I did something yesterday I haven’t done since before COVID. I went to the movies.
If you are a regular reader of mine you know that my wife is 9 months pregnant and will be birthing our 3rd boy any day now so I decided to do something nice for just the two of us. I booked the day off, took her to her favorite lunch spot, and we went to an afternoon movie. One last date before we have a baby everywhere we go for about a year. I know, I’m incredible.
That movie was the Woody Harrelson lead Champions.
A former minor-league basketball coach is ordered by the court to manage a team of players with intellectual disabilities. He soon realizes that despite his doubts, together, this team can go further than they ever imagined.
If you’ve seen The Bad News Bears, The Mighty Ducks, or Little Giants you’ve seen this movie before, only this time the sport is basketball, the disgraced coach is Woody Harrelson, and the misunderstood players have intellectual disabilities.
Just knowing that you know how this goes. You could probably write the script with a surprising amount of accuracy.
But is it any good?
Yes, it is.
Woody Harrelson is as loveable as ever in this role. Kaitlin Olson shows that she should be in more movies, and the cast of basketball players jump off the screen with warmth, love, and some decent laughs along the way. A special shoutout goes to Madison Tevlin who steals every scene she is in. Her comedic timing is impeccable.
I also think that the misunderstood players who have intellectual disabilities need to be highlighted as something refreshing from an inclusivity and representation standpoint. There is a scene in the movie where Woody is getting to know the players and Cheech Marin (Julio) is explaining the fulfilling lives the players lead away from the court. I found myself thinking, “I want my young children to see this to help them understand.” The only watch-out to that end is that the movie does contain some foul language so if you are concerned about them hearing it, there’s your warning.
Finally, as a Canadian, there are some fun moments for the eagle-eyed viewer.
- Yes, that’s clearly a No Frills in the shot of a key moment in the movie.
- Yes, that was Bubbles (Mike Smith) playing Woody’s attorney early in the movie.
- Who knew Sean Cullen could play such an asshole?
This is a cute sports/rom-com film that I would happily watch again. But you could probably wait for it to come on a streaming service and enjoy it just as much.
Bald Canadian who didn’t play hockey until he was in his mid-thirties. Die hard Raptors fan who proudly admits he wept when they won it all. Loves talking parenting, politics, and all things pop culture.