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The Best of Times More at IMDbPro »

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Index 38 reviews in total 

Mediocre and predictable sports comedy elevated by Robin Williams' comic performance

Author: brchthethird from United States
13 November 2014

Who doesn't have something in their past they wish they could go back and do over? In THE BEST OF TIMES, Jack Dundee (Robin Williams) has been known in Taft as the "guy who dropped the ball" in a high school football game 13 years ago. But honestly, he isn't the only one in that small town who longs for the glory days. With him is Reno Hightower (Kurt Russell), the town's star quarterback who now runs a car repair shop. And to complicate things further, both of them are having marital issues, some of which stem from Jack's insistence at not letting go of the past. The whole story is quite a mess, with some scenes leading nowhere, and others being cringe-inducing in their reliance on cliché. Still, there are a couple of scenes which stood out as being particularly good. First, there is a dinner scene between Jack, Reno, and their wives which reminded me of a similar scene in Mrs. Doubtfire. Also, the climactic game was well-done, even if the way it ends is a foregone conclusion before the film really even starts. Full disclosure: I'm not much of a football fan (or sports, for that matter). However, I can appreciate a good sports movie when I see one. This isn't one of those movies. As a comedy, it's adequate and Robin Williams does give a good comic performance as a put-upon man with some unresolved personal issues regarding his past. Kurt Russell also does a nice job as the straight man, but the chemistry between him and Williams isn't as good as one would expect. Still, both of them do the best with the material they were given. Ultimately, I like to think of this movie as not really being about high school football. It works better as a feel-good comedy about wish-fulfillment and fixing past mistakes. On that level, I think the film can be enjoyed. Overall, this isn't particularly essential viewing but should prove a decent diversion for Robin Williams or sports fans.

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Sweet, funny, innocent. One of my favorites

Author: whidbeydanielg
12 August 2014

Fell in love with this movie when I first saw it in a theater in 1986. It has not lost its charm, as I have enjoyed it about every 2-3 years since.

The plot is about replaying a football game where Taft high school, a perennial loser, almost beats the best team. Except on a crucial play, Williams drops an easy pass.

He can't move on, and initiates a rematch. It is at one level a fairly decent sports movie--think Hoosiers with funnier people.

The film has heart. Both men have problems with their wives, who they love deeply and who love them dearly. Russell, in particular, is touching in how he refuses to fix up his wife's car so she can leave him, and then when he finally does......well, see the film. It's very sweet.

The extras are a hoot, especially M. Emmet Walsh (who is never in a bad movie). There are even a couple of fun musical numbers.

I liked Robin Williams more in films like this one than in his manic comic routines. In this film he actually seems happy.

I can heartily recommend this film. It isn't dated because it is from a time that really never existed. I think I'll watch it again this week, as a matter of fact.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

It really can't be said this movie was the best of times for the makers.

Author: Aaron1375
26 November 2010

This film looks like it did nothing at the box office and with only 28 reviews at the time of this writing one can say it was not the most memorable of films. However, despite the fact it was not a success at the box office it had its moments. It was not all good, but not all bad. The film stars Robin Williams, a man who in high school dropped the winning touchdown against his school's biggest rival and ever since that time the town has gotten stale and so has his life. So too, has the life of the star quarterback played by Kurt Russell. So to try and put things right in a way, Williams character tries to get a football game together between the schools again using the same players that played that fateful game so many years ago. It is humorous in some parts, but one of those films that gets slow too, it also has Robin Williams and he can be a bit over the top a lot of the times. Here he is actually kind of reserved, for him anyway. His character has a nifty way to get everyone on board with his idea as at first people are a bit hesitant about doing it. However, the film plays out in rather predictable fashion as one just knows how this one is going to end.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I'm from Taft

Author: ralpht22 from United States
21 May 2007

hi I'm from Taft California and i like this movie because it shows how us little town people love our sports football is the main thing in Taft and this movie shows just how important it is i personally think they should make another one but instead of actors use us kids to play the games well show you our determination we've beat Bakersfield every game for the past 6 years and since I'm a senior next year its my last chance and then its college we've had running backs lead the state and I'm next if you want to know me I'm kyle Taylor and i average seven to eight yards a carry and about five times a game ill break away on a 75 or around that yard run so check us out at our website and go to our sports page bye

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Classic David VS. Goliath on the Small Town GridIron !!! A Triumph of the Human Spirit !!!

Author: cshep from Laguna Woods, CA.
12 July 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For all of the Has-Beens or Never Was's or for the curious, this film is for you....Ever played a sport, or wondered what it felt like after the lights went down and the crowd left..this film explores that and more.

Robin Williams(Jack Dundee) is a small town assistant banker in Taft CA., whose life has been plagued, by a miscue in a BIG rival high school football game 13 years ago, when he dropped the pass that would have won over Bakersfield, their Arch-Rival, that takes great pleasure in pounding the Taft Rockets, season after season . Kurt Russell(Reno Hightower) was the Quarterback in that famous game, and is the local legend, that now is a van repair specialist, whose life is fading into lethargy, like the town of Taft itself.

Williams gets an idea to remake history, by replaying the GAME ! He meets with skeptical resistance, so he goes on a one man terror spree, and literally paints the town , orange, yellow and black , to raise the ire of the residents to recreate THE game . After succeeding, the players from that 1972 team reunite, and try to get in shape to practice, which is hysterical . The game is on , Bakesfield is loaded with all of the high tech gadgets, game strategies, and sophisticated training routines . Taft is drawing plays in the mud, with sticks, stones, and bottle caps, what a riot ! Does Taft overcome the odds, does Robin Willians purge the demons from his bowels, does Kurt Russell rise from lethargy, watch "The Best of Times" for one of the BEST viewing experiences ever!

One of Robin Williams best UNDERSTATED performances, the chemistry between Robin and Russell is magic . And who is Kid Lester ???

Holly Palance and Pamela Reed give memorable performances as the wives of Williams and Russell. Succeeds on Many Levels. A 10 !

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Oh to be able to replay the game that cost you your dignity.

Author: Bruce Howell from Lisle, IL
12 February 1999

Although not the best work of either Kurt Russell or Robin Williams, this familiar comedy does what it sets out to do. It offers an hour and a half worth of good feelings. William's cowering nerd plays well to Russell's washed up high school hero and together their plan to replay the football game that set each one's destiny in motion is predictable and fun. And in the process, they both get to impress the women in their lives. There is one warning, if you are a football fan don't watch the action too closely. Even for players supposed to be past their prime, these guys really stink.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The Best of Times

Author: Tim Cox from Marietta, OH
9 July 1999

Pleasing comedy about a town loser (Williams) who after 13 years has a chance to win back his respect by reliving a football game, but first has to convince the star quarterback (Russell) to give it another go.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Russell and Williams try to get back their glory days

Author: goya-4 from PA USA
27 September 2000

Kurt Russell and Robin Williams star in this comedy about two men who try to get back their past and hopefully their futures by replaying an old high school football game where Williams dropped a Russell pass...Kinda like this movie, the ball was dropped. A good leading cast but there is not enough script to make the viewer care or laugh..on a scale of one to ten...5

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

a great 80's feel good movie

Author: (cj102100) from houston
21 April 2000

kurt russell is in top form as grizzled reno hightower in this classic sports film from the 80's. a decaffeinated robin williams garners laughs as a sad-sack football revisionalist, jack dundee, aquarius, (gotta, gotta, gotta satisfy) who is on pins and needles as he grubs on the daughter of jack "the big boss" palance, in sheer, naked horror of her father's horrid, horrid wrath. donald moffat nearly steals the show as dundee's overbearing father-in-law, which harkens back to michael caine's work in jaws 4, which, in turn, echoes c. thomas howell's classic performance in soul man. you'll grip the edge of your seat as you witness the braveheart-esque titanic clash of dr. death and jack dundee (who's pretty fast for a caucasian).

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Even With To Quality Star Power, It's Still A Very Weak Movie

Author: eric262003 from Canada
10 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Did you ever had that wish you could go back in time just to right a wrong that's been haunting you for years? Did you ever had that bad memory that's been eternally stuck in your brain and the only thing to make it disappear is to do it all over again? Just to get one last chance to revive yourself as a way to regain self-esteem that has hindered you over the years? "The Best of Times" tells the story of Jack Dundee (Robin Williams) who's faced in the similar situation that I aforementioned. Years ago, Dundee was a star football player in his high school team, the Taft High Rockets who was getting their butts kicked by their much powerful adversaries the Bakersfield Tigers. They never had a chance against Bakersfield. With the exception of the year 1972. When Taft had a chance at redemption the Tigers led by star quarterback Reno Hightower (Kurt Russell) had tied the Tigers. The High Rockets had the chance to win the game, Hightower threw the ball to Dundee, Dundee inadvertently dropped the ball causing the team to lose. Dundee has never had the chance to forgive himself.

We now switch gears to the year 1985,Jack is now a banker married to a lady named Elly (Holly Palance) who's father is the bank president who like to be referred to as the Colonel (Donald Moffat). The Colonel promotes Jack Vice-President as a means to keep her in tact and to prevent her from being married to a bona-fide loser. Even though his promotion should bring happiness, well sadly, it does not. His fumble from 1972 is still haunting him. At his wit's end he decides to replay the game. Sure the past can not be changed, but who says it's too late to rewrite it? Jack goes back to Taft and reunites with Hightower who now works as their local mechanic. Though with beaten up knees, and a marriage on the rocks, Hightower, unlike Jack cherishes the past as a time when the only moment of his life his talent ever had any meaning to it.

When Dundee asks Hightower to replay the game, Hightower rebuffs the idea. But Dundee's determination has got the town of Taft in full support of Dundee. Jack tell the Colonel who in a twist of fate is the president of the Bakersfield Tigers and agrees to let the games get underway. But Elly and Hightower's wife Gigi (Pamela Reed) are not to into the idea and join forces to stop this game from happening. With the town on their side and the old team getting themselves back in shape, the long-awaited rematch is now officially set. And with hard work, dedication and perseverance, they might successfully pull it off.

Released in 1986, this comedy puts in a great effort, but fails quite miserably. The film is directed by Roger Spottiswoode ("The 6th Day), the movie has very little to look upon. It was quite refreshing to see Robin Williams play a more laid-back character from the usual manic performances he is notorious for. The supporting performers Kurt Russell, Holly Palance and Pamela Reed give their best effort, but it still was not entirely satisfying enough for my tastes. The script was written by Ron Shelton who wrote classic films like "White Men Can't Jump" and "Bull Durham", failed to live up to his reputation in this forgettable film.

I guess the lesson to be learned from "The Best of Times" does not rely on the characters from the movie, but from the audience who watched the movie. It is still possible to cast talented performers, have a seasoned veteran scriptwriter and an accomplished director to come up with a film that does not entirely work. I can say it's good to watch as a guilty pleasure, but otherwise it is just a DVD that will likely collect dust.

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