode.  Adonis’ next tale brings the motivational force to full light, instilling the testosterone fueled training, hype, enticement, and whatever else you are looking for.  Guys in my showing were hooting in delight, sometimes batting their hands together during the high adrenaline moments.  As for the females, well plenty of shirtless scenes and chiseled bodies to get you swooning if you like that. Past these moments though, classic fans will enjoy the bonds of coach and trainee once again working together to face life gloves up and eyes sharp.

The Final Fight:  We know the series is all about that final match, where contender and titan throw themselves into the ring in all their epic, sweaty glory.  Creed II has the finale you wait for, filled with the high adrenaline special effects, sound editing, high energy shots magic that studios craft.  As the bout progresses the raw emotion of both contenders is unleashed, in a manner worthy of the David Vs. Goliath status they were going for. It is an epic finish to all the buildup and lasts well enough to be worthy of inclusion.

 

DISLIKES:

 

A Little Too Aggressive at Times:  For me the in your face, high adrenaline moments were sometimes perfectly executed. Other times it was a little eye rolling and overdone.  The in your face moments, and fast to action attitude was fine in the first one, but at points in the movie it was a little sadder to watch. This plot point was supposedly conquered in the first one, yet they decided to harp on it as a recycled device. Small dislike, but we go with it.

 

Some Unnecessary Subplots: Creed II has a lot of heart and emotion with it, working to integrate a lot of angles to take Adonis’ life in to help shape the character.  Some of these angles worked quite well for me, and a couple of them didn’t.  I won’t say anything to minimize the spoilers, but there are a couple of tangents they took that didn’t quite add to the movie as much as they wanted.  I would have liked a few other subplots to get some more detail instead, but given the grand scheme of the movie it’s not quite as noticeable.

 

Carbon Copy:  A point that might make or break the movie depending on the audience Creed 2 loses points for originality.  While I understand that the first one wasn’t unique in terms of stories, Creed 2 really modeled its structure quite closely to one of the original Rocky movies, guess which one.  As such, the new coat of paint is quite refreshing, but given how much it follows the original in terms of main plot, it’s a little disappointing given the predictability of the movie that comes with it.  Will you be disappointed?  It really depends on how much you hate carbon copy plots.

 

 

The Verdict:

         Creed II delivers on the attitude the trailer promised long ago. By expanding upon the rivals, portraying more life components with career, and maintaining the feel of a Rocky Movie it’s going to please many fans of the franchise. Yet, the film still suffers from a tad too much modern aggression, some plot devices that didn’t quite need to be there, and a rehashed plot that will make or break the film. Overall though, I liked it and felt it fit very well in the universe and holding quality above a number of other installments.  So if you are looking for the testosterone driven plot line for the weekend, check this film out in spades this weekend, maximizing your experience in the theater. Otherwise definitely get ready for this one when it comes out to the wide public. 

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Sport: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0-7.5 

 

Bump, Set, and Spiked Out Of Bounds

Miracle Season.jpg

 

It would not be American Hollywood without a little sports motivated movie to ring in the Spring season.  Tonight, yours truly starts his double decker review with a film that looks to be an inspiration to… high school volleyball players and their younger counterparts.  Based on true events, tonight’s review starts with a move that will hopefully bump, set, and spike your way to scoring high-points fun.  Tired of all the sports puns?  Yeah me too, so let’s get started with yet another Robbie Movie Review on:

 

Title:  The Miracle Season

Director:

Sean McNamara

Writers:

David Aaron Cohen,  Elissa Matsueda (screenplay)

Stars:

Helen Hunt,  Tiera Skovbye,  Erin Moriarty

 

 

LIKES:

The Pace:  Movies like this strike a chord for their key demographics, but to the rest of the world it can fall on deaf ears.  Fortunately for those who accompany tweens and teens, the movie isn’t that long and the pace is decent to keep things on point.  The editing was able to tighten what could have been a drawn-out film and as such gets you into the games/drama quick and then gets you right back out. 

 

The Inspiration:  Miracle, Remember the Titans, even Million Dollar Arm have proven effective in motivating the audience members (primarily aspiring athletes) to go an accomplish their dreams and goals…well some of us anyway.  The Miracle Season is yet another win on the board of motivation, utilizing a polished script, great visualization, and tailored acting to deliver the messages within.  Hope, remembering, inner strength, and will power are just some of the qualities that audience members can soak up. No matter how many times I see portrayals like this I get the feelings all over.

 

The Musical Score:  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but a good musical score can really drive the point home for movies.  The Miracle Season rings strong in this category, bringing a powerful orchestra score to the game sequences to amplify the effects of an already high stress scene.  While the Katy Perry songs are cute, cuddly, and well-fitting for empowerment, it’s really the drum infused, high school spirited instrumental work that brings the full power of the movie.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable:  These movies seldom have big surprises, and this movie is no exception.  The trailers have already given away the major events, and given it is an inspirational sports’ movie, you can pretty much guess what will happen. No surprises, no major twists, not even suspenseful teasing…it’s just one predictable montage. 

 

Preachy:  Movies are famous for crossing the lines into this territory, it just depends on how powerful the monologue and speech are to provide the message.  Where Disney fueled movies have accomplished the dramatic delivery, this movie only managed to hit 50% in regards to the power of delivering the message.  Instead, the simplistic lines, overdramatic camera angles, and obvious direction take the movie down a semi-cheesy preach fest that eventually feels like it belongs on a day-time soap opera.  It delivers the message well enough but fails to deliver the magic that Disney has made famous.

 

Shotty Character Development:  Again, a good effort, but does not quite reach maximum work the movie could have really used.  The main characters of Kelly, Brez and Ernie (Moriarty, Hunt, and William Hurt respectively) get the most in terms of evolution, but past these characters the rest are very simplistic in regards to growing.  Most of the team are simply extras to fill in the team and allow for some volleyball shots, while others have a few lines that show promise of deeper involvement, but then taper off.  In a movie all about the players and the miracle they experienced, I was hoping for more depth in the team as a whole.

 

Editing Disproportionate: While the movie is fairly tight, I felt that the editing took out the wrong material of what I wanted to see.  The Miracle Season focuses on the slower parts of the journey, taking more time to show practice, talking, and preparation than the actual games.  When the big moments come up you might expect a few decent sequences of awesome volleyball action.  However, the movie instead traded these potentially exciting bouts for more tear-jerking moments of sulking, girl talk, and some unneeded detours that added little for me in the movie.  Sentimental?  Yes.  Hard hitting, sports prowess?  Not even close.

 

Anti-Climactic: All of these dislikes sum up to one things, anti-climactic.  The Miracle Season may be motivating, but it really lacks the exciting climax I was hoping to get in the movie.  Even in the final games, the montages experience a drought of any dramatic tension, presented as just a bland spectacle of spandex wearing warriors doing some cool choreography.  I do admit, there are some awe inspiring plays, but as a whole needed more to get the full effects.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            The Miracle Season is certainly a public service announcement about the power of hard work, hope, and teamwork.  It will serve as the fuel for future young females (especially athletes) to have a fantastic season, and push their limits.  As a collective work though, it needed to add more pizazz overall and really add the magic to their moments to create the tension they wanted.  In addition, more development of characters and team relationships could have taken this movie farther, but still it’s got the gusto to appeal to its demographic.  While an enjoyable movie, this film is best left to renting than the theater in my opinion, unless you need it for the big game to inspire the troops. 

 

My scores:

Drama/Sport:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

Preachy Morals with Football Flare

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            Sports movies, a compromise of two great pastimes rolled into one blockbuster smash hit. We’ve had a variety of movies about the various sports from hockey to baseball, however the popular trend in the modern age seems to be football. Why football seems to be the sport where all miracles happen I don’t know, but nevertheless this weekend adds another work to the ever-growing library. My final review to close the weekend out is on When the Game Stands Tall. What does this movie have in store for you? Read on to find out.

 

We know the general formula for a team-based film: team gets built; they start looking good, hit a few obstacles, and come back stronger than ever. This movie is no different in the grand scheme of things, but changes the order slightly to give a little deviation from the norm. At the beginning we get introduced into the legendary De La Salle football team, a high school sports program that goes on a 151 win streak via live footage. From there we meet a few key players in the story, as the passing of the rights as well as the fundamental morals on which the program is built on are told. After that it becomes the familiar drama that seems to accompany this movie, though in this case it is about the Streak. The cultural shock rips away their pride, taking its toll on every member of the team that, when combined with a few other incidents revealed in the trailers, creates the “story”. It’s predictable, and lacks originality, as most football movies are, yet somehow the movie is still entertaining. This may be partly due to the simplistic comedy in the movie. A few of the players have some choice lines that are well timed to maximize their humor. There are also a few comical scenes as well, both in training and on game footage that gave me a few chuckles.

 

However, the story is not really the powerful part of the movie here, but more so the morals within it. The legendary coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) has a great approach to many of life’s lessons and struggles. Almost every line contains some teaching about finding yourself, understanding the true qualities to appreciate in the given circumstances. Fame, fortune, a winning streak are all addressed by this man and his staff as they try to drive home honest morals into the players. Yet the coach isn’t some holier than thou man, no he has some lessons to learn on his own as well and goes through the journey with his team. But the morals aren’t just loaded into one man’s dialogue, but also in the presentation of numerous scenes. From the combination of music and visuals, the audience will feel the full emotional force of the scene at hand. I found myself getting goose bumps during some of the more inspirational moments, a tribute to the strength movie magic can have. I have to admit that much of this movie is preachy and done in the manner to bring you into the locker room. However it got stale, and loss the shine it held at the beginning of the film, proving once again overuse of any movie aspect can lose effect.

 

As for the game scenes, they too are some of the better sequences I’ve experienced in a long time. Unlike other movies, where one gets glimpses of the game, When the game stands tall manages to create some decent games that are filled with action and flare. Again, music helps bring you into the moment, the symphony from the orchestra psyching you up and filling you with energy. What is even better for me in this film is that this game wasn’t just glorifying the main team, but actually showed their failings too. That’s right we get to see other teams scores in some well coordinated plays to give you a true game, and not a one sided blitz. Overall, these scenes are also dolled up with a lot of movie flare and zest, but it does add more entertainment to break away from the distraught in the drama. That isn’t to say there isn’t drama in the game itself, but it has a different twist to keep things interesting and balanced.

 

When the game stands tall is a decent sports film, still filled with the movie magic flare that Hollywood pumps into it. Those who lack emotion will be bored and find most of the movie cheesy and rather bland. While I didn’t mention the acting, due to the numerous characters, the cast in this film did a great job bringing the team to life, in particular Caviezel who stole most of the show. The biggest audience I can recommend coming to see this film are sports enthusiasts, those who love Remember the Titans, and drama lovers who actually enjoy embracing their emotions. This is a movie filled to the brim with pride, and should be a good fix for those awaiting the next sports masterpiece. However, I would recommend waiting for the movie to come out on DVD/Netflix ,because you can get longer games for practically free on your entertainment console, though I can’t guarantee as much excitement. My scores for When The Game Stands Tall are:

 

Drama/Sport: 7.5-8

Movie Overall: 7.0