An aimless young man who is scalping tickets, gambling and drinking, agrees to coach a Little League team from the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago as a condition of getting a loan from a friend.
Up-and-coming sports reporter rescues a homeless man ("Champ") only to discover that he is, in fact, a boxing legend believed to have passed away. What begins as an opportunity to resurrect Champ's story and escape the shadow of his father's success becomes a personal journey as the ambitious reporter reexamines his own life and his relationship with his family.
Samuel L. Jackson,
Bright, well-educated, handsome Conor O'Neill's promising future was wrecked by his gambling addiction, which dragged him into heavy drinking and petty crime, but worst of all, the stifling grip of loan-shark bookies. Desperate for a loan, he accepts to stand in for lawyer friend Jimmy Fleming as coach of a Chicago black 'projects' ghetto Little League baseball team. His sense of pride, becoming the boys' sole idol, and competition, plus their attractive teacher, motivate Conor. But the crushing loan problem rather requires leaving town. Written by
Before the film was released in 2001, posters and ads reflected the rating as R before it was re-edited to dub over the kids using the "f" word. Despite quite a bit of profanity remaining, the film was then released with a PG-13 rating. See more »
In the overhead shot before the championship game, both base lines are painted on the field. The next view shows a man painting the third base line. See more »
[after Kofi has been taunting his teammates for missing grounders and fly balls, Conor hits a sharp liner that causes Kofi to duck]
C'mon Kofi! That one was right to you! What's the matter Kofi? You scared of the ball?
[Other players laugh]
New rule: Nobody can say anything bad to anyone else on the field.
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This is a stressful movie, with the gambling addiction and the gambling machine on one hand, and street gangs on the other. I really like the kids and think Keanu Reeves plays it straight with them. New York Times and local reviewers aside--way aside, this movie is definitely worth a look. I spent eight years on Chicago's South Side, and i'm grateful a cinema team is willing to show some emotion about some of the stuff that is part of grim daily life. The plot formula is good: i don't like cold voyeuristic slice-of-life with this material. I like that the material is used with an up-beat ending. Let us enjoy the entertainment of it, and find some hope in it. Goethe said that hope is always the better choice. And i will say it here: Keanu Reeves can act.
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