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A New Jersey auto mechanic travels to California to find the girl of his dreams and woos a bikini fashion model while the time quarreling with her high-powered manager and avoiding his New Jersey girlfriend who comes looking for him.
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>
Fine film - because of some aspects, in spite of others
G. D. Spradlin is a splendid actor. Between his role as the coach here, and in the same role in the great football flick, "North Dallas Forty"
he has undoubtedly won, hands-down, the prize for the best portrayal
of the quintessential "total horse's-ass coach." As others have pointed-out, it is illogical that he would recruit Henry (Robby Benson) as heavily as he did, then not know who he was when he reports on campus. Also, he knew Henry was a small-school, small-in-stature, fast-break player, whose talents were speed, ball handling and shooting
and yet, he is non-plussed when this doesn't seem to fit with his
The gratuities furnished Henry (automobile, do-nothing job, alum booster buying his game tickets for exorbitant amount) are beyond the scope even the most "liberal" programs would furnish - at least in terms of their obviousness, with little intent to provide some sense of legitimacy to them. And the coach's decision regarding Henry's scholarship, and his measures to try to drive him off the team, are over-the-top, even for the heavy-handed character portrayed (and even bearing in mind that big-time college athletic programs are not as altruistic as the schools like to portray).
But these contrivances are also what make the movie more interesting, and sometimes characterizations which are exaggerated help as much as they hinder the plot - and they do so here. I remember seeing Burt Reynolds with Johnny Carson on a show, discussing a movie in which Benson had appeared with him. He laughed about winning bets from others when Benson was able to do 100 sit-ups in about a minute. With some of the performances in sports movies, where the principals can be made to look like they can perform only by using trick photography or stunt doubles - it is a pleasure to watch Benson, who obviously is physically capable, and knows how to handle, pass and shoot a basketball. Annette O'Toole is engaging in the female lead, and together they make an attractive, appealing young couple.
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