In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb colette poster

Colette

Knightley gives one of her best performances as a girl with spirit and talent who becomes a woman with ferocity and a voice

Thumb fahrenheit eleven nine

Fahrenheit 11/9

The messiness of Moore’s film starts to feel appropriate for the times we’re in. With a new issue being debated every day, is it any…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

Reviews

Necessary Roughness

  |  

I’ve seen versions of the plot of “Necessary Roughness” in almost every other movie ever made about an underdog sports team - but I fell for it again this time, because it was well done, and because the movie doesn’t try to pump itself up into more than it is, a good-humored entertainment.

The film tells the story of a college football team that faces its new season under an incredible handicap: Only actual, bona fide students will be allowed to play on the team. No recruited superstars. No future pros who will be coddled in no-brainer classes.

Advertisement

No players with under-the-table financial aid from the booster club.

Just real students who try out for the team.

This is a big comedown for the Texas State Armadillos, who were last year’s national college football champions, before an investigation uncovered widespread corruption in the school’s athletic program. The school had to give up its trophies and forfeit its victories, and for the new season the only returning player will be a guy who spent all of his time on the bench.

The Texas State President (Fred Dalton Thompson) can’t even find anyone to lead the team, until he has a brainstorm: He offers the job to a veteran coach named Gennero (Hector Elizondo), who has just finished attacking the school’s ethics on national television.

Gennero accepts, naturally, because in a movie like this nobody is ever allowed to turn down a challenge.

Gennero hires an old pal named Riggendorf (Robert Loggia) as his assistant. At first they plan to divide up offense and defense, but when only 17 students make the team, they decide it’s time for a return to Iron Man football. And they recruit players in unlikely places: A 34-year-old former Texas high school star (Scott Bakula) has never used his college eligibility, and he’s drafted as quarterback. A school astronomy professor (Sinbad) has a year of eligibility left, and he joins the team, along with a kicker (Kathy Ireland) recruited from the women’s soccer team.

You can see this movie’s plot unfolding a mile away: The ragbag collection of misfits will lose almost all of their games, but will they finally pull themselves together and win the big one? What do you think? And will there be a love affair between Bakula and his standoffish journalism professor (Harley Jane Kozak)? All of these events are written in the stars.

The movie assembled an offbeat group of supporting talent, including a lineman from Samoa (Peter Navy Tuiasosopo) who makes the “Refrigerator” look like an ice chest. Not so successful is Larry Miller, as the anti-sports dean; his scenes play on a different note than the rest of the movie, and seemed shoehorned in. But Elizondo and Loggia, two veterans of many years of fine supporting work, seem to enjoy themselves playing the coaches. And as the Armadillos creep toward greatness, “Necessary Roughness” generates a genuine charm.

Advertisement

Popular Blog Posts

Video games can never be art

Having once made the statement above, I have declined all opportunities to ...

"You Were Expecting Someone Else?" Why a Non-White James Bond is the Franchise's Logical Next Step

Not only would Idris Elba make a great James Bond, the franchise has been building towards casting an actor of color ...

Grace and Nature: On Criterion’s Release of The Tree of Life

On the new Criterion release of Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, which includes a new 50-minute-longer extended cu...

Jonah Hill, Emma Stone Star in Netflix’s Daring, Brilliant Maniac

A review of the phenomenal new Netflix show starring Jonah Hill and Emma Stone.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus