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The Winning Season

75 customer reviews

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(Nov 23, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2) stars as an adult misfit who is brought on to coach the local girls’ high school basketball team and, while he leads the girls to victories on the court, he discovers they have a lot to teach him as well. The film co-stars Emma Roberts (Nancy Drew), Rob Corddry (W), Shareeka Epps (Half Nelson) and Emily Rios (Quinceanera).

The Winning Season is a charming drama-comedy that puts a fresh spin on a familiar story. The incomparable Sam Rockwell plays a coach who is battling his own personal demons as well as taking on the challenge of making a young, tattered girls' basketball team into a cohesive, talented group. The Winning Season's charm comes from its very winsome cast, including Emma Roberts, Emily Rios, Rooney Mara, Shareeka Epps, and Connor Paolo--all steadily working young actors with lots of charisma. But Rockwell's Bill at first doesn't find a lot to be stoked about in his new assignment--he's a has-been with a drinking problem, and issues with his own daughter. Still, Rockwell saves the role from being a stereotype with his focus and emotion that barely seeps through his battered, tough exterior. And the young team members, especially Roberts, are the most endearing underdogs since The Bad News Bears. Also worthy of mention is Margo Martindale, who plays Donna, the team's bus driver and Greek chorus of one, who is there for the girls as well as for Bill--and who plays coach to Bill as he tries to confront and wrestle his own demons. The Winning Season covers some familiar territory--underdog sports team overcoming obstacle after obstacle--but thanks to its splendid cast, its high spirits sweep the viewer along for a wonderful feel-good ride. --A.T. Hurley

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Sam Rockwell, Emma Roberts, Rob Corddry, Emily Rios, Rooney Mara
  • Directors: James C. Strouse
  • Writers: James C. Strouse
  • Producers: Gia Walsh, Kara Baker, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Celine Rattray, Galt Niederhoffer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • DVD Release Date: November 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0040QE7UE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,004 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Winning Season" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Trancelucence on February 14, 2015
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Film critics said that this movie has the "Bad News Bears" trope. Slightly, maybe, but it's not a comedy. I LOVED it. The characters seem far more real to me than in most underdog sports films. ***SPOILERS*** Who could do troubled LOSER better than Sam Rockwell? He has a motley crew of girls and an assistant coach that don't fit anywhere either. For me this film is sublime- it ain't over 'til it's over, and even when it seems to be, it STILL ain't. Ultimately all that matters is that you give your all; you don't let past mistakes get in the way, and above all else, regardless of what others think or say, you try to do what's right. In any case, it's never too late.

Quite subtle, no catch phrases, no fat kid or Tatum O'Neal cracking wise, just good acting all around. Some profanity and sexual references, but they seem fitting, not gratuitous. Rockwell's stumbling relations with his daughter dovetail nicely with those with his players, each informing the other. Seemingly formulaic, but not really- this is the way it WOULD happen. No storybook ending, just life happening as it does, with a bunch of people coming to care about each other and the group, each with an enhanced sense of belonging and purpose. MAGIC.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 12, 2013
Format: DVD
I enjoy a sports movie now and then, so when I spotted "The Winning Season" starring Sam Rockwell and Emma Roberts in the five-dollar DVD bin at Wal-Mart I picked it up. It was concerned with small-town Indiana girl's high school basketball, surely not the most glamorous of team spectator sports. Rockwell, a former basketball star, got the chance to be the coach of a six-girl, rag-tag team. He was not enthusiastic, to say the least, but it lifted him out of a temporary bus-boy job. He quickly endeared himself to the girls and other high school employees and was widely regarded as a rear-side body opening. It's one of the more commonly used words in the movie, and it fits. Even he uses it when talking about himself.

In any case, the whole story is practically a sports cliche and you all know what's going to happen. The rag-tag team will have a few big early losses, then somehow find themselves, then start to win and finally get into the state division title match. Yawn! The somewhat alcoholic coach chooses their overweight lesbian bus driver to be his assistant coach, and the head coach finally manages to get kicked off the team and banned from the school. By this time, of course, he's enthusiastic about girl's basketball and tries everything to get his coaching position back. He coaches the final couple games through a variety of ruses including sending in instructions via the phone. Somehow, it all works and makes for a very enjoyable and exciting movie. Plus, it's very funny in places.

Well, this movie has to be the ultimate in low-cost productions. Everything is minimal. An actual high school serves as the set and there are no fancy design changes. The grounds are as is. There are no action scenes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Cummings on September 15, 2015
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
I like Sam Rockwell. This movie would have been a disaster without his acting chops to give the production some manner of depth. The weight of the other characters is carried by his performance as a troubled has-been, needing to refocus his life and get back on track. It's a feel-good movie of the Indie variety that has comedic moments, current trends topics such as lesbianism, and a good ole fashioned last second shot at the buzzer ending.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on November 17, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Imagine everything good or bad you could say about an underdog sport's story. There have been down-on-their-luck coaches paired with mismatched teams more times than I care to count in films with varying degrees of success. The indie charmer "The Winning Season" offers absolutely nothing new in the realm of sport's movie cliches. But if you're going to take a tried and true formula, at least make it likable and do it well. And here is where "The Winning Season" excels. Even though the film offers little to surprise you, there is a talented cast that will have you rooting. And sometimes that's enough!

Of course, it doesn't hurt when the coach in question is the always interesting Sam Rockwell. The eccentric Rockwell is easily one of our more underrated actors, and in "The Winning Season" he employs his hangdog charm to good affect. A former basketball player and coach, Rockwell's volatile temper has reduced him to busboy status at a local Indiana eatery. With no preamble, the film gets him set up on the coach track again--this time spearheading a team of six high school girls in serious need of guidance. He hates the new position, the girls hate him--it's a classic pairing. But before you can say "I've seen it all before," the girls start winning and the team dynamic starts evolving. Not only can the girls learn from Rockwell, but their faith can help restore him--as he is also a hopeless alcoholic with a strained relationship with his own daughter (naturally).

But, for the most part, I went with this tale. Amusing, without being preachy, this slight and familiar romp works on its own merits. The young cast of familiar faces (Emma Roberts, Rooney Mara, Emily Rios, Connor Paolo, Shareeka Epps) are appealing and believable.
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