Possums (1998) Poster


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A heartwarming football comedy for the whole family!
leczorn22 April 2005
I had never heard of this movie until seeing it in the $5.50 DVD bin at Wal Mart. Because it's a football movie, it grabbed my attention and the synopsis on the back of the DVD case seemed funny and clever to me, so I bought it! As it turned out, I discovered a rare gem! Made with a largely unknown cast on a phenomenally low budget of $1.4 million, "Possums" apparently got very little theatrical distribution, which is a shame. Hopefully its new DVD release will help it get the attention it deserves.

"Possums" is a family oriented comedy about a colossally inept high school football team, the Nowata Possums, and its eternally optimistic radio commentator, Will Clark (played by Mac Davis). Clark passionately loves the team and never loses his zeal for them despite their embarrassing play. My wife and I both see a lot of myself in that character!

But shortly after completing their 13th consecutive season without a touchdown, Nowata's snobbish mayor, Charlie Lawton (Andrew Prine), attempts to shut down the team. Clark leads a heroic effort to save the Possums, but at a town meeting, residents overwhelmingly side with the mayor and the school's football program is dropped.

The next Autumn, Clark is feeling broken, as if a big piece of his life is missing. To make matters worse, plans are underway to tear down the football field and build a Wal Mart type store there. Clark deals with his broken heart by going into the radio station studio and continuing to broadcast Possums games - even though there are none anymore! People think he's nuts and his wife, Elizabeth (Cynthia Sikes) is furious as he buys radio time to air the fictional games at the expense of their family hardware store.

Evntually Nowata loves Clark's broadcasts, which have exciting finishes that culminate in the Possums winning. But the claims of victory anger the opposing teams, especially state champion Prattville, who challenge the Possums to a real game. Pratville's coach is played by former Dallas Cowboys and Oklahoma University coach Barry Swizter - the only person in the movie other than Davis who I was previously familiar with - who gives a great performance.

The Nowata-Prattville game brings out an interesting sub-plot as Clark attempts to bring in his estranged son, John (Jay Underwood), to coach the Possums.

I was strongly expecting Nowata to win the game and thought that would be a bit too much of a stretch - a team that hasn't scored a touchdown in 14 years and hasn't played a game all season beating the state champions. The ending didn't turn out quite the way I expected but it did give me a warm fuzzy feeling! If you're looking for a good football movie, a heartwarming comedy or some great family entertainment, it's hard to beat "Possums!" 8/10.
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Die hard football fan keeps his favorite team alive.
michaelRokeefe1 July 2000
Mac Davis plays a devoted fan and the radio voice of his alma mater Nowata High School. After a very long losing streak, the school administration decides to do away with the football team. Davis starts missing the Friday night games and decides to buy up commercial time and broadcast fantasy games featuring a winning version of his beloved Possums. Finally the small Oklahoma town takes pride in their dismantled team. The real Possums are challenged by the real State Champs. The Possums lose again, but score their first actual touchdown in years.

This is a charming, down home movie. You actually feel the heart warming and emotional accomplishments of Davis' character. The action scenes truly represent high school football play.

This movie leaves you in a happy, upbeat mood. And is really fun for the family to watch.

Davis was very believable. Others in the cast: Andrew Pine, Greg Coolidge, Monica Creel and a cameo by former famed Oklahoma University and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer.
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nsugrad006 November 2001
I live in a town that's about 20 mins from where this movie was filmed. I had 2 friends that were used as extras. I rented it simply because I knew one of the guys that played a football player in the movie. I was very much impressed with what I saw.

This movie is sweet, uplifting, and fun. My friends and I got into it as if it were really a game. This movie should have been pushed more than it was. It's a nice lil film...

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Feeling down? Rent this flick
Glenrob27 December 2000
"Possums" is formulaic, yet fantastic. An almost excessively cute film with a predictable ending, you'll like it nonetheless.

The "name" actors -- like Mac Davis, Andrew Prine, and Cynthia Sikes -- offer their usual, professional performances, but with that added enthusiasm which comes from really enjoying the story being told. Veterans like Clive Revill and Dennis Burkley are expertly cast in more minor roles. Also of note are a number of locals, folks like then-Nowata, Okla., newspaper publisher Ken Murnan and Coffeyville, Kan., musician Rodney Lay (formerly of Roy Clark's band) who took roles and gave credible performances. (I lived near the real-life town of Nowata, Okla., where this flick was shot.)

But most important here is the story -- a twist on the typical "local boy makes good" tale. The Nowata Possums don't exactly make "good," but in a town desperate for any sign of life from its high school football team, the boys make "good enough" for now, and finally offer Nowata a ray of hope for the future.

Heartwarming fun for the whole family, it deserves a whole lot more exposure than it has received.
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far better than its mediocre rating suggests
edmass27 February 2005
I watched this film with my 11 year old grandson and we both enjoyed it a lot.

On the surface it is pretty similar to the standard Disney small town saga. There is the bumbling middle aged parent, the high school in-crowd looming over the new boy in town. There's the venal mayor and the greedy developer. There is the standard conflict of generations between father and son. And, of course, there's the cute girl whom the new boy is crazy about but is afraid to ask out.

But as things turn out the bumbling hero doesn't need any magic or duex machina to move things his way. He is quietly persistent, aware of his follies, and knows when to back off. The new kid in town is accepted in short order, both by the town's perennial loser of a football team and by the pretty girl. And wonder of wonders, the female teen love interest is an honest to goodness pretty girl, not some Britney clone.

The plot and writing stumble a bit toward the end but the ending is both satisfying and believable.
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A variation on the no-hopers make good theme. When...
Zobby6 March 1999
A variation on the no-hopers make good theme. When the Possums football team is disbanded because it's never won a game in its entire existence, a fan recreates it in fantasy radio commentaries until, bit by bit, the team rebuilds itself as the pride of the town and takes on local rivals in a final 'shoot-out'. You've seen it all before, but it's done with conviction and real charm.
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Football Playing Possum
wes-connors10 June 2010
A football fan since childhood, weathered Mac Davis (as Wilbur "Will" Clark) excitedly calls the plays for his local high school "Possums" team, though they are perpetual losers on the gridiron. After another dismal season, the town of Nowata, Oklahoma votes to end the sport. Also a hardware store owner, Mr. Davis responds by covering "imaginary" games over the local airwaves, with the "Possums" making an astonishing comeback. Folks are thrilled by the pretend games; but, nearby challengers take them for real…

Meanwhile, Davis befriends winsome blond senior Gregory Coolidge (as Jake Malloy); he hires him to work in the hardware store, which is being threatened by one of those corporate chains. Claiming to be seventeen, Mr. Coolidge develops a father/son relationship with Davis. Coolidge's dad left after divorcing his mom, and Davis is somewhat estranged from his own son, Jay Underwood (as John Clark). Davis makes Coolidge the football hero of his radio show. Nobody lets reality stand in their way.

**** Possums (6/13/98) Max Burnett ~ Mac Davis, Greg Coolidge, Cynthia Sikes, Andrew Prine
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Hey ref, we won didn't we?
lastliberal2 May 2010
I like sports movies. I am not too crazy about actual sports, but I do like the movies, especially when it features an underdog.

I can pretty much guess where this is going to end up, but the journey there was worth it.

One man (Mac Davis ) can't stand the fact that the town disbanded the football team, so he starts calling games where the Possums win. Soon the whole town is cheering.

When he has the team win the State Championship, the real State Champions show up. The game goes as expected and it will take a miracle.

That miracle may come in the form of Greg Coolidge. Or maybe not.

It's a feel good movie the whole family can enjoy.
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Great Family fun for people who still think anything is possible
farris-413 May 2007
If you love football and small town people, you will love the temporary insanity of the Nowata, Oklahoma people who don't let reality dictate. They are not insane really, just hopelessly hopeful. There are some great unpredictable story lines that underly the plot, and it is perfect family entertainment. The only weakness in the plot was that the movie didn't go far enough into the aftermath of their football season...the film left us wanting to see more and know more about what happened next. Still, even knowing that, I would still want to see the movie because it is ideal family entertainment.

As soon as we finished the movie, I went online to find out if the movie was based upon a real story...I had hoped so, and I would have then gladly visited Nowata, OK to find out more, but alas, the movie was not billed as being a take off on reality, but more of a fantastical take-off from reality.

I will still remember Nowata, northeast of Tulsa, because of the film, and the filming used lots of people from that general vicinity, so it is easy to believe the events in this film COULD have happened. Our 13 and 9 year old boys loved the movie and we let them stay up late on a school night to let them watch it. (That is rare for us to do). We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. The world needs a lot more entertainment that holds the interest of all age groups. It was the first football movie I have seen my wife enjoy, because it is less about football than it is about people of hope.
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Spoiler Alert - Terrible Football Scenes
iwu00512 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
My comments are so harsh because the story and writing deserved better. The story is everything the other comments say it is, but the football in this movie is unwatchable. Its always difficult to accurately portray the speed and intensity of a football game, but this movie does an exceptionally poor job. The example that inspired my comment occurred during a scene from the big game where the Possums quarterback is seen with the ball in his hands before the snap. So, in addition to not being able to throw a football, the actor apparently couldn't even handle the center QB exchange. I see that the movie was made on a limited budget, but there are thousands of kids playing real football who could have helped make this movie great. Please, never make another football movie without former football players. This movie is a reminder that actors do a very poor job with football, and basketball, actually most sports; maybe its time to let athletes do some acting. And if you think that suggestion is ridiculous, it can't be any more ridiculous or look any worse than actors playing football.
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Possums - family movie that at least makes you smile
eric_g_murphy23 July 2015
I really like Mac Davis even though the writing could have been a little better this is a movie that makes you smile. I love it when the state champion coach turns to the ref and asks "We won didn't we?" The supporting actors gave the movie homespun flavor and the mayor made it so easy to not like him.

When the movie is over you get up feeling encouraged and a smile on your face. It's worth the time. I actually found this movie in the public library. It was originally on VHS and I found it at a yard sale on DVD I bought it and donated it to the library and she gave me the VHS. When the tape finally tore up librarian gave the DVD to me saying it was time to retire the movie. I gladly accepted it.
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Train Harder and Think Clearer for Success
Snowgo17 August 2014
It's too bad that a movie with a good heart and some potential for being inspirational or even important would succumb to ridiculous screen writing. Don't get me wrong, I am firmly on the side of 1.) inspirational fantasy, 2.)rebels who do things differently than the mainstream and 3.) appreciating honest effort for its own sake and not just record-of-success.

These are the themes and attributes that could have been examined and enjoyed in Possums, but instead, we see one vigilante (Will Clark) who is too short-sighted and delusional to see the gaping hole in the credibility of his actions: he has not addressed the issue of training, tactics and development of a better football team!

Without the consideration of better theory, practice and performance for the Possums, the picture becomes a joke.

Another issue I have with the movie is: How do the individuals (pseudo players) named on the weekly broadcasts feel about having their names used and reputations fictitiously and permanently altered? Clark could have been sued for using these names to promote his hardware store business.

It was painful for me to see the young men in street clothes playing an informal game at the field, emulating the fake Possums as they listened to the phony-but-well-meaning broadcast.

Screenwriter Max Burnett did a severe injustice to all involved in Possums by creating one of the most un-believable movies of all time.

Not giving up is one thing... Creating a fantasy world of delusion is quite another: Hard work and innovative thinking, instead are the answer. Application, not vacation.

This movie could have been great had it been re-written with plausibility: Interaction of the coaches, players, and community.

Clark should have been coaching the players himself, all along, being a former player. Then again, did the players even want to become better, individually, and as a team? We will never know. (I can dismiss the one quitter at the town meeting).

Three years prior to Possums, Max Burnett reportedly worked, in some capacity, on the good film, The Tuskogee Airmen. I can not find any reference to him on the IMDb page for that film. I hope he was just "additional hair" or "assistant grip".

This movie sends a message to the audience that if you do not achieve success, then retreat: Give up: Do anything but work harder. This is inexcuseable and reflects a mentality that is so blinded as to be clinical.
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From someone who lived in Nowata
winterwolf19653 September 2012
I lived in Nowata, OK for 3 years, before I moved to Bartlesville 20 miles to the west and my mother grew up in Nowata and graduated from Nowata High School in the '50s. I and my children were even invited to play extras in the football stadium scene.

When it came out on video, I sat down with my family to watch it. I was impressed by the way they showed the southern down-home flavor of the main street and other city landmarks.

This movie is southern down-home feel good from the from frame 1. There is some mild profanity, but it is otherwise good for the whole family to watch. My family and I enjoyed it, and I'm sure yours will, too.
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A simple tale of morale over matter
proteus-528 January 2000
Now here's a true sleeper. Produced by HSX Films (aren't they the fake stock exchange folks?) and hidden on the back shelves of Blockbuster (except in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the nearest big town to Nowata), this turns out to be a charming and disarming tale of the morale of a city unlike anything we've seen since... well, I don't think I've seen anything like it.

True, Nowata's football team in the movie hasn't scored a touchdown in thirteen years, but hope lives in a few of the townsfolk. Hope does not live in the mayor, though, who rallies to have the football team disbanded and the field replaced by a mega-department store. However, in the puritan heart of one man, the announcer for the team, the spirit of the game will not die. Even once the team is laid to rest, he buys radio air time and announces fictitious games. Only this time, the team is a winner.

It is this aspect of the film - that you are what you believe you are - that endears itself to you. True, the dialogue is stilted, the direction is standard, and the acting is hokey, but you can't help but cheer for a bunch of losers who now have an opportunity to prove that they are winners in spirit.
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