CONGRATULATIONS to the Undefeated cast!
And shame on the filmmakers for blowing the Oscar acceptance speech. In their attempt to “save the best for last” they failed to thank the players, coaches, Manassas High School and North Memphis, among others. (Merrill Streep knew better; she thanked her husband first, so as not to be drowned out by the band).
In spite of all that, please go see this powerful documentary from Spitfire Pictures. Thanks to my friend Doreen, I saw it last Saturday ~ the day before the Oscars ~ at the San Francisco Film Society screening for teachers. So when Undefeated won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, I was making a lotta noise! And I couldn’t believe that of the three men at the mic holding statues, not ONE of them mentioned the people who made the whole thing possible. They were too busy thanking the deep pockets who funded the film.
I’m by no means a big fan of football, and I’m sick and tired of folks talking about how the sport builds character. You can’t build on something that’s not already there. So in this film when real-life coach Bill Courtney says “football reveals character”, Doreen and I nodded in unison, and knew we were in good hands. I’m thinking coach Courtney, and players Montrail Brown, O.C. Brown and Chavis Daniels should’ve been nominated for Oscars for their portrayal of themselves. The story centers around Courtney, but they each shared in carrying it beautifully.
I was reminded of the great film, Remember the Titans, (2000). Denzel was fantastic in his portrayal of coach Herman Boone, and because of such films I recognize the value of inspiring sports stories in our film culture. The fact that Undefeated is a documentary ups the ante on suspense and tension. What’s shameful is the fact that in America in 2012 these stories of destitution and racial inequality are still true.
THE SKINNY~ I won’t tell you a thing about the plot ’cause I want you to go see the film this Saturday, March 2 when it opens in these cities: Memphis, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington D.C., Detroit, Houston and Baltimore. The repentant filmmakers have their gold statues. The cast deserves the validation of our box office bucks.