Sunday, August 27, 2006

My Take - Invincible

My Take on the Movies
A Mini-Review of
By: A. L. “Toni” Anderson

Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg is Vince Papale, a 30-year-old former high school football player, laid off substitute teacher, and part-time bartender in director Ericson Core’s 2006 film, Invincible. This sports drama is based on a true story written by Brad Gann.

Vince, whose only joy in life is “parking lot” football, has just been left by his cold-blooded wife Sharon (Lola Guadini of Criminal Minds), and has been reduced to borrowing rent money from his estranged father (Kevin Conway of Mystic River - 2003). Vince’s home team, the Philadelphia Eagles, are suffering a similar fate when owner Leonard Tose (Michael Nouri of The O.C.) brings in Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear), star coach of the UCLA Bruins.*

In an attempt to improve the quality of the Eagles’ statistics (and perhaps as a publicity stunt), Vermeil calls for open auditions among the Philadelphia local yokels, and Vince’s childhood friends (played by Kirk Acevedo, Dov Davidoff, and Michael Kelly) encourage him to try out. Against tremendous odds, he is the only non-professional to make it past the initial tryouts and into the Eagles’ training camp. Vince’s early success is referred to in the film as “A real life Cinderella story with cleats instead of a slipper.”

The camaraderie between Vince’s pals and the bartender, Max (Michael Rispoli of Law and Order: Criminal Intent) is evident, as is the developing attraction between Vince and Max’s cousin Janet (Elizabeth Banks of Scrubs). The roller coaster cycle of collective disappointments and triumphs could cause one’s heart to swell with tears, and with joy.

Vince’s story is overlaid with the soundtrack of the 1970s, including songs by B.T. Express, Steely Dan, Carole King, and Rare Earth, carefully coordinated for maximum effect. It blends perfectly with the activity of the moment, both on the field and off.

Invincible’s conclusion is foreseeable; Hollywood is not fond of failures. No one actor gives an outstanding performance; however, they all do a nice job together. It is a film for those of us who love to cheer on the underdog, and to leave the theater feeling good about life’s possibilities. [1:45]

♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠

*Several seasons into his tenure, Vermeil did manage to take the Eagles to the Super Bowl, which was won that year (1981) by none other than the Oakland Raiders.

[© 08/27/2006]


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