15 February 2013

Movie Review: "Coach of the Year"

Rated: Not Rated
Starring: Robert Conrad, Erin Grey, and Red West
Released: December 20, 1980
Synopsis: Jim Brandon (Robert Conrad, TV's The Wild Wild West) went from NFL star to soldier, but a war injury made him a paraplegic and changed his life forever.  Though he wanted to get back into coaching, the big leagues wouldn't let him do it.  His nephew, Andy DeFalco (Ricky Paul), has gotten into trouble once again, and has been sent to a home for juvenile delinquents.  When Jim sees the ragtag group of guys, he believes he can make a football team out of them...but their lack of respect for pretty much anyone proves to be a large obstacle.  Still, Jim pits them against an undefeated high school team; do these young criminals even stand a chance?

Story: 3.5/5
This is what the film has going for it.  Though most of us have seen a sports-themed, underdog-coming-from-behind flick before, these guys, including their coach, are coming from severely dire circumstances.  However, there was one scene where the kids have an escape plot that fails, and it seemed a bit dumb.

Production Values: 2/5
Robert Conrad is an experienced actor, so it comes as no surprise that he did well.  However, an annoying soundtrack, some noise lines--on a DVD edition, mind you--and an overall lackluster feel kept this from being what it could have been.

Moral Content: 3.5/5
There are a few profanities, but the major concern is with the violence.  Football is a rough sport, and this movie shows how intense it can get, but these guys get in fights even when they're not on the playing field.  It even gets bloody a time or two.  Also, numerous scenes show most of the film's male characters, including nearly every kid and their coach, shirtless or with their shirt wide open.  One scene even shows the guys in the shower, and you see them remove the towels from their waists, though the camera never dips below their torsos.  Still, by today's standards, I think this film wouldn't even get a "PG-13".

Conclusion: Though I don't watch "ball games" in my spare time, I can appreciate a well-crafted piece of entertainment, even if it centers around sports.  In fifth grade, I chose to do a book report on Johnny Long Legs, a basketball novel written by prolific sporting author Matt Christopher.  More recently, I've watched other sports-themed flicks and enjoyed them.  However, I seriously struggled to finish this one.  If you're looking for a well-made pigskin film, I would suggest trying Hometown Legend, which is an all-around better movie than this one.  It's funny; I like old-school music, TV shows, and books, but, other than the original Star Wars trilogy, I find it hard to enjoy any film made before the 1990s.  Even some of the Kirk-and-crew Star Trek flicks were difficult to "get into."  Only absolute football fanatics will likely enjoy Coach of the Year, though.

Score: 1.5/5

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