In the sumer of 1976, 30-year old Vince Papale is having a tough run of luck. He's been working as a supply teacher for two days a week but has just found out that his job has been eliminated because of budget cuts. His wife gives up on him saying he'll never amount to anything and asks for a divorce. He works as a bartender and plays football with his friends. When the the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dick Vermeil, announces that he will hold open tryouts for the team, Vince reluctantly decides to give a try. Based on a true story. Written by
Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista were highly enamored with the production given the exponential popularity of the National Football League. The production was given a green-light secondary to the belief that Vince Papale's timeless story, like that of Notre Dame walk-on Daniel 'Rudy' Ruettiger or the New York Jets undrafted walk-on Wayne Chrebet, would transcend a regional demographic and be a success at the box-office in the domestic market. See more »
While the film accurately points out that Vince Papale never played college football, it omits the fact that Papale played professional football in the World Football League with the Philadelphia Bell before joining the Eagles. See more »
Wahlberg and Kinnear seem so easy wearing their roles naturally in this NFL sanctioned film about Philadelphia Eagles' Vince Papale and Coach Dick Vermeil
Both Mark Wahlberg and Greg Kinnear are such naturals in delivering their characters. When in fact, from the production notes, Wahlberg went through actual football training/coaching, being there with the team for every play and practice, gaining insight into his portrayal of a real living person. Both met their inspired 'hero'. For Kinnear, he received confirmation when Vermeil's son indicated that he got his father's mannerism/cadence spot on. The operative word here is 'genuine,' caring and intensely so. They worked hard preparing and learning to correctly portray the two NFL notables.
Papale and Vermeil - they needed each other (or fate brought them together). In a way, both are in the same boat: struggling to gain confidence by the rest of the team. Against all odds, they did it and won over the rest of the South Philly Eagles team and the PA fans. Yes, it is inspirational. Yes, it's been told before. Why so different? This film being NFL sanctioned is the more earnest in getting it right in every respect for authenticity. The shots of the different plays and athletic moves get up close and real with a trained acting team and augmented sound design.
Double duty as director of photography and director of his debut feature film, Ericson Core, faithfully puts us in the year 1976 recreated. The Jim Croce song that started the film "I Got A Name" is reminiscently catchy and hints at the personal struggles of Papale. With Sara Knowles ("Gattaca") production design, Susan Lyall ("Mississippi Masala") costume design, vital Football Coordinator Mark Ellis ("Miracle") who studied/choreographed the plays and moves for specific film shoot, and having Vince Papale and Dick Vermeil as consultants at hand, Brad Gann's script and a strong supportive team of producers, all made "INVINCIBLE" unarguably a worthwhile film to see.
I went into the cinema with no expectations - feeling fortunate to see Wahlberg and Kinnear both in one movie. I find the film heartwarming (a tearjerker for me, too). It encourages roots: remember the buddy friends, neighborhood community and parents who'd stand by us. The tenacity to not give up - keep trying, focus on task at hand - doing your best is no failure no matter what others may think. The integrity of one's character and believing in oneself is not easy to sustain in hard times. Support system close to you is important: Papale has Janet's encouragement and Vermail has his wife's timely reminders. We need such spirits genuinely emanated in films like "Invincible."
Greg Kinnear came a long way from the remake of "Sabrina" opposite Harrison Ford. His diverse roles in "As Good As It Gets" opposite Jack Nicholson, "Auto Focus" opposite Willem Dafoe, "The Matador" opposite Pierce Brosnan, and "Little Miss Sunshine" along with an ensemble of talents, demonstrated how vastly skillful he's become. Mark Wahlberg can be underrated - it's almost all him in "Boogie Nights", funny fantastic in "The Big Hit", quietly solid in "The Yard" (opposite James Caan), 'funkily' good in "Rock Star", smooth action in "The Italian Job" remake, gritty action in "Four Brothers" - he holds his own in a wide variety of complex and challenging roles, be it "Three Kings" or "I Heart Huckabees".
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