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
In November of 2002, NFL Films showed Vince Papale's story on ESPN during Monday Night Football. It was part of a special to commemorate the 26th anniversary of Rocky (1976). The four minute piece about Vince captured the attention of Hollywood, and soon a film was in the works. See more »
The opening scene depicts snowy weather. The actual temperature at kickoff was 40 degrees, much too warm for snow. See more »
You know how I used to tell you about Van Buren scoring that touchdown back in '48?
Yeah, I know.
I know. That touchdown got me through 30 years at that factory. Got me through all those times your mother being sick. When I told you not to get your hopes up... didn't mean that I wasn't.
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Somewhat loosely based on a true story, INVINCIBLE is your standard root-for-the-underdog sports movie, nothing more, nothing less. Mark Wahlberg is Vince Papale, a beefy touch football player/bartender who struts his stuff at an open tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles. Overcoming tremendous odds, Papale cracks the roster after earning the faith of rookie coach Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear).
INVINCIBLE probably would have been better as a less family-friendly film. Everything happens so cleanly in this Disney pic that it loses some of its realism and credibility. The audience may also feel cheated given the extreme liberties the writers took with the Papale story, including a complete disregard for his pro pigskin experience, fabricating an open-to-the-public tryout and the invention of a "you won't amount to anything" note from Papale's former partner. No bio pic is 100 per cent truthful, but this is going a bit too far.
While there is a certain charm and inspirational underpinning to INVINCIBLE, it can't hold a handle to many of the other entries of the same genre. It's one of those movies that can be summed up with four words: good but never great. The performances are good but never great. The direction is good but never great. The list goes on. Junior high-aged kids will probably appreciate this one the most.
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