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|Index||139 reviews in total|
The best sports film are based on true events. This movie ranks at the top of sports films and it surpasses more recent sports flicks such as Friday Night Lights. In my opinion it ranks closer to: Hoosiers, The Natural, & Raging Bull. The story itself is the quintessential underdog story. One of the most intriguing aspects of film is how the directing and story are united to intricately describe one man's presence and how he represents a city and how he unknowingly inspires the team to perform. Whether or not this is completely accurate based on the true events, I don't know; but it was fantastically directed and presented. Wahlberg did a fantastic job. He is a breath of fresh air today's class of younger male actors that tend to be all looks and no substance. Actually, the casting all together was great; Kinner was superb was well as the rest of the cast. I'll be buying this movie on DVD and that's not something I do a lot.
You've seen the plot of INVINCIBLE a hundred times, and yet the story never grows old. It is the same plot as ROCKY, and it just so happens the story takes place in Philadelphia in 1976, the year ROCKY was released. Mark Wahlberg is the underdog, a down-on-his luck, aging, divorced, part-time bartender from depressed South Philly who tries out for the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that has seen better times. A new coach (Greg Kinnear) tries the gimmick of an open audition for the Eagles, with no particular expectations. Unlike ROCKY, there are no bombastic moments until the very end. It is all very low key and underplayed, much like the guy himself who is very quiet and never believes for one moment he has a chance. A new love interest, in the form of fellow barkeep Elizabeth "Slither" Banks, gives the film an added touch. Wahlberg is great, proving once again he can act with the best of them, and Banks is very appealing as a savvy, not-so-young New York woman who has come to Philly looking for a new start. She also happens to be a huge Giants fan,which leads to some very funny moments.
If you've seen the trailer for "Invincible", then you know the story of
Vince Papale, a Philadelphia everyman who earned a spot on his beloved
Eagles through an open tryout in 1976. The fact that most of the plot
is known is a negative in the sense that it robs the movie of most
drama, but doesn't affect enjoyment much, because most sports flicks
are straightforward anyway. Instead, the common underdog-turned-hero
plot, along with strong lead performances from Mark Wahlberg and Greg
Kinnear (as Coach Dick Vermeil) makes for an easy viewing experience.
While Wahlberg is the headliner, Kinnear performs equally well in a parallel role, as Vermeil makes the jump from college football to the pros. He wisely chooses not to do a complete impersonation of Coach Vermeil, but does relate Vermeil's easy-going aura. If you have watched much of Vermeil in the last few years, then you will certainly find a few moments in the movie that make you chuckle and nod, thinking Vermeil would have said or done exactly that. As for Wahlberg, not many Hollywood stars would be believable as football players. Can you really see someone like Tom Cruise 0r Adam Sandler (ok, bad example) playing in the NFL? Didn't think so. But Wahlberg is an exception. He has the physique and attitude of an elite athlete (see: Calvin Klein ads), and in part because of his street background, he has the tough guy image down (see: "Four Brothers"). But despite his evident charisma, he doesn't rise above his fellow cast members like Cruise sometimes does. Instead he represents the working man quite well and seems just like one of the boys from South Philly.
The energy of those everyday Joes is the gas that drives the movie's engine. Through Papale's circle of friends and family, "Invincible" captures two types of football passion wonderfully. Papale's bar pals exhibit the hardcore fanaticism that power any team's fanbase, and the generational enthusiasm that is passed down from father to son is also portrayed expertly via Papale and his dad. Both symbolize an ardor that transcends team loyalties, allowing fans of any team (except maybe the Giants) to share in the story. As everyone who has lived through 9/11 knows, sports can provide joyous moments, even in difficult times, and the movie effectively displays football as such an outlet without resorting to melodrama (ahem..."Rudy").
In addition to these positive aspects, "Invincible" has many of the characteristics mandatory in sports movies. There's a wet blanket female, adversity to overcome, and a handful of scenes that induce chills. The crunching football scenes are good too, although most of the action takes place either in practice or isolation shots involving Papale. The quality of football ought to be high though, since this is the first movie since "Jerry Maguire" that was officially approved by the National Football League. The NFL's okay was vital in lending authenticity to the movie, as the real logos, name, and places create a fun game of who-was-that during the flick. Anyone who watched football in the 1970s will enjoy picking familiar names off jerseys, and recognizing names and venues as they are mentioned and shown.
Sports movies are men's equivalent to chick flicks, pointing out a difference between the sexes. Women want to fall in love; men want to be sports heroes. So even though the plot is fairly routine, "Invincible" provides solid sports entertainment, particularly in the current build-up to football season, during which Disney was smart to release the film. It surpassed my mediocre expectations, and that's good enough for a recommendation from me.
Bottom Line: As "Rocky" in cleats, it satisfies a fix, and does so in surprisingly efficient fashion. 6 of 10.
I thought this was the best sports film in a long time. What a great story that was tastefully done. I had goose bumps from the start and at several other times throughout the movie. It was nice to see real football action and not the stuff they usually call football action in movies (ie: Friday Night Lights, The Program, Varsity Blues, etc, etc.). The story could not have set a better tone for gritty Philadelphia right from the opening credits. They also did a great job of "reviving" the old Veterans' Stadium (except for the new kind of turf the movie was shot on). It looked so real. If you loved Miracle, see this movie. But be prepared to put it on another level.
This was an above-average film that I liked. If it weren't a true
story, I would probably have dismissed it as just another formula
movie, but because it was true I liked it even more. Mark Wahlberg
plays a bartender who tries out for the Philadelphia Eagles and
redefines the word "long shot." However, sometimes long shots work out,
and he makes the team. After a rough induction into NFL life when,
while playing on special teams, he freezes up and gets chewed out by
the coach, he winds up making decent contributions to the team. You
will be rooting for Wahlberg's character the entire time, and it will
be worth it.
*** out of ****
For those who are fans of professional football, this movie is as good
as the film "Hoosiers" was for high school basketball fans. The game of
football is only for those who are not only tough, but determined,
especially at the professional level. Injuries are common. Mark
Wahlberg shows that he has what it takes as he continues his masterful
portrayal of lower middle class characters, who overcome lack of
education and poverty to show courage and insight and determination on
the way to the achievement of success and victory. Greg Kinnear plays
the legendary Coach Vermeil, who took an unmotivated and disheartened
Philadelphia Eagles to victory in the mid 1970s and eventually to the
Wahlberg and Kinnear have something in common. Both men started their careers doing something else than acting, Wahlberg as a rap musician and Kinnear as a talk show host. Both have achieved the ability to morph themselves into their respective roles in a convincing manner.
This is also another delightful depiction of the mid-1970's era, similar to that found in "Boogie Nights," also starring Wahlberg. Wahlberg seems to have an affinity to films of that period, so full of chaos, violence, change and drama.
I saw this movie and I have to say, the greatest part of this movie was an extra by the name of Timothy Scarpato. Unfortunately, his name does not appear in the credits, but every time this guy was on the screen... only one word can describe it and that word is: ELECTRIFYING!!!! It's only a matter of time before this guy hits is major on the big screen. Remember that name, Tim Scarpato, you'll be seeing it plastered on movie posters in the very near future!! All in all, this movie was great. Being a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan, this of course was a must see on opening day. Right now, I'm counting down the days until it's out on DVD. One, because it's a great movie worth watching over and over; and two, because Tim Scarpato commands the screen from the background! I plan on watching it every day, then when it gets totally old, I'll wait a month and it'll be brand spanking new all over again!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You know that feeling you get when something seems a little too
authentic? Like when you walk into an Italian restaurant, the table
cloths are checkered, in discernibly romantic music plays and the
maitre de talks like a Mario brother, you almost feel like you're in
Italy but then you remember you are actually visiting a cousin in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Everything is so on, that it just has to be off,
ya know? Well, that's how Disney's latest effort, Invincible, feels
(not the one with Billy Zane).
Invincible tells the story of Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg). A down on his luck bartender in South Philadelphia that tries out for the Eagles under new head coach Dick Vermeil. The year is 1976, the collars are blue, the city is entirely out of hope but the time is nigh for hearts to be warmed.
With the 70's songs jammin', the thick mutton chops or the nut-hugging shorts on dudes, you get the impression that Invincible is more concerned with period piece details than making a good movie. They talk about football as if it were a religion, hoping the viewers get lost in all of the lore and history of the NFL. To be fair, it does succeed on some fronts, like its portrayal of rotten-to-the-core Philly fans and the ownership that towns feel over their respective teams. These things are captured but really not as a product of this film but rather as a product of the bountiful lore and history of the NFL.
Speaking of rotten Philly fans, every shot of South Philly has a murky amber color treatment. Like we are watching everything take place at the bottom of a dirty glass of water. While heavy-handed, this does provide a nice dichotomy to the football scenes that are vibrant and alive with color, like a lucid bollywood dream.
While it is a fun trip, it's all a rehash. The buddies on strike, the estranged wife, the hope of a town riding on a hometown underdog, I guess I just don't see what separates this from other sports movies. It doesn't have the penned up emotion of Friday Night Lights or the mysticism of Hoosiers. It isn't a bad movie there just isn't much beyond a routine tale of triumph.
My biggest problem with the movie is the love interest, Janet Cantrell (Elizabeth Banks of Slither fame). See she's a Giants fan. It is amusing to see how the eagles fanatics respond to this blasphemy in the city of brotherly love but I wish that she came around in the end. Sure it is commendable when she stands up for her G-Men in a Philly bar. It is just reckless when she wears a Giants T-shirt to Veterans Stadium. And it is a downright shame when she roots for the Giants over the Eagles, the team that features the man she loves.
The film concludes with actual footage of Papale playing for the Eagles. This is the most inspiring stuff in the movie. In a film that strives for authenticity, this grainy film stock hits home. Papale makes tackles, returns a fumble for a touchdown and joyously hops around like a 6-year-old on Christmas morning. And anything that powerful is authentic enough for me.
Small spoilers, not really much of any though.
I went into this movie looking for a Rudy like effort from its lead character. Instead we got a blank piece of paper actor (Wahlberg). He never gives us any energy that would show he is actually interested in making such an unbelievable event, believable.
Even from the first scene he is basically a bump on a log with little to no emotion.
What killed this character (and was the death nail to Wahlberg) was the end credits showing Vince in his playing days. He was so excited and so full of emotion. It was like a firecracker of emotion to see him so excited at the end of the movie.
I can't recall Wahlberg breaking more then a half heart smile during the whole 2 hours.
The supporting cast was solid as a rock. I especially enjoyed Max his bar owner/ boss/ buddy. His wife was entertaining as well.
No exactly a cookie cut movie but well worth your time. Just don't expect much emotion from the top name.
In the mid-seventies, the city of Philadelphia and their Eagles needed
to win one. The recession and the poorest record in the NFL called out
for a hero. As Hollywood and sometimes life would have it, one actually
appears, Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg) from South Phillie, with
negligible high school experience but considerable character and heart.
Yes, it's a formula sports film, but what else can you do when those are the facts, Man? What sets Invincible apart from the clichés is the relentless hard work it portrays for aspiring and made-it players, not to mention the beleaguered coach (Greg Kinnear). Although Elizabeth Banks is way too attractive for a barmaid, this uncharacteristically unromantic up lifter will send you back to euchre.
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