For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Sports Themed Movies, here’s a review of Invincible (2006) by Ryan of Ten Stars or Less.
Next month’s genre has been chosen by Matthew Simpson of Awesome Friday and we will be reviewing our favorite Best Picture Nominated Movies that didn’t win.
Thanks again to Tyler of The Geek Card Check for choosing this month’s genre.
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of May by sending them to AwesomeMatthew@movierob.net
Try to think out of the box!
Let’s see what Ryan thought of this movie:
Football movies have their own niche within the sports genre. There’s been some classics: Brian’s Song, suspect films: The Replacements, and realistic dramas: Varsity Blues and Friday Night Lights. In the shuffle is a handful of true stories. These films are based on people who defied the odds and achieved their dreams showcasing that heart teamed with determination can turn ordinary into extraordinary. My list of favorite sports movies has and will always include Rudy, the true story of Rudy Ruettiger, a walk-on senior football player who became a legend at Notre Dame. He didn’t rewrite the record book or anything. Still, his inspirational story led to one of the most spontaneous moments in college football history (the team carrying a player off the field). Whenever Hollywood tackles stories like these, we all know the formula: chase the dream, prove the doubters wrong, overcome adversity, and leave your mark. There are probably hundreds of these stories that never make it to the big/small scene, but filmmakers are a sucker for certain characters and situations. Invincible is just that kind of story. Mark Wahlberg plays Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender from Philadelphia who earns a National Football League (NFL) contract for the Eagles through an open tryout. Papale can run like the wind and reads the game like no other. His only hurdle is he barely played high school football and has a microscopic chance of making it professionally. The journey to make it, let alone stay in the NFL, is challenging and is not for the faint of heart. Top-ranked athletes try and fail every season; their names and reputation are dragged through the media as they are judged every snap. Imagine being a nobody like Papale with no experience, struggling on the field day in and day out with the threat of being cut hanging over your head. It’s no easy task, but his friends are at his side every step living their dreams through his blood and sweat. Disney aimed for a target audience with this film, so the audience gets a watered-down version of jealous friendships. So many people support Papale, including a new love interest (played by Elizabeth Banks); however, there are jaded friends in the bunch. Our film’s hero is stuck battling larger-than-life humans on the gridiron, and after a shower, he’s behind the bar dealing with drunk people who reek of jealousy. Head coach Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear) wants to change things and turn a losing franchise into a winner. This open tryout is only the beginning, and once Papale earns a roster spot, his teammates who once disrespected him find out that his passion for the game is quite contagious. Despite having a short career (three years), Papale earned his place among the most outstanding Eagles of all time, even serving as a captain at some point. Papale may not be a household name outside of the City of Brotherly love, but thanks to Wahlberg’s performance and Disney’s vision, Invincible turned him into a film legend. Most moviegoers would not be surprised by the formula this film follows but admire the toughness of the journey compared to the predictable ending. There will be people who love this movie and others (myself included) who will compare it to other true stories already within the genre. I enjoyed watching Invincible again because I appreciated the early 2000s CGI and Wahlberg’s performance. He looks scrappy and tough as sandpaper, exactly how Papale was meant to be portrayed. You can watch Invincible on Disney+. 6/10