In the sumer of 1976, 30-year old Vince Papale is having a tough run of luck. He's been working as a substitute teacher for two days a week but has just found out that his job has been eliminated because of budget cuts. His wife gives up on him saying he'll never amount to anything and asks for a divorce. He works as a bartender and plays football with his friends. When the the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dick Vermeil, announces that he will hold open tryouts for the team, Vince reluctantly decides to give a try. Based on a true story.Written by
Veterans Stadium (which was imploded before this movie was made) is depicted correctly externally (including the exterior elevator to the luxury boxes and the ramps that were visible from the outside). However, the real Vet had individual seats, not bleacher style seats as depicted and the real Vet was a "octorad", a rounded octagon shape, and was convertible for both football and baseball, and so could not and did not have an oval track as depicted in the movie. The Vet also had lousy Astroturf with line markings for both the NFL and college football (double hash marks) as Temple played there at the time, while the movie apparently shows a grass field. Images at the end of the movie showing the real Vince Papale playing in the Vet show what it really looked like. See more »
I just came from and advanced screening tonight and it was an entertaining feel-good movie. The movie is based on a true "local guy makes good" story, and quite entertaining (although after searching online for Papale, it appears that they may have taken a bit of dramatic license with some of the details). The story telling and acting were good. I think Kinnear's presentation of Dick Vermeil (I remember seeing Vermeil on the local T.V. a lot back then) was outstanding. Mark Wahlberg gave a credible performance as a determined underdog here, he seems to be maturing as an actor, and from what I could tell was in good physical condition to play this role. Kirk Acevado and Mark Raspoli put in good supporting performances as (sometime) supportive friends and relatives. The movie is an O.K. family movie if you don't mind a bit of swearing and sports/football violence (tackles, blocks and those sorts of things).
I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, and can remember the atmosphere in my home town and, to a lesser extent, Philadelphia at that time. The decline of manufacturing, labor disputes and unemployment/hardship on workers and their families was well presented. My recollections of the Eagles were that the team was pretty weak and the fans being very vocal in their disappointment (this is a Philadelphia tradition for all their sports, it isn't just reserved for football). Among my favorite scenes is some neighborhood football that brought back some memories (although our games were a bit less brutal). There are a number of funny scenes in the movie and quick one-liners (which I won't spoil here).
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