Sentimental but still winning ’12 Mighty Orphans’ for a sports film
If, like so many other football fans, your juice starts to flow for the coming season in the middle of summer, then Sony Pictures has your remedy with its latest film “12 Mighty Orphans”.
The film, starring Luke Wilson and Martin Sheen and directed by Ty Roberts from a screenplay by Roberts, Lane Garrison and Kevin Meyer, is a low-budget winner that’s a bit sentimental but also invigorating and inspiring as all good sports movies should be.
Disregard Rotten Tomatoes’ low score. This movie is worth it if you love football and have a place in your heart for underdog stories. The film adapts “Twelve Mighty Orphans: The True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football” by Jim Dent.
The film, based on a true story, tells how World War I veteran and orphan himself Rusty Russell (Wilson) built a winning football program in Forth Worth, Texas during the Great Depression with a dozen orphans at the Masonic Home for Children and Leftovers.
His team started with no pitch, no cleats, no equipment except some makeshift football, but thanks to their heart, desire and the innovation of their coach, they have formed a team that defies the title of State versus the best in the state of Texas. to offer.
There’s no getting around the stereotypical nature of the film, but under Roberts’ direction the film skillfully hit all the right marks to get audiences to applaud the Mighty Mites like it would Rudy or Rocky.
The film is a welcome comeback for Wilson, who recently played a role on The CW / HBO Max superhero show “Star Girl,” which is set to return for its second season in August.
Wilson’s Russell has the seriousness of a character played by Henry Fonda or Jimmy Stewart. Sheen plays Doc Hall, the right-hand man and trainer of Rusty, who drinks a little too much for his own good but also has a great love for the young men welcomed into the house.
Football, of course, creates a bond between the boys, giving them a sense of belonging and self-worth that everyone lacked before Russell merged them into a successful team.
Jake Austin Walker, also featured in “Stargirl,” is solid as Mites star safety and running back Hardy Russell. One of the orphanage’s most difficult cases, Russell finds meaning and friendship among his teammates.
In real life, Hardy went on to play for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL, where he was known as one of the game’s most feared men. In YA Tittle’s book “I Pass”, the author claimed Hardy knocked out 21 opponents in the 1951 season, including the entire Washington Redskins backfield in a preseason game.
The film details how Russell improvised and revolutionized football due to the size of his team. He developed the Wing-T formation with its wide spreads for linemen, as well as the use of a quarterback to distribute the ball behind the line of scrimmage as well as down with the forward pass.
The film also features Vanessa Shaw as Russell’s supportive wife and orphanage’s English teacher, Juanita, as well as Wayne Knight (Newman from “Seinfeld) as sadistic orphanage director Frank Wynn, who uses children illegally to work in a print shop and likes to punish boys a little too much with his wooden paddle.
The film is a throwback to 1930s and 40s cinema that may seem old-fashioned and tearful to some, but it was refreshing and entertaining for me.
(PG-13) 1 hr. 58 minutes.
New in local theaters
• F9: The quick saga (Watch the trailer) / (PG-13) 2 hrs. 25 minutes / AMC Fiesta 12, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Pinnacle, Malco Rogers Towne, Bentonville Skylight, 112 Drive In
• Werewolves inside (Watch the trailer) / (D) 1 hr. 44 minutes / Malco Razorback
Classic Corner: the Hitchcock Marathon on view this weekend on TCM
Although it does not advertise or present the information on its website, Turner Classic Movies offers its viewers what amounts to a two-day Alfred Hitchcock Film Festival from 5 a.m. until wee hours of Monday morning.
Hitchcock, of course, is the master of suspense and one of the greatest directors to ever set eyes on a work of film dating from the 1920s to the mid-1970s. Many of them are playing on TCM this weekend. end. My DVR is going to be working overtime.
Here is a list of films screened in the underground film festival:
5 a.m. – Sabotage (1936)
6:30 am – The 39 Steps (1935)
8 a.m. – The Bad Man (1956)
10 a.m. – Saboteur (1942)
12 p.m. – Torn Curtain (1966)
2:15 p.m. – North to northwest (1959)
4:45 p.m. – Vertigo (1958)
7 p.m. – The Birds (1963)
9:15 p.m. – Rear window (1954)
11:15 p.m. – Shadow of a doubt (1943)
1h30 – Foreigners in a train
3h30 – Family plot (1976)
5:30 a.m. – The Lady faints (1938)
7.15 p.m. – Suspicion (1941)
9 a.m. Shadow of Doubt (1943)
11:15 am – Rope (1948)
12:30 p.m. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
3 p.m. – Dial M for murder (1954)
5:00 p.m. Problem with Harry (1955)
7 p.m. – Psycho (1960)
9 p.m. – Marnie (1964)
11:15 p.m. – The tenant (1927)
1:15 – The Man Who Knew Too Much (1935)
02:25 – Frenzy (1972)
Smokey and the Bandit (112 Drive In)
Sally Field and Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit / Universal Pictures
For those of us who grew up in the 1970s, Burt Reynolds was the quintessential movie star, the quirky guy every man wanted to be with and every woman wanted to be with.
Reynolds could act. His 1972 performance in “Deliverance” proved his detractors wrong in this regard, but he was at his best playing comedic freewheeling characters in a series of films from the mid-1970s to early 1980s that made of him a favorite at the box office.
I especially liked Reynolds as the half-American Indian blacksmith Quint Asper on “Gunsmoke” (1962-65) which I discovered in reruns, and his 1990-94 sitcom “Evening Shade”, set in a fictional little town in Arkansas, is decent, too.
However, his 1977 action / comedy “Smokey and the Bandit” is perhaps his most famous film. For some reason, trucking and CB radios became a ‘thing’ in the mid to late 1970s, like mood rings, pet rocks, and the nightclub, and Hollywood was there to take it.
The film stars Reynolds as the “Bandit,” a notorious trucker, gamer, and ladies’ man who, along with his partner Cledus “Snowman” Snow, accepts a bet they can deliver 400 cases of Coors beer from Texarkana to Atlanta in 28 hours.
Along the way, they pick up runaway bride Carrie (Sally Field) for fun, and are pursued by a group of lawyers led by Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) and his awkward son Junior Justice (Mike Henry).
The film was a fun counter-programming of George Lucas’ “Star Wars” in the summer of 1977. The first time I saw “Smokey and the Bandit” was because the tickets for “Star Wars” were. sold out, and that was the only other option at the sister theater in West Memphis. However, several of my friends and I returned to watch it a few times at dollar parties that summer.
There just wasn’t much for pre-teens to do before video games and home video on nights without Little League baseball, but go to the movies, even though the same two movies were shown for a long time. months at a time.
I’m not going to say that “Smokey and the Bandit” is necessarily a good movie. Built on the trends of its time, it hasn’t aged that well, but it’s a fun movie if you allow it. This is the second half of the double feature film at 112 Drive In this weekend.
(PG) 1 hr. 36 minutes