Champions – Budget Unknown – 2 hours and 4 minutes
Marcus is the assistant coach of the Stallions minor-league basketball team. He disagrees with Head Coach Phil’s call during a game and becomes violent when Phil doesn’t take his recommendation. Phil ejects Marcus from the game, and Marcus goes to the bar. He watches SportsCenter broadcast the highlights of the fight and the game. The Stallions lost. Marcus has a few more drinks and gets in his car to drive home. Marcus sees some kids getting searched by police on the sidewalk, laughs, and slams into a cop car. Police arrested him for drunk driving, disorderly conduct, destruction of police property, and other charges. Phil bails Marcus out of jail, but the Stallions fire Marcus. Marcus thinks it’s because of the fight, but Phil says it comes from management. Phil tells Marcus he didn’t run Marcus’s play because the player’s head wasn’t in the game. The player had troubles at home. Marcus would know that if he knew how to cultivate relationships.
Marcus goes to court for his charges. The judge hears Marcus say he won’t take community service, so she gives him a sentence of 18 months in jail. Before she can bang the gavel, he tells the judge that she misunderstood him. He doesn’t want to take community service; he wants to give it. She gives him 90 days of community service working with people with intellectual disabilities and a suspended license.
Marcus goes to the rec center to coach the Friends basketball team, and Julio introduces the team members. Darius takes one look at Marcus and refuses to be on the team. The other players start dribbling and shooting baskets. Marcus doesn’t think he can coach them, but Julio reminds Marcus that he can’t leave. Julio tells him about each player and what makes them unique. Some live together, and others with assistance. Others have jobs and play in a band. They may have an intellectual disability, but they can thrive around people with open minds and compassion. Marcus walks home until Johnny, a player, calls Marcus from the passenger seat of a car. The car slows down, and Johnny tells Marcus to get inside. Johnny introduces his sister, Alex, and Marcus is dumbfounded. Alex is his one-night stand from the night before his final game with the Stallions. They pretend they don’t know each other and sing car karaoke. Alex decides to keep their physical relationship but leave romantic feelings out of the equation after they get home.
Marcus wants to return to the NBA, so he calls the Stallions assistant coach, Sonny, for dinner. Sonny will contact his uncle and see if he has anything open, but working with the Friends is a good start for Marcus. Soon Marcus’s punishment becomes his greatest reward when the team has a chance at the Northern American Championship, and he has an opportunity with the NBA. Can he handle the unknown consequence of his actions within his reward?
Based on Campeones, this movie is a feel-good film but not for the entire family (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). It doesn’t shy away from sex and boo-boo words. The script takes the time to introduce all the players, their strengths, and their fears. Also, viewers see discrimination, hardships, and disrespect from cruel or uneducated people. At first, Marcus is one of them, but the players correct him when he doesn’t treat them properly or make assumptions. Audiences will see their hopes for independence, love, and acceptance. The basketball scenes are entertaining and hilarious. And seeing Johnny’s coming-of-age story is heart-warming. Let’s not forget to show respect to Consentino. Pardon, Miss Consentino. She is the MVP of the team. If you were wondering, this movie doesn’t exploit people with disabilities, and it supports the Special Olympics. Also, there is a mid- and post-credit scene.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars
Big balls – Showtime
Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion – Julio
No. No, it’s not. No, it’s not funny – Phil
You can call them by their name – Judge Mary
Nope – Darius
Poor bastards – Marcus
Your knee is a long way from your heart. Suck it up and get back in the game – Consentino
He said, ‘You’re fired’ – Benny
Hustle doesn’t take breaks – Sonny
I’m not a champion yet – Johnny
I stopped listening after I heard I was right – Alex
Categories: Champions, Cheech Marin, Ernie Hudson, Kaitlin Olson, movie, Must Buy, review, woody harrelson
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