Only connect. In a Hoosier town, boys' basketball is king. Bill is a former athlete and high-school coach who drinks too much, rarely sees his daughter from an old marriage, and busses tables at a local cafe. A friend who's now a principal offers him a job coaching girls; Bill takes it without much spirit. Six come to practice; one has a broken foot. They're awful in their first game, and Bill has to figure out, with help from Donna, the school's burly bus driver, if he actually can coach girls. They respond, and Bill suddenly has a family of sorts, just as his own relationship with his daughter worsens. With a winning season in reach, will Bill blow this chance?Written by
The photo of "Bobby" that Bill (Sam Rockwell) removes from the restaurant wall is of famed NCAA coach Robert Knight, one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time. See more »
Yo! What's going on? Is there a reason you're not passing at her? Alright, look I... I don't know what shit you girls have between with each other, I don't give a shit, I got enough shit in my own life. I gotta a whole universe of shit. And now even more: your shit. So just keep your shit off the court, ok? You can't start drawing lines here. I mean, even if we did you're on the wrong side, anyway.
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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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