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Henry Steele is a basketball phenom at his small town high school, but when he matriculates to a big city university on a scholarship, soon realizes that he has few skills outside the sport. Expected by his coach to contribute significantly to the team, Henry is overwhelmed by the demands on his time, the "big business" aspect of college sports, and the fact that he never fully learned to read. Things look bleak for Henry when Janet Hays, a pretty graduate student, is assigned as Henry's tutor. Her intellect and strength lift Henry out of his doldrums just in time to battle the coach, who attempts to rescind Henry's scholarship. Written by
Rick Gregory <firstname.lastname@example.org>
......Young, naive kid comes from the sticks to make it in the world of big-college basketball, encounters a Bobby Knight-type tyrannical coach, gets his ego stroked however by a caring teacher (tutor) and that carries him through to where one day, when the starting guard goes down with an injury, he gets his chance and turns into Magic Johnson/Larry Bird....and then tells the coach where to stick it......
As writer Dave Barry used to say, "I am not making this up."
Here is another example of movie I re-watched on tape in the mid 1990s and wondered, "How could I have liked this film so much when it came out?" That was then, and now is now. Yes, one tends to be far less discerning when one is younger, but some movies also get dated in a hurry. This is one of them. Actually, actor Robby Benson is another. He was a hot commodity in the '70s but faded fast.
However, despite having said all of the above, this movie IS fun to watch.
Good acting (and ballplaying) by Benson as college student-athlete "Henry Steele" and G.D. Spradlin as hard-nosed basketball coach "Moreland Smith" set up some intense confrontations in this sports movie, another gritty one from the era.
Benson also was a hot actor in this decade, and he's convincing in this role. He usually played interesting characters, as did Spradlin, who was always effective as a villain. By the way, don't buy the Hollywood cliché that every sports coach is tyrannical maniac. In college basketball, ask the players at UCLA who played under John Wooden, or the cagers at Duke under "Coach K," or hundreds of other places. Most coaches are NOT Bobby Knight, as portrayed here. This character is over-the-top, big-time.
Anyway, this film is so engulfed with movie clichés like the above that you could easily drown in them. Everything is so predictable, such a cliché that it is embarrassing to watch this at times, although it is entertaining and must be given points for that. You know things will work out for "Henry Steele." It's how they do that get a bit irritating, and Henry's attitude isn't always admirable, either. Boy, do they manipulate you, however, in this film! You HAVE to root for the kid, even if he is a hot dog on the court.
Overall: this film will keep you involved, but don't believe anything in this story.
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