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|Index||136 reviews in total|
I'll have to admit bias on this one. Not so much because I grew up a
Philadelphia Eagles fan, but because even more than that I am a huge
fan or the underdog and outsider. Even better, Invincible is based on a
true story of a man walking on to his hometown NFL team.
In the drab and recession-laden mid-1970s, the lowly Philadelphia Eagles are so bad that their new head coach, Dick Vermeil, announces team tryouts open to the public on live TV. While every Eagles fan and football-obsessed yahoo in town lines up, one standout athlete, a 30 year old bartender named Vince Papale is good enough to make the team and go pro.
In a style reminiscent of Rocky, the film's character struggles not only with his past failures amidst a new challenge of making the cut day-by-day, but he also grapples with his new role as a star and outcast in his own microcosm of working class Philadelphia life.
Greg Kinnear and Mark Wahlberg are both convincing in their roles, and even if you're a Giants or Cowboys fan, you will be inspired to root for Papale as the underdog that delivers on game day.
written by Andy Frye, MySportsComplex.blogspot.com
Mark Wahlberg continues to surprise and impress. This ostensibly is a
sports film based on a true story, but the excellent cast delivers
effective character driven scenes that elevate the proceedings into a
watchable relationship drama. I love a good "walk and talk" scene and
there are several. The director and editor are not afraid to have a
fixed 2-shot during dialog (director Ericson Core is also the Director
of Photography), more of a treat today in a world of herky-jerky hand
Period music is blended into a realistic background, especially in the bar scenes which are a backbone to the first half (heh) of the movie. My only quibble might be the casting of Elizabeth Banks as the love interest. The first time we see them in the same frame, well, the outcome is obvious. Ms Banks does a credible job and it is no negative reflection on her that she creates an attractive bar maid.
There is an interesting interview with Vince Papale over at DVD Fodder: http://www.filmfodder.com/dvd/archives/2006/12/vince_papale_in.shtml
It's not perfect, but Invincible works well as an uplifting study in hard work, humility, and perseverance. I hate to use the word "hero" when talking about sports icons, but if you have to idolize a guy who throws around a ball for a living, Vince Papale is the one to pick. The film plays out perfectly, hitting every note with practiced precision. Its score deserves special praise, a stellar mix of period specific rock and some of the best underdog makes good orchestral I've ever heard. Like everything about this film, it's a moving, uplifting, and a surprise. Sports movies are a dime a dozen, but Invincible lifts itself beyond the genre to tell the simple, true story of a man beating the odds through sheer force of will. Maybe Vince Papale isn't a hero, but like Rocky, Rudy, or any of the other classic sports figures we idolize, but he comes damn close.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Who doesn't like an underdog story? A story where the hero comes from
nothing to make it at the very top. Rocky did it - but that was from
the brain of Stallone, a fictional story and character. However,
Invincible is about a true life Joe who overcame all the odds to be a
I'm from the other side of the pond - Ireland - and football to me means something completely different. Neither do I have any interest in American football and not much knowledge of the rules / set-plays / special teams etc. etc. But this movie transcends all that and delivers a message centered around belief, never giving up on your dream and most importantly of all - friendship.
Mark Wahlberg is very good in his portrayal of Vince Papale - a 30 year old barman from Philidelphia who makes it on to a professional football team - Eagles - after an open try-out session organised by the new, desperate coach. Wahlberg has really improved in his acting as his career develops. Sure, he has duds (Planet of the Apes anyone?) but he has successes too (Basketball Diaries, Four Brothers, Shooter). This role is perfect for him. Even though he looks a little small to be a footballer, it simply adds to his likability. He is certainly well-built but his hangdog, everyman look fits so easily here that I, as a viewer, could totally buy into the fact that he was a down on his luck, out of work teacher trying hard to make his way in tough times in a tough city. He plays the role with such respect and pathos - that's its hard not to root for the guy. When he eventually makes it - I felt a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Mission accomplished from his point of view.
The direction of the movie is above average. First time director Ericson Cole does a good job on the scene setting, football sequences and some nice touches of CGI for some of the stadium shots. The opening montage depicting life in 1970's Philly to the backdrop of Jim Croce's lilting music is a fantastic introduction to the movie. I'm sure there are some liberties taken with the 'true' story but for dramatic effect there has to be - so no complaints here on that score. After all, for me, it is a movie first and a true story second.
Banks does a nice job with her (slightly underwritten) part as does all the buddies from Max's bar. Kinnear too is good as new coach Vermeil. But without Wahlberg stepping up to the mark - the whole thing could have gone down the toilet. But he is brilliant here. Even though Wahlberg has had his troubles down through the years (I could not stand him as Marky Mark) he has matured a lot and has a little rags to riches flavour about his own life too. Yet, he doesn't seem to act like a movie star. He projects the image of a quiet, hard working, prepared individual who knows how lucky he is to be where he is today and is not about to get all 'showbusiness' and lose it all.
Overall, the movie is an uplifting, inspiring story with some great gravitas and excellent performances. The only quibble I have is the sheer number of scenes in the film which show Wahlberg walking alone down a street, away from the camera. Not sure if this was supposed to signify something or not but it just got a little tiresome after a while. However - that is a small gripe. The other downside to the film is it's promotion over in Europe was very low key. So low key in fact that I do not even remember if it had a cinema release or not. I know it's a tough sell because of the American Football element but the DVD could have been pitched better too. Not a criticism of the movie per se but rather of the distribution of it.
Great movie, great performances, inspiring stuff. 8/10.
Very much in the 'ROCKY' style where an unknown gets his dream shot. I never thought i'd end up watching a Disney film on T.V at 1am but this had me hooked from the start, and also being a sucker for true story's it kept me watching. mark wahlberg was pretty out-standing, with the rest of the cast doing a fine job's. Maybe Hollywood has taken liberties with all the facts but that doesn't make it a bad movie. The film is paced just right and for me the sound track was spot on. This film defiantly tick's the underdog story box but also ticks the feel-good box too. And by the end i found myself giving a little fist pump for Vince. The only thing i didn't like was the sepia tint on the camera, maybe it was an effect to give it a more retro feel, but it is only a minor criticism.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is inspired by the story of Vince Papale. The basic plot is
a bartender who plays street ball answers an open tryout for the
Philedelphia Eagles. To everyones surprise, he not only makes it but
goes on to play for 3 seasons.
It should be noted that the producers took dramatic license and altered some facts. First of all, Vince had played pro ball before - he played for 2 seasons for the WFL for the Philedelphia Bells prior to trying out for the Eagles. That fact was left out to make it seem even more unlikely that this average Joe can just walk on and make the NFL. Also, he wasn't from South Philly - he was from Prospect Park which is about 30 miles away.
But details aside, it is still a very inspiring story. Philly and a lot of the country was experiencing hard times in the 70's. Much like we are now. And everybody loves an underdog that rises form the ashes and makes good.
They did a good job in creating the characters that surround Vince to keep it interesting. I like the touch of having his wife walk out just prior to his trying out - and writing that nasty note that goes on to inspire him to NEVER GIVE UP.
There is nostalgia galore for those of us who experienced the 70's - from the crazy clothes (men playing football in short-shorts with tube socks), the great soundtrack music, the muscle cars, mutton-chop sideburns, and very BUSY wallpaper. Were the 70's really sepia-toned? (I guess it could've been depending on what you were smoking). They used some type of dark lens or color filter in the filming so as to add to the nostalgic feel.
There were some memorable moments in the film. It was heartbreaking when he comes home to his empty apartment to learn his wife has left and took everything, leaving behind a heartless note to add to his humiliation. You wait in breathless anticipation with Vince as he sits alone in his Training camp dorm room with his playbook in hand - listening to the coach's steps approaching outside his door, letting players go. There is the funny moment when you hear Vince "losing his lunch" in the bathroom before his first game, only to see Coach Vermeil exit the next stall - having just done the same. I think the neighborhood pickup game filmed in the rain was beautifully filmed (especially the slow motion) and communicated how much these guys loved the game. And who can forget the moment in his first home game when Vince finally sees success as he tackles the kickoff returner - and then stops and point ups to his friends who are going crazy in the the stands.
There is a lot to cheer for in this feel-good film. There are themes of friendship, courage, determination and, ultimately, about never giving up. It's also a film you can watch with the whole family, which is rare these days. You will leave this movie smiling and feeling inspired!
You've seen it in Rocky, Rudy, and probably many other films. Little
guy gets a chance and shines in the big game.
This is based on a real character who walked on to the field and played pro ball for three years. It's a great story and made even more so by the fact that his friends were really suffering at the time with a strike and needed the boost that came from his performance.
Mark Wahlburg (Four Brothers, The Planet of the Apes) was spot on as Vince Papale, the bartender who became a pro football player. Greg Kinnear (The Matador, Little Miss Sunshine) was convincing as coach Dick Vermeil. Elizabeth Banks from the Spiderman trilogy was just plain hot as the girlfriend.
This is one of the greats for sports films.
Old South-Phillie-town.... trashed and worn out, with hard times,
broken love and broken dreams in spades, but it turns out to be a
winner anyway, even though this story's been done so many times before.
Hard to say that any new creative ground was broken with Invincible,
but it was well done and con-Vinc(e)-ing enough to get a thumbs-up from
me. We all love to see a deep underdog win, even if it's for the 100th
time, and even in worn out Rocky-town. This was a football Rocky flick,
yes, but the story moves our hearts just the same, as it is a
profoundly human story that will always move us if well told, and this
one was surely well told. Faith and hope are what keeps us all going,
and this film was filled with both.
What I liked best is that it showed that people still can and do pull together for a common cause if their beliefs are strong enough, even if it's sports and not the world of real life(To these guys, the Eagles were more important than real life). Beliefs here were shown to be stronger almost than breathing, really more like a choice between life and death. The poor, struggling but tough-as-nails guys shown in this 'hood had such a hard time being even close to successful in life, but their faith in the Eagles kept them going until it all finally paid off in a winner, and especially for Vince Papali, the bartender/substitute teacher profiled so well here. And, he got the girl! Yo, Adrian, where are you when we need you?
I loved this movie and I will go out of my way not to watch football.
Yes, there is a lot of football in the movie but the main story line is
the human spirit.
I have always liked Mark Wahlberg's work and he is outstanding in the role of Vince Papale, a down on his luck, everyday guy who makes the Philadelphia Eagles football team during a time when it was also down on its luck. It was a good teaming resulting in a great story.
There is little point in recapping the movie as it has been talked about by others and it is a true story. I merely wanted to mention that, should you want a couple of hours of pure entertainment and like "feel good" movies, Invincible is worth much more than the price of admission.
Not spoiling anything but the women will cry at this movie. Don't go expecting Friday Night Lights or Remember The Titans. This is a people story. It has football in it but it is not the entire focus of the story. The script was very well written and it really took you on an emotional ride you felt the same emotions that the people in the story were feeling. Guys this is one of those movies that it's okay for you to cry at to. The story is good and it grabs you from the start. The acting is superb and there aren't any of those uncomfortable parts were you feel almost to embarrassed to watch because you're looking so closely at another persons life. I found it fun to watch, there are some parts that will make you laugh, but the overall feel is pretty serious. You feel good after you watch it you feel like you didn't just waste an hour and a half of your life. This movie is great for football fans, and movie buffs alike. Teenagers will find some parts slow but all in all it's a good movie.
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