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The Winning Season
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Winning Season More at IMDbPro »

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Took me by surprise

8/10
Author: coco234 from United States
4 November 2010

I loved this movie. I rented it on demand the same day as theatrical release. I thought it would be a goofy off the wall sort of comedy with Rob Corddry in it as the school principal. To my surprise this was a comedy that was very touching and heartwarming. I loved the developing relationship between Sam Rockwell (the girls coach) and the team. I was also very pleased to see a movie with a group of teenage girls that did not depict them as a bunch of catty little snots. Yes the team has their differences and cliquishness, but that is minimal compared to the bonding that goes on. Margo Martindale is great as the assistant coach. The actors in this movie are pitch perfect acting up to the limit of a real character but never crossing the line to where they are not believable. See this movie when you just want to feel good!

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

My 349th Review: Sneaky lowball comedy...surprisingly good.....

7/10
Author: intelearts from the big screen
25 November 2010

Kind of Garden State with Basketball, a sneaky lowball story of a loser coach's shot of redemption with a girls' basketball team, the Lady Chargers, that is both very funny and also kind of effective on the drama front.

Everyone creates a low-fi vibe and just runs with it, small town values - we loved the comedy is in the small touches - and the timing - much of the comedy comes from the everyday conversations but just rings true.

If you like sports movies with a little more than just training and victory dances then this fits the bill well - it's well done at every step...

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16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

It's a Winner!

9/10
Author: sundevil27 from Salt Lake City, UT USA
20 January 2009

Just got back from seeing the premiere of The Winning Season at Sundance 09' and couldn't be more thrilled to report back that we have a winner.

The basic elements of the story are familiar; down in out coach finds a second chance with a bunch of scrubs and you know the rest. The Winning Season isn't groundbreakingly different from its ancestors, but just enough in all the right places to make this "dramedy" a very rewarding viewing. Audiences familiar with typical indie fare, will find that The Winning Season is indeed cut from an indie mold. The Winning Season does not gloss over the coach's failures, his abusiveness or the realities of the steep obstacles he faces. This is a good thing though, because being able to see the dark nature of the human condition makes the successes all that much more enjoyable. The strength of the The Winning Season is in its balances and ultimately the director/writers decision to allow humor and healing to be the driving force as the movie plays out. Far too often indie films allow their depressive themes to run rampant in what appears to be an effort to increase anti-depressant sales. There a lot of folks who think of any movie labeled as a "dramedy" to be fluff or mainstream box office disguising itself as an indie movie, but I would beg to differ. There is always room for reality and laughter to co-exist in a uniquely indie vision, and in the end movies should be allowed to make the viewer feel rewarded. The Winning Season aims to do that, and it's pretty much hit that mark.

On to the cast, Sam Rockwell (always underrated) is right on the money with his performance that never waivers from the lead characters self destructive nature as well as delivering such wonderfully dry humor that you keep thinking to yourself why isn't this guy getting more credit for being such a great actor. The young women in the film who make up the team are terrific and give such a sweetness to each of their roles, Emma Roberts in particular is fantastically clever in her role. Also, what a bonus to have Rob Coddry of Daily Show fame, as the goofy principle he just adds the right comedic touches to the scenes between he and Rockwell. Finally James Strouse, coming off two other well received Sundance films, ups his game here and brings a very strong effort. He should have very little problem getting more gigs with this type of quality output.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

The same sports story, but done with quality dramatic and comedic elements

7/10
Author: napierslogs from Ontario, Canada
23 November 2010

At least "The Winning Season" knows that the whole down-on-his-luck coach and group of misfit girls basketball team who learn about life and winning together type of story has been done before. They did unfortunately follow the exact same formula, but with a hint of whimsy and self-awareness, it's above average for the genre.

Emma Roberts and the other girls comprising the team actually come across as real teenage girls. I found them cute and funny. As a big fan of Sam Rockwell, he seems to be the reason why this film is pretty good. He's basically a drunken asshole, very unlikable, but he completely draws you in so there's a real emotional connection for the dramatic elements. And as he has demonstrated before, his physical comedy antics are perfect making the comedy scenes pretty funny.

"The Winning Season" has been done many times before, but here they managed to do it without being cheesy, while providing quality scenes of drama and comedy. If you like the genre, it is certainly worth a look.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

More than just another basketball movie.

Author: sdrawdedivadnairb
17 July 2011

Every element comes together very well in this film give you much more than you'd expect from just another sports movie. Though it has a very "bad news bears" feel to it, the coach has real issues, but you don't really blame him for the problems he has. He ends up being more than just a coach to the girls, but a mentor and friend.

The acting all blends together well, and make the characters seem real with a scrip written with today's teenagers in mind. Even the soundtrack and graphic elements are a great edition and gives really brings it together.

I could normally care less about girl's basketball, but this movie will help you see there is more to this sport than just basketball. The winning season will captivate you and make you care about the characters and wish it was based on a true story.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Emma Roberts

7/10
Author: melissagordon78 from United States
3 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw The Winning Season at Sundance. It was sweet and heartwarming. Sam Rockwell is the lead and he does a good job playing the Bad New Bears like coach. The winner here is Emma Roberts. I am admittedly a fan so I am biased. But I do wish there was more Emma in this film. That was my only disappointment. Otherwise it is a typical feel good film with all the big moments you would expect. Nicely done. I am not a big sports fan so maybe it didn't resonate with me as much as I would have liked. But in Sundance you never know what to expect when walking into a film. This was definitely an interesting film to play but I lean more towards the more realistic films in general. The films that are really great but never make it to my town. This one, I have a feeling will be seen by many.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A lotta fun....though I'd never let him coach my daughters!

7/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
15 February 2012

In many ways, "The Winning Season" is a bit like "The Bad News Bears" for the 21st century, though I certainly enjoyed this newer film much more. I draw the comparison because a rather crude drunk (Sam Rockwell) reluctantly takes over as coach of a rather bedraggled team--much like Walter Matthau in "The Bad News Bears".

The film begins with Rockwell working in the kitchen at a greasy spoon. It seems his life has spiraled out of control and he is now being given a chance at coaching once again. But, he's a drunk and his relationship with his ex-wife and daughter are a mess...and he seems to have zero people or coaching skills. How the heck can he pull together a team consisting of only six girls to make a winning season?

This is an inappropriate film. It's fill of inappropriate language and I'd hate to think of either of my daughters ever having a coach like this guy. But, it's odd because you do like the guy in an odd way--he's not all bad. And, the dialog is quite clever and funny--and filled with expletives I think of it as a guilty pleasure--and a somewhat clichéd one as well. But, it's still likable and clever and well worth seeing if just for Rockwell's strange portrayal.

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The Winning Season is a winning movie

7/10
Author: DazedOdyssey from Canada
23 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched The Winning Season on Netflix, and I didn't think it was going to be all that good, but boy was I ever surprised. The Winning Season is definitely near the top of my list for the best sports movie I've ever seen.

The movie starts off with the main character (Bill, played by Sam Rockwell) cleaning tables at a restaurant. His friend (Terry, played by Rob Corddry) walks in and asks him if he would like to coach the girls varsity basketball team. Bill is surprised by the news and answers with a unsure yes. Bill then quits his job, and this is where his life begins to go into a spiral, of good and bad.

The Winning Season has a good flow with it's story and it never feels like they try to force something into it. Most of the scenes have a meaning and a message to people young and old. Some of the dialogue is iffy, but most of the time the dialogue works, mostly because of the way Sam Rockwell delivers it.

Sam Rockwell gives a great performance in this movie. He makes you believe that hes actually a divorced deadbeat father. As for all of the other performances, they're mostly sub par, especially the characters Damon and Molly. That's what you would expect though with young acting actors and actresses, especially with this movie being their first real big movie.

Overall, The Winning Season has a lot of heartfelt scenes which makes you actually care for some of the characters. If you're thinking about watching this with your teenage kid, then it'd be a perfect movie for you guys since it deals with a lot of different aspects and problems in teenagers lives like race, sexuality, and plenty of other things as well. The Winning Season is a gratifying movie, for all ages, you won't be disappointed.

7/10

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

likable, but unbalanced take on some tough themes

5/10
Author: witster18 from United States
9 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Winning Season IS an enjoyable film because of some fine acting and its' feel-good tone, but I feel a bit uneasy about how the film handled some of the tough subject matter.

Sam Rockwell plays a once successful High School basketball coach who gets an offer from an old friend(now principal) to take a coaching job. When he finds out it's coaching girls varsity he is hesitant, but figures that it's better than bus-ing tables at the local five and dime.

Sam's interaction with the girls and the teams' progress is the strongest characteristic of this film. It isn't until the film dives headfirst into some pretty tough subject matter that it gets a bit derailed. Sam struggles with alcohol, and while the film approaches this subplot with good intentions - in the end it makes the viewer feel a bit uncomfortable about the whole situation. In 'Hoosiers' Dennis Hopper played a similar role - only his role was as an assistant, and he ended up listening to the final game from a hospital bed(a far more realistic fate). Here, Sam is just as bad of an alcoholic, but he interacts with the girls while drinking(on many occasions), and the film somehow tries to spin the whole thing into a positive(which quite honestly - does not work) The same goes for a sexual orientation subplot that never gains much steam anyway. The film has good intentions here as well, but doesn't ever really develop this subplot. It left me wondering why they even brought it up. Unfortunately, we don't get much closure on the lesbian/alcoholism themes.

The filmmakers here could have left out the sexual orientation stuff(I'm only saying that if you're going to include it - conclude it!).

Thankfully, the girls and Sam Rockwell are great in this movie. The moral is 'winning isn't everything'. I enjoyed the movie, but feel like it could have been even better. Marginally recommended, but don't be fooled as this film is definitely for the 13+ age bracket.

You'll like this if you liked: WHip It, Hoosiers, Wildcats, or Glory Road.

54/100

Late EDIT - Of Course some will respond negatively just because I didn't like the way the film tackled the tough subject matter. It doesn't make me homophobic or insensitive.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Been A while since I've seen Ross' Ex-wives gay lover in a show (friends)

Author: dutskenhousen (dutskenhousen@yahoo.com) from Mpls, MN
31 August 2011

The plot of this movie is nothing new. The redemtion of a loser coach and his troubled life he has. In does however play to a comedic tone for the entire movie, sort of making fun of a genre that takes itself so seriously.

It is unique in having so many different plot/teen/strife/issues; It feels like they throw the entire arsenal at you. You think to yourself, do they even have time to Fix all of these conflicts; But, Like any great commerical they don't show you everything. They do however enough to get the point across.

The comedy was light and fresh, swearing added to the mocking tone of sports struggle movies. The redemtion is on both sides of the isle as the coach and his team learns something. If your in a basketball mode or just an avid sports fan, i'd recommend -

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