"31 Movies, 31 Days": #7 The Winning Season
Movie: The Winning Season (2009)
Budget: not published, but probably about $5-8 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
Format: Netflix Streaming
Any movie starring Sam Rockwell is a movie I'm totally down with seeing, even if it is one about women's basketball. High school women's basketball, no less. And, true to form, Rockwell's performance is indeed the best reason to check out the otherwise pedestrian The Winning Season. Channeling a bit of Walter Matthau's Coach Buttermaker (The Bad News Bears), Rockwell plays an alcoholic loser who gets a chance to coach high school basketball. He's knows a good deal about the sport and has a lot to teach...but maybe, just maybe the girls can teach him a thing or two, too. Sorry---was writing cliched promo copy in my sleep there. But you get the idea. You know exactly what this movie is about.
While The Winning Season mostly follows a tried and true traditional sports formula, it does strive to be a bit more "indie" by making Rockwell's character sadder, darker, and more pathetic than you might expect. Although I admire this attempt to break the mold, the result is an uneven mash-up combining a cliche-ridden, feel-good sports movie aimed at kids with...Leaving Las Vegas. I know---weird, right? The movie suffers from this well-intentioned identity crisis, but each identity is at least somewhat interesting in its own right. I mean, I'll be damned if I didn't want those girls to win the big game!
If you like Sam Rockwell, The Winning Season is worth a look...so long as you go in with modest expectations. If you like high school women's basketball, The Winning Season is also worth a look. Also, you're a loser.
Kraig's Rating: 6/10
Movie #1: Skyline
Movie #2: Killers
Movie #3: The Iron Giant
Movie #4: The Adjustment Bureau
Movie #5: Rubber
Movie #6: The Fighter