Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Longshots

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some thematic elements, mild language and brief rude humor.
Profanity:Brief mild language.
Nudity/Sex:None
Alcohol/Drugs:Character drinks a lot
Violence/Scariness:Sports violence, some tense confrontations and discussion of loss
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:August 23, 2008

A little bit of grittiness keeps this fact-based story of a girl who plays football from getting too sugary. The talented Keke Palmer of Akeelah and the Bee gives a beautifully understated, witty, and sincere performance as Jasmine, the first girl to play quarterback in the Pop Warner Super Bowl for middle school football teams. But the credit for the movie’s tone and depth goes to two men better known for provocative, even offensive music: director Fred Durst of metal band Limp Bizkit and rapper/actor/director/entrepreneur Ice Cube, serving here as co-producer and co-star.

Ice Cube plays Curtis, whose dream of playing football was wiped out with a knee injury and whose dream of escaping his small Illinois town to go to Miami was wiped out when the local factory closed down, all-but extinguishing the economy of the community. He spends his days drinking beer, hanging out to watch the middle school football team practice, and doing his best to forgo all human contact and forget that he ever dreamed of anything.

His sister-in-law Claire (Tasha Smith) offers him $5 an hour to watch her daughter Jasmine after school. Curtis and Jasmine stay as far away from each other as possible until one day he asks her to toss him his football and he realizes she has a gift for throwing a long spiral. And she realizes he has a gift for bringing the best out of her. The coach is utterly opposed to having her on the team — until he sees her throw. The team is utterly opposed to having her on the team — until they see her courage and quick thinking. A couple of training montages and a couple of overcome setbacks later, the town is energized behind the team and everyone is feeling like a winner.

Durst does a fine job in creating the atmosphere of the depressed town but most of all he is an actor’s director. He brings out the best in his talented cast, including Smith, Matt Craven as the coach, and the bleacher bums, kibbitzers, and classmates who make up the rest of the community in the struggling small town. But he knows the heart of the story and the heart of the movie is the relationship between Curtis and his niece. Palmer is an enormously gifted young actress, here for the first time playing a character who is for a significant part of the story largely internal. She shows us Jasmine’s sensitivity and strength even when she is just reading a book by herself at a lunch table, and her interactions with Ice Cube are natural and believable.

And under Durst’s direction, Ice Cube shows us again that he can be a first-rate actor. This is the Ice Cube of “Boyz N the Hood,” “Three Kings,” and Barbershop, not the condescending, superficial performances of Are We Done Yet and All About the Benjamins
. He gives a layered, subtle portrayal and it is a pleasure to watch him bloom along with Jasmine.



  • Tim1974

    Since I like sports movies and your review seems favorable, I am looking forward to seeing it.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, Tim! If you do see it, let me know what you think.

  • pam

    This one looks like one to see and to talk about afterwards, I think we’ll give it a go! :)

  • Tim1974

    My daughters (ages 10-13) and I saw the film and enjoyed it. Maybe because 3 of the 4 are involved in athletics that they found it appealing. In either case, all 4 enjoyed the show for what it was- good entertainment. I found it interesting, though, that because at home, school, and in the community they are use to equality standards that none of them made any mention that there was a girl playing football.

  • Nell Minow

    I’m glad you and your family liked the movie — thanks for letting me know!

Previous Posts

Gone Girl's Rosamund Pike
Rosamund Pike delivers a stunning breakthrough performance in this week's "Gone Girl." She's been a favorite of mine for a long time, for her elegant voice and precise acting choices. It's a good

posted 8:00:23am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Telling Time in "All That Jazz"
One of my favorite writers provides insights into one of my favorite (if flawed) movies -- Matt Zoller Seitz created a beautiful video essay about Bob Fosse's autobiographical "All That Jazz" for the Criterion Edition, and then they were unable to use it due to rights problems with the movie clips h

posted 3:19:48pm Sep. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Tomorrow on PBS: The Makers: Comedy
Be sure to tune in to PBS tomorrow night for what is sure to be one of the highlights from one of the all-time best series on PBS: "The Makers," the story of women in America.  Tomorrow's episode is about women in comedy. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHxHMgSF7UI[/youtube]

posted 8:00:45am Sep. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Tomorrow on HBO: "The Fifty Year Argument" -- Scorsese on The New York Review of Books
Once upon a time, there was no internet. And instead of bloggers and pundits and tweets we had something called public intellectuals, people who read widely, thought deeply, and wrote long, passionate, carefully reasoned, thoroughly documented and beautifully written articles about the important is

posted 3:59:26pm Sep. 28, 2014 | read full post »

FREE Tickets to "The Good Lie" on Sept 30, 2014 in DC!
Based on a true story, "The Good Lie" is about young survivors of the brutal civil war in Sudan, which began in 1983.  These children traveled as many as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety.  Fifteen years later, a humanitarian effort would bring 3600 lost boys and girls to America.  Pla

posted 11:50:22am Sep. 28, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.