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A washed-up quarter back (Reeves) leads a team of misfit football players assembled by a coach (Hackman) to replace striking pro players.
Item Type: DVD Movie
Item Rating: PG13
Street Date: 02/08/05
Wide Screen: yes
Director Cut: no
Special Edition: no
Foreign Film: noSubtitles: no
Full Frame: yes
The Replacements manages to be both completely formulaic and yet immensely enjoyable. When a professional football players' strike happens, the owner of a fictitious team, the Washington Sentinels, commissions maverick coach Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman) to pull together a team. McGinty selects a collection of talented oddballs--a Welsh soccer player, a sumo wrestler, a couple of professional bodyguards--with athletic pasts, figuring that if it doesn't work out as a game, it might as well be a circus. To lead the team, he finds Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), a once-promising player who had a disastrous championship game. Naturally, despite squabbling and bickering, a roguish camaraderie develops through a mixture of racial infighting, harassment from the striking professionals, and a big bar brawl--after which they're all thrown in jail and perform the most improbable impromptu dance number ever committed to film. The mixture of cheerfully cliché plot mechanics, an engaging collection of supporting actors (including Orlando Jones, Rhys Ifans from Notting Hill, and Jon Favreau from Swingers), and sheer ridiculousness somehow combines to make The Replacements completely entertaining. Reeves is somehow turning into a pleasant leading man; he even emotes convincingly in this movie. And let's face it, Gene Hackman is quite possibly the greatest actor alive, able to speak the trashiest dialogue with fierce conviction. Plus, just to prove that the tight pants and close huddles of football are heterosexual, there are many, many shots of cheerleaders going through stripper-inspired routines. --Bret Fetzer
- 2 Behind-the-scenes Documentaries
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Football sports movies are usually weak because so many of them boil down to a do-or-die mindset that wins the day. Ho-hum-yawn. Sports is more than that -- a lot more. Even if your skills, tactics, conditioning, experience and teamwork are fully up to snuff, you still have to win the game inside your head before you can win on the field. Football movies don't do much to convey that part of the game or the challenge which is field leadership.
On the other hand, baseball movies seem to be almost wholly about the game inside the head and leadership on the field -- even kid movies like "The Sandlot". I have no guess why that should be so, but "The Replacements" plays a lot more like a competent baseball movie than the typical football movie.
In short, it is just plain fun, with a good quick pace and lots of goofy characters trying to realize their lost dream of playing on an NFL team, if only for a short while.
I would like to note, however, that this movie is very-loosely based on a real replacement team that played for the Washington Redskins during an NFL players' strike. (Because this movie is a comedy, not a documentary, the team in the movie is called the Washington Sentinels.) The Redskins were the only NFL team that did not have a single player who crossed the picket line during the strike. Nevertheless, their replacements won all three of their games and helped the Redskins make the playoffs where they ultimately won the Superbowl that year. The finest game played by the replacement Redskins was their last one -- an improbable victory over a Dallas Cowboys team, many of whose regular players had crossed the picket line.
So enjoy The Replacements as a comedy, but please don't forget what a real group of replacement players actually accomplished in real life.
and I got both in the same movie! I loved the fact that the cast spent 2 weeks at a football camp learning how to play and did play football before filming the movie. I also really liked, OK, loved Keanu's love interest in the movie, Annabelle, played by Brooke Langton. I mean, when she looked at Keanu (Shane Falco) with eyes that could melt a 100 pound block of chocolate in nothing flat, she looked like she was REALLY IN LOVE WITH HIM! Who, knows, maybe she was, but anyway, I sure as hell fell in love with her...she was soo dam quite! I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a comedy/love story movie.