The Best of Times (1986) Poster

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EnriqueH17 January 2002
I remember one day I was sitting around the house, bored. I saw that a movie was coming on and that it had Kurt Russell and Robin Williams, so I thought I ought to check it out. It was one of those great moments where I was unexpectedly greeted with a really fun, charming movie.

Both Russell and Williams give funny performances, but their characters also feel pretty real. The girls are also quite believable and fun to watch. The football scenes are funny, but when it's not making you laugh, it seems genuine. I also felt drawn into this little town called "Taft". Here's this little town that seems quite small with not a lot to do, yet I found something enthralling about it. No doubt the characterizations are a big plus for the film. I highly recommend this movie, whether you like football or not because the cast and director really make it work.
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This is more about relationships & identity than football.
gmmax15 July 2001
Jack & Reno have become very mediocre married men, but they have one claim to fame: they were heroes in high school when they played football. The only problem is they lost "that game," the one most important game of the season; then they went on to live their lives, marry the high school sweethearts, and never got a chance to redeem themselves. This has become an obsession, to the point where they can't do anything but think about football. They watch every game that's on.

The problem is, their wives are sick to death of hearing about it- so sick of hearing about football, they are talking about divorce. Still- this obsession is almost as important to them as their marriages.

There is an hilarious scene in which they have finally talked their wives into giving them one more chance, and the four of them are having dinner together. Unfortunately, the wives have picked the worst night of the week to ask them over for dinner: football night. As the four of them sit at the dinner table, the wives are unaware that the football game is on in the next room, and they are more absorbed in the game than in the conversation at table. Watching out of the corners of their eyes, they finally blow their own cover by hollering and screaming at an exciting football play.

Of course, they end the movie with a horribly-played game in which they redeem themselves and everybody is happy ever after. It is the study of men and how they tend to focus on their masculine pursuits to the most ridiculous extremes. And it is a study of how women deal with these "boys will be boys" types. Very real, very funny, and something many of us can surely identify with!!
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Maybe not the best of films, but worth checking out.
Lee Eisenberg5 October 2005
I guess that everyone has to make a comeback at some point. And that's exactly what embarrassed Taft resident Jack Dundee (Robin Williams) intends to do in "The Best of Times". Yep, the man who went all crazy with the radio in "Good Morning, Vietnam" is playing football. In this case, he seeks to replay a game that cost his high school a prestigious title. But ex-teammate Reno Hightower (Kurt Russell) isn't just going to go along with it so easily.

Granted, it's not the best movie for either man. But Williams and Russell are actually a pretty good comedy team. And some of the names in this movie are likely to give you the giggles (to say the least). Check it out.
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Classic 80's film, an homage to anyone who wishes they could still get out there and play
greeksux21 December 2000
Kurt Russell is at his best as the man who lives off his past glories, Reno Hightower. Robin Williams is his polar opposite in a rare low key performance as Jack Dundee. He dropped the Big Pass in more ways than one.

You'll see some of the most quotable scenes ever put into one film, as Jack hisses at a rat, Reno poses, and the call of the caribou goes out.

Don't miss this classic that isn't scared to show football in the mud the way it should be played (note to the NFL).
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" I'm not a has-been, . . . . . I'm a never was. "
thinker169131 July 2007
Have you ever in your life, gone out for a sport's activity, tried your best, and then found yourself in an important segment of it, where for a brief moment, you were given a chance to be a hero and a champion and . . . failed? I believe many of us have had that moment in our lives. This is the premise of the movie, "The Best of Times." In this story a middle age banker, named Jack Dundee (Robin Williams) suffers from the deep melancholy of a football mistake, which happened years ago, is inspired to re-play the game . . again. In order to accomplish this he must convince the once great football quarterback, Reno Hightower (Kurt Russell) to make a comeback. For Reno, who is satisfied with his present lot in life, see's no need to change the past record, which get's better as he ages. Added to both their problem is the fact years have passed and in addition, both their marriages are floundering and in need of re-vamping. Not easy when his Father-in-law (Donald Moffat) habitually reminds him of the biggest drop. Nevertheless, Dundee is persistent and will do anything to try and correct the greatest blunder of his life. Great fun for anyone wishing to enjoy their youth again. ***
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Best of Movies
rdwithcoldwell4 February 2007
The Best of Times is one of the great sleepers of all time. The setup does not tax your patience, the development is steady, the many intertwined relationships are lovingly established, the gags and bits all work and all are funny. There is lots of sentimentality. Kurt Russell playing Reno Hightower puts in one of his best performances, and Robin Williams playing Jack Dundee is sure-footed as ever. The cast also includes many great supporters. Jack's wife is played by Jack Palance's daughter, who is lovely, as is Reno's wife, who is a great comedian. I can't tell you how many times I've watched this movie, how many times I have enjoyed it and how often I wish that more people could see it.
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Hilarious movie that deserves another look
Kralik9 August 1999
Why did this movie fail commercially? It's got a sharp script (by Ron Shelton) and great performances by Kurt Russell and, especially, Robin Williams, in a brilliant manic nerd turn that's different from any of his other work. A great renter.
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My favorite football flick
RNMorton25 October 1999
Robin Williams and Kurt Russell play guys in their 30's who put their marraiges in jeopardy by deciding (Russell somewhat reluctantly) to replay their heartbreaking tie with rival Bakersfield years after the fact. Williams is ok, but Russell is flat-out great as legendary Taft quarterback Remo Hightower. Holly Palance does a nice and attractive turn as Williams' wife, who could live without this rematch. Film is worth watching just to see the famed Remo in action. Highly recommended.
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If I Could Turn Back Time
bkoganbing27 March 2012
If you can ever wrap your mind around the concept of Robin Williams as a high school jock I think you might enjoy The Best Of Times. What this is not is a film using the hit song from La Cage Aux Folles as a theme.

Instead Robin Williams plays a guy with a reputation of blowing a long pass from quarterback Kurt Russell in a final game with Bakersfield that blew the state championship for the best high school team that Taft, California ever produced. In fact the opening narrative makes it quite clear that Taft, California is one loser of a town throughout its history. Still living in a small town and married to Holly Palance, daughter of Donald Moffat who was a booster of the Bakersfield team has made life pretty miserable.

No more miserable than it was for Kurt Russell who blew out a knee when the entire Bakersfield line nailed him just as he got off the pass that Williams dropped thereby losing a possible pro career.

So Williams who's had 15 years of taunts decides to challenge his father-in-law to replay the game and maybe history won't repeat itself. It's going to take a lot though to motivate the rest of the team, especially Russell, but Williams has a bag of tricks.

I guess there's nothing sillier then old men trying to act young again. As Bill Holden said to Gloria Swanson, there's nothing wrong with being 50 unless you try to act like you're 25. That forms the basis for most of the comedy in The Best Of Times.

Both Williams and Russell have done better work, but this one will provide a few laughs. Still Williams as a jock does not compute.
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Have always enjoyed this film
CKCSWHFFAN24 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The film did not do well at the box office.

I saw it in a sneak preview.

I have always enjoyed the film.

I live in 1 of the cities mentioned in the film where past players moved to.

Not the best film ever put to screen, but enjoyable.

Robin did well with his role.

Best line of the film at the beginning, by Robin's character Jack: "I was that SOB!" Cleaned up here as not to offend anyone.

Was glad when it came to DVD a few years back in the wide screen/letter box format.

I am not a football fan or a real sports fan. But, you do not need to be one to like this film.
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The Big Game
Imrugger18 April 2002
The big game defines the modern male in pre-pc America. Your born, you learn a few things, you play in the big game, and you die. Kurt and Robin struggle with the cycle of life in this movie and committ the un-natural act of playing the game over. Not the classic struggle of good versus evil but the classic struggle simply for the sake of strugle. Where is Kid Lester today, on "Pop up Video?"
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Ever have and event that you could never out live.
mm-3921 August 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler This movie is about such a concept. Williams will go to any low in order to replay the football game that haunts his life. Russel plays the ex jock who peaked in high school. Finally the under dog get its shot, and Williams can save face, instead of being the clown. A great reverse tragedy. 7/10
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It really can't be said this movie was the best of times for the makers.
Aaron137526 November 2010
This film looks like it did nothing at the box office and with only 28 reviews at the time of this writing one can say it was not the most memorable of films. However, despite the fact it was not a success at the box office it had its moments. It was not all good, but not all bad. The film stars Robin Williams, a man who in high school dropped the winning touchdown against his school's biggest rival and ever since that time the town has gotten stale and so has his life. So too, has the life of the star quarterback played by Kurt Russell. So to try and put things right in a way, Williams character tries to get a football game together between the schools again using the same players that played that fateful game so many years ago. It is humorous in some parts, but one of those films that gets slow too, it also has Robin Williams and he can be a bit over the top a lot of the times. Here he is actually kind of reserved, for him anyway. His character has a nifty way to get everyone on board with his idea as at first people are a bit hesitant about doing it. However, the film plays out in rather predictable fashion as one just knows how this one is going to end.
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Russell and Williams try to get back their glory days
goya-427 September 2000
Kurt Russell and Robin Williams star in this comedy about two men who try to get back their past and hopefully their futures by replaying an old high school football game where Williams dropped a Russell pass...Kinda like this movie, the ball was dropped. A good leading cast but there is not enough script to make the viewer care or laugh..on a scale of one to ten...5
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a great 80's feel good movie
sampanaflex21 April 2000
kurt russell is in top form as grizzled reno hightower in this classic sports film from the 80's. a decaffeinated robin williams garners laughs as a sad-sack football revisionalist, jack dundee, aquarius, (gotta, gotta, gotta satisfy) who is on pins and needles as he grubs on the daughter of jack "the big boss" palance, in sheer, naked horror of her father's horrid, horrid wrath. donald moffat nearly steals the show as dundee's overbearing father-in-law, which harkens back to michael caine's work in jaws 4, which, in turn, echoes c. thomas howell's classic performance in soul man. you'll grip the edge of your seat as you witness the braveheart-esque titanic clash of dr. death and jack dundee (who's pretty fast for a caucasian).
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Classic David VS. Goliath on the Small Town GridIron !!! A Triumph of the Human Spirit !!!
cshep12 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
For all of the Has-Beens or Never Was's or for the curious, this film is for you....Ever played a sport, or wondered what it felt like after the lights went down and the crowd left..this film explores that and more.

Robin Williams(Jack Dundee) is a small town assistant banker in Taft CA., whose life has been plagued, by a miscue in a BIG rival high school football game 13 years ago, when he dropped the pass that would have won over Bakersfield, their Arch-Rival, that takes great pleasure in pounding the Taft Rockets, season after season . Kurt Russell(Reno Hightower) was the Quarterback in that famous game, and is the local legend, that now is a van repair specialist, whose life is fading into lethargy, like the town of Taft itself.

Williams gets an idea to remake history, by replaying the GAME ! He meets with skeptical resistance, so he goes on a one man terror spree, and literally paints the town , orange, yellow and black , to raise the ire of the residents to recreate THE game . After succeeding, the players from that 1972 team reunite, and try to get in shape to practice, which is hysterical . The game is on , Bakesfield is loaded with all of the high tech gadgets, game strategies, and sophisticated training routines . Taft is drawing plays in the mud, with sticks, stones, and bottle caps, what a riot ! Does Taft overcome the odds, does Robin Willians purge the demons from his bowels, does Kurt Russell rise from lethargy, watch "The Best of Times" for one of the BEST viewing experiences ever!

One of Robin Williams best UNDERSTATED performances, the chemistry between Robin and Russell is magic . And who is Kid Lester ???

Holly Palance and Pamela Reed give memorable performances as the wives of Williams and Russell. Succeeds on Many Levels. A 10 !
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Russell makes dull dramedy about small town losers watchable
a_chinn29 October 2017
Passable little comedy/drama about small town losers wanting another shot at winning the high school football game they lost so many years before. Robin Williams plays the running back who dropped what would have been the winning touchdown and Kurt Russell plays the star quarterback. Many years removed from high school, the two find their marriages and finances on the rocks. Williams then convinces everyone to recreate the big game between rival towns in some vain hope that it will change everything in his life for the better. The script is by Ron Shelton, who'd later go on to write some memorable sports movies ("Bull Durham," "White Men Can't Jump," "Cobb," "Blue Chips," etc.) and would direct Kurt Russell in one of his best leading roles ("Dark Blue"), but this film is nowhere as memorable and hardly one of Russell's best roles. Williams' uptight banker character is just annoying, completely unlikable, and surprisingly unfunny. If it were not for the likability of Russell, I think this film would have been a complete dud.
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The Best of Times
Coxer999 July 1999
Pleasing comedy about a town loser (Williams) who after 13 years has a chance to win back his respect by reliving a football game, but first has to convince the star quarterback (Russell) to give it another go.
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A sweet little comedy that will bring tears to the eyes of life's chronic losers
billk5115 December 2016
High School. How much is packed into that four year period that will mold and define our lives ever after. As definitively portrayed by Janis Ian in her surprise hit classic "At Seventeen," the real high school stories are not about the Beach Boys driving around town in their deuce coupe and their woody, surrounded by the finest of high school womanhood, but rather about the poor souls alone at home on Saturday night.

Recently someone I know had his guitar stolen. It was not just any guitar, but one he cherished that was given to him, a good looking young man, as a present by family friends in thanks for his having taken their daughter to her senior prom when she had no one else who would have taken her. To the parents, that was what it was worth to have their daughter holding her head up proudly at the prom versus being miserably alone at home.

Jack, here played to perfection by Robin Williams, was one of those chronic losers, forever unable to escape the disgrace of having dropped an easy game-winning catch that would have propelled his team to victory for the first time ever against rival big, bad Bakersfield. This film depicts Jack's unlikely redemption and, if you were one who was greatly moved by "At Seventeen," you will probably brush a tear from your eye at the end.
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Oh to be able to replay the game that cost you your dignity.
Mystery-212 February 1999
Although not the best work of either Kurt Russell or Robin Williams, this familiar comedy does what it sets out to do. It offers an hour and a half worth of good feelings. William's cowering nerd plays well to Russell's washed up high school hero and together their plan to replay the football game that set each one's destiny in motion is predictable and fun. And in the process, they both get to impress the women in their lives. There is one warning, if you are a football fan don't watch the action too closely. Even for players supposed to be past their prime, these guys really stink.
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It's all so predictable...
vdwulp2 August 1999
Robin Williams is a great actor but this surely isn't his best movie. In the first fifteen minutes the whole story is clear: they are going to play the match, win it and live happily ever after with their wives. The tale is the same as any 'sports' movie made in the 1980's; the only difference is that the guys are older.
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I'm from Taft
ralpht2221 May 2007
hi I'm from Taft California and i like this movie because it shows how us little town people love our sports football is the main thing in Taft and this movie shows just how important it is i personally think they should make another one but instead of actors use us kids to play the games well show you our determination we've beat Bakersfield every game for the past 6 years and since I'm a senior next year its my last chance and then its college we've had running backs lead the state and I'm next if you want to know me I'm kyle Taylor and i average seven to eight yards a carry and about five times a game ill break away on a 75 or around that yard run so check us out at our website and go to our sports page bye
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Not the Best, But Enjoyable.
tfrizzell2 July 2002
Former high school football players Kurt Russell and Robin Williams get it in their minds to replay their final game, a game where wide receiver Williams dropped a game-winning catch from quarterback Russell in this well-meaning and definitely hilarious movie. Smart direction saves a mediocre screenplay and the likeable cast is the icing on the cake. "The Best of Times" is far from a masterpiece, but it is a nice slice of entertainment to pass the time. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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The worst of times
jrs-828 December 2005
I think "The Best of Times" was a lost cause from the get go. The initial premise (guy drops the winning touchdown pass against a rival high school team, can never seem to get over it and then tries to reunite the two teams to play again) is one of the dumbest I have ever heard. Since Ron Shelton went on to write much better sports films I wonder if there was more to it then that. I hope this film wasn't green lit with Shelton pitching the story as I wrote above.

So we have the premise. Going from there you would think, or hope, that there might be a few twists along the way to keep things lively. No such luck. This script follows every predictable cliché you can think of. There isn't a moment in this film you won't see coming a mile away before the film reveals it and the ending.... well if you can't figure out the ending by the end of the first reel then you haven't paid attention or seen any other sports movie in your life.

Robin Williams and Kurt Russell star (and bore) in the leads. Williams is the poor schmo who dropped the big pass and Russell is the quarterback who threw the fateful pass. Gee, do you think Russell will suit up just once more to see if he and Williams can right a wrong that the town has never forgotten? This is such a lame duck comedy with a lame duck script that one can only shake their heads wondering what might have been. Sure there are a few chuckles and, to be honest, there is one truly funny scene. Williams and Russell have marital problems and the wives invite them over for dinner to resolve things. Neither guy realizes that they have been invited over on a Monday and, yes, Monday Night Football is on. Keeping in mind that the two teams playing have a combined one victory, the men (Williams especially) try to resist the temptation to find out how the game is going. The scene dissolves into some hilarious bits as Williams goes to check the score by using a bathroom visit as a ruse. When he returns he coughs the score to Russell. Later as Russell is starting to make the moves on his wife Williams wheels the television into their view from another room.

It's an inspired and funny scene in a mostly uninspired and stupid movie.
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An unknown classic
Mccadoo24 January 2012
This is one of my all time favorite movies and every once in awhile, when the world has punched me around a little too much, I get it out and watch it and things seem better.

It's a funny, sentimental look at life and the mistakes we wish we could undo. It has unforgettable characters and some of the best quotes in any movie, ever.

In my opinion this has always been one of Kurt Russell's and Robin William's best movies, and their best characters.

If you're looking for a fun, well done movie to make you feel good then check it out, I think you'll end up watching it over and over again. And if you're like me, you'll wonder why everyone else doesn't know about it.
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