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Undefeated

Posted on March 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm

B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language
Profanity: Some strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: References to substance abuse
Violence/ Scariness: Sports injuries, references to violence
Diversity Issues: A theme of the movie
Date Released to Theaters: March 2, 2012
Amazon.com ASIN: B005S9EITC

Bill Courtney, a successful white businessman, coaches an underdog football team at an inner city high school in an Oscar-winning documentary that quickly transcends the risks of sports cliché and racially treacherous noblesse oblige.  Like the wonderful “The Heart of the Game” it is a powerful reminder of the difference one person can make — and of the consequences when no one is willing to make that difference.

Manassas High School in North Memphis has never made the play-offs since it was founded in 1899.  Neither the school nor its students have the resources of their opposing teams.  Courtney sums up his situation to his players: Two have been shot and are no longer in school.  Two others were fighting and another was arrested for shooting someone. “For most coaches, that would be a career’s worth of crap,” he says.  “I think that sums up the last two weeks for me.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckku5qEt-vA

Courtney volunteers his time and an even more precious gift — he truly gives his heart to his players.  He has a lot to teach them about practice and plays and teamwork, but the most important lessons come from his own example of indefatigable dedication to his team.  He is fully present for them in a way that is infinitely touching.  They can never give less than their best because they see him giving his every day.

The movie focuses on three players.  One is returning to the team after some time in juvie for problems caused because he cannot control his rage and seems to have no inclination to try.  Another is a strong player who will need to get his grades up if he wants to qualify for a college scholarship.  And the third is an honor student who wants a football scholarship but is sidelined with an injury just as he needs to show the scouts he can play. Courtney’s passionate commitment makes the difference, sometimes by just being there, sometimes by bringing in some extra help.  When he has some good news for one of his players, there is not a dry eye on the field — or in the audience.

“You think football builds character,” he tells the team.  “It does not.  It reveals character.” That is true of the players and the coach as well.

Parents should know that this film has some strong language and some sad situations including the loss of a parent and a sports injury, as well as references to substance abuse and violence.

Family discussion:  Do you agree with Courtney’s decision at the end of the season?  What was the most important lesson his team learned from him and what is the most important lesson he learned from them?  What can Courtney’s example inspire you to do?

If you like this, try: The Heart of the Game

 

 

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Documentary Movies -- format School Sports

‘Memphis’ Comes to Movie Theaters — Special Event

Posted on March 22, 2011 at 9:43 pm

The Broadway smash hit, “Memphis,” Tony Award-winner for best musical, is coming to a movie theater near you. NCM Fathom and Broadway Worldwide are presenting an exclusive Broadway musical event in more than than 530 movie theaters for four nights only: Thursday, April 28; Saturday, April 30; and Tuesday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m., with a special matinee on Sunday, May 1 at 12:30 p.m. (all times are local). This is the first time a current Tony Award-winning Best Musical will be presented in movie theaters while concurrently running on Broadway. In addition to the electrifying musical, audiences will be treated to an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the musical that won four 2010 Tony Awards and continues to play to sold out houses on Broadway. “Memphis” was captured live in performance with the original Broadway cast for this special Fathom event presentation.

Tickets are available at participating theater box offices and online. For a complete list of theater locations, prices and additional information — including cast photos and other details —visit the NCM Fathom website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

“Memphis” takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 50’s, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun (Chad Kimball) fell in love with everything he shouldn’t: rock and roll and an electrifying black singer (Montego Glover). It is an original story about the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice, and the music changed forever. Bursting off the stage with explosive dancing, irresistible songs and a thrilling tale of fame and forbidden love, this incredible journey is filled with laughter, soaring emotion and roof-raising rock ‘n’ roll.

This is the first time that audiences across the country will have the chance to see the Broadway cast of an award-winning musical while the show is still playing in New York. “Memphis’ will launch a U. S. national tour in Memphis, Tenn., in October 2011 at the Orpheum Theatre.

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