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The Winning Season (2009)

Sam Rockwell , Emma Roberts , James C. Strouse  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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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: 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.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 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: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0040QE7UE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,390 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Winning Season" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

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

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).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable January 9, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Surprising sleeper that was more enjoyable than any bloated, over-hyped blockbuster crap that I have seen in recent memory, Watch it!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch this movie! November 3, 2012
By kate
Format:Amazon Instant Video
I saw this has only two reviews, I thought it's another indy that doesn't get it's due...Funny, endearing little gem. Just watch it, for crying out loud.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Love Sam Rockwell February 23, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
I love Sam Rockwell. A great little movie with a great cast of young women. Sam's character is funny and endearing.
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars winning November 28, 2012
This is a good family sports movie. There is much more to life than sports and this movie combines alot of aspects. Descent acting good story. Overall a goood flick.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Winner! February 12, 2012
There have been several movies like this one of a loser type coach who tries to turn a loser type team into winners. This film is somewhat different in that it deals with an alcoholic, former basketball star, divorced dad who is desperately trying to connect with his daughter. Then there is the team which is comprised of several girls of varying degrees of athletic skills, one of whom is on crutches! Added to that they all have personal issues that at times are hard to confront and cause even more conflicts on the team. I think what makes this movie so different from others like "Bad News Bears" or "League of Their Own" is that there are a lot of funny slapstick moments as well as many heartwrenching scenes as the girls try to come to grips with their conflicted emotions and coming of age feelings.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars PROFANE, Liberal Messages, Skip it as a family movie. February 17, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Bought this to watch with my our basketball playing kids on family movie night. Saddened to see how much profanity was in the film. A LOT. Irritated by the lesbian "message" that Hollywood felt compelled to throw in to convince us all how okay it is to be gay. Totally unnecessary and felt awkward. Some subliminal anti-family messages like the players all being from broken homes except one, and her parents hate each other. What is that teaching kids today and how does that make kids want to be the good parents of tomorrow? The family unit is the backbone of a strong society. Maybe that's why society is getting weaker....

It had some decent acting and enjoyable moments. My kids laughed out loud a couple of times. But the negatives made me unable to pass it around to my friends to share with their families. The potential was there to be a gem, but the profanity, excessive alcohol use, and messaging ruined it for me.
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