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|Index||12 reviews in total|
9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
I liked it, but most people might not., 12 June 2003
Author: chthon2 from Orlando, USA
Four former basketball teammates meet up at their coaches house after some
time and remnisce (I bet that's spelled wrong) about the good old days.
Eventually, it turns into a cynical, upsetting night with the only guy
making sense being the alcoholic, Tom (Gary Sinise).
This was based on a stage play, so putting it into film was probably an odd experience. I never saw the original film version, so I can't compare the two. But in this film, most of what we see goes on in one location, so there's mostly dialogue. The dialogue is excellent because of the actors (Sinise, Shalhoub, D'Onofrio especially), so you'll like this if you like 'talking movies'. If you're into movies with more action, then this probably won't be for you.
7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Excellent theatre that doesn't translate well to film, 21 January 2000
Author: FlickJunkie-2 from Atlanta
This is the second attempt to bring this thought provoking play to the
market, this time through a TV movie now in rental. Thoreau is quoted as
saying: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." This play
away the layers of self delusion to reveal such desperation in the
insecurities, disappointments, unrealized potential and mediocrity of four
men and a coach who's lives peaked in high school when they won the state
It is, unfortunately, a depiction too familiar to the many who never escaped their small town or neighborhood and live trying to salvage some feeling of dignity from the mediocrity and despair to which they have allowed their lives to sink.
At the 20th reunion at the coach's house (Paul Sorvino) the characters gradually reveal how pathetic their lives have become. There is the bitter coach, a unabashed bigot who still talks to grown men like they were teenaged basketball players and who believes all of life can be summed up in sports aphorisms.
James (Terry Kinney), a junior high school principal, is by far the most self delusional of the five, clearly a loser who never changed with the times, he believes he has a bright future in politics when he couldn't get elected to a sanitation post.
George (Tony Shalhoub) plays the mayor of Filmore, who has bungled his term in office and will imminently be voted out. He spends most of this time trying to convince himself and everyone else how popular and wonderful he is, when it is clear to everyone that he is a fool.
Phil (Vincent D'Onofrio) is a spoiled little rich boy who inherited his father's business which is now raping the environment for profit. He supports George's campaign so he can get variances that allow him to profit from this abuse.
Tom (a fabulous performance by Gary Sinese) is James brother, a vagabond alcoholic who ironically is the only one who sees the situation with any clarity. He is openly cynical of himself and the others and constantly speaks with justifiable disgust about all his peers and their miserable lives.
The problem with this and most plays that try to go to film is that unless the director adds uniqueness visually, or through the set, location, props or costumes, it just looks like you are watching a play through a window. Since you have lost the power of the live performance, it always loses something in translation.
Sorvino, as the director, failed to do this. He clearly focused on the actors performances (which were all exceptional) and did a brilliant job of recreating a great play on film. That did not make it a great film. It made it seem overly long and tedious. As a play I would give it a 9, as a film a 6.
This is not a film for everyone. One needs to get into a philosophical frame of mind and prepare to see an interesting character study of some very miserable characters. If you are an avid theater goer and can handle a downbeat drama about the failings of common people, I strongly recommend it. Otherwise look for some lighter fare.
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Worth a Watch, 12 June 1999
Author: Tam (firstname.lastname@example.org) from LaSalle, Illinois
This movie is based on a play, and is the second adaptation of this work. Paul Sorvino plays the basketball coach of a team of players that against all odds took home the championship 20 years ago. They have all met for a reunion. Terry Kinney plays James, a Junior High principal, and will quickly get on your nerves with all his whining and feel sorry for me role. Vincent D'Onofrio, as Phil, plays an obnoxious businessman with just the right amount of "money" cockiness. Tony Shalhoub is George, the current Mayor of the town, and appears to be on the verge of some sort of breakdown. Gary Sinise plays Tom, a writer, turned alcoholic, and in my opinion, is excellent in the role. While they are all suppose to be celebrating their championship, conflicts, jealousy, and fighting abound. As the men come to terms with what was, and is now, they are forced to look at their lives in a non-pleasant way. It's unusual to have a group of men talking and crying about what could have been, and I found it interesting watching them relate to each other. It's not the best movie I've seen, but it's certainly good enough for a viewing.
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
better, 12 April 2004
Author: billsav57 from USA
To someone who was born and/or spent any time in Scranton, Pa., "That Championship Season" is sort of what "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is to someone from Savannah, Ga. -- even though it isn't literally based on fact, as the latter is, it is sort of the "hometown" play, in that we all know characters like those in Jason Miller's play. I don't live in Scranton anymore, but I was there when the 1982 movie was made, and there was an incredible amount of hoopla surrounding it. Again, everybody either was at one of the film sites, or was actually in the film, or knows somebody in it. Some of my relatives actually befriended one of the cast members to the extent that they still keep in touch. The 1982 film's first half-hour or so are eerie to me in that they amazingly captured the look and feel of Scranton at that time, which were depressing, to say the least. A lot has changed -- for the better; it couldn't have gotten much worse -- since that movie was filmed, so they did capture a slice of history. All things considered, though, I give a slight nod to the newer, TV version. Sorvino -- a link to the original Broadway production -- is a little bit below Mitchum as the coach. But the 4 members of the TV cast have it over the 4 in the film. In fact, I thought Sorvino was the only one in the film to nail his part. In the TV version, Gary Sinese blows away Martin Sheen in the part of the drunk, Tom Daley. By the end of the film, Sheen was so obviously acting it was pathetic ... Sinese, who never gives a bad performance, clicked with the role much better and longer, I thought. The rest of the TV cast did a little bit better as an ensemble and with theatrical material than did Dern, Keach, etc. Dern's performance deteriorated as the film went on, too. Shahoub held it together better.
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Touching and True, 18 June 2006
Author: Atomic_Cafe714 from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is based mainly on the emotions and interactions of people.
There are only three locations (the school, the store, and the coach's
house) that are really used. It's primarily at the coach's house,
however. A movie doesn't need special effects or amazing views to be
amazing in itself.
Four friends who had bonded during their basketball days meet up. One is rich, important, and has no real love outside of money. One wants to be mayor again, but his competition is turning him sour. One wants to be superintendent of the school and take care of his family. One is a traveling alcoholic.
First off, I love the actors in this film. They've all been household names to me. They proved their worth here.
One of the most pivotal moments is when Tom, played by Gary Sinise, blows up on the coach. He yells and rants about how the coach cheated in the winning game. His blows the coach's whistle and yells back his catchphrases - "Forgive me Father, for I have sinned!" It's amazing to watch, with energy that just chills you.
Highly recommended to anyone who understands human emotion and doesn't need shiny effects to interest them.
Some high points but still not a great version, 15 December 2012
Author: Jetset971 from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The problem with both this 1999 version and the 1982 version of That Championship Season is that they both suffer badly when transfered to the big or even little screen. This is a fantastic play but is at best when it is put on where it belongs, on stage in front of an audience. Paul Sorvino not only graduates from playing Phil Romano on Broadway and in the 82 version but in this 1999 version he is both the coach and director. While he gives a brilliant performance as the coach, much better than Robert Mitchem did, he doesn't have the directing chops needed for this ambitious endeavor. As for the rest of the cast, only Gary Sinise, equals Sorvino in the acting calibur. Not that the others don't try but it seems insignificant in comparison to the two. I think the writers, Jason Miller, second attempt at making this into a movie is certainly an improvement but still feels out of place off the stage. Still, give it a look.
Great flick, 10 May 2012
Author: alex43223 from Ohio
Just saw this today. I thought it was great. Wasn't too exciting, and slow at times, but I thought the story was rather good. It kept me interested and the actors acted it well. I've seen the stars of this film do better, no doubt, but they are still good here. What can you expect for a TV movie after all? I would definitely check it out, if you are interested in basketball, or perhaps high school sports. Haven't seen another quite like it, with a similar story I mean. Sorvino, I had only seen once before, in GoodFellas. I loved that movie as did most people it seems, and I'm sure he was paid far more. The rest of the cast I recognized only from later work. I caught this on Encore and thought I'd give it a chance, I don't know why. Nothing better on I suppose. Well directed, indeed.
Sorvino and ego misses good opportunity, 18 March 2012
Author: Enzo Bondini from United States
Being the second attempt to put on film an outstanding Broadway play,
you would think that the producer/director would set aside egos long
enough to learn something. The movie is a tedious affair with
none-believable character portrayals (even for Gary Sinise, while being
the best, is directed to get too drunk too soon).
Perhaps a warning flag could have been posted when Sorvino took on the roles of producer, director, actor, theme song composer, violin concerto composer and with all the out-of-work actors available, agent who hires his own relatives for bit parts (even though Ron Howard and John Travolta do this regularly, they at least produce good movies).
As an actor Sorvino is great...when being directed by others. His performance is stiff, scripted, and evokes no emotion of sympathy for the by-gone glories. By the end, the audience has no attachment or like of the characters (racist, anti-Semitic, selfish) and could care less that they have all resolved their differences and end up posing for a "happy" picture for the scrap book. Paul, go back to acting.
Fantastic Film About Friendship, 22 June 2010
Author: livan063 from United States
Even without the near perfect dialogue that drives the film, it would
be better than most simply due to the amazing cast. The surprise star
of the film is Gary Sinise, who delivers a potentially Oscar worthy
performance. Behind him is a lineup consisting of Paul Sorvino, who
plays the retired coach of state championship basketball team meeting
at their 20 year reunion. Along with Sinise, the three other star
players are played equally as successfully by Tony Shalhoub, Vincent
D'Onofrio, and Terry Kinney.
The obvious reason this film became a modern masterpiece is because every man involved is an accomplished theatre star. The movie is carried by dialogue and most actors would not be able to handle a role such as this.
If you need explosions and action don't even bother watching this. If you want to see a film that will captivate you and keep you thinking after the credits roll, then sit back and enjoy one of the finest, most complete displays of acting ever recorded on film.
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Classic of Our Generation, 3 June 1999
Author: PeteG from Tallahassee, FL
In much the same way as "Our Town" or "Death of a Salesman" was for
ones, "That Championship Season" is becoming a classic of a later
generation. By some scheduling fluke, I was able to watch "TCS" with my
before its scheduled release on ShowTime about a week early.
This latest incarnation will no doubt reach more viewers than have other productions and Paul Sorvino has done a great job with a cast of actors both recognized for their dramatic accomplishments and just breaking out of comic or character actor roles. Gary Sinise (Forest Gump, Truman-HBO) and Vincent D'Onofrio (Homocide, MIB) provide solid ground for Sorvino's anchor and define an orbit for Tony Shaloub (Wings, MIB) and Terry Kinney (OZ-HBO) to work freely within.
Watch this and rent the 1982 video.
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