Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 04/06/22

Family film drama features the star of Frasier and the theme of Everybody Loves Raymond. Those are two of my all-time favorite sitcoms. Does combining their elements make for a top-notch movie? My review follows the trailer and synopsis below.

Synopsis: Jack Davis (Taylor Gray) finds himself adrift after his father, the legendary Coach Davis (Kelsey Grammer), cuts him from his renowned soccer club, the Carolina Mantis. Estranged from his father, at odds with his brother, Mantis All-Star goalie Sam (Adam Aalderks), and desperate for purpose, Jack turns to his ex-girlfriend Sophia (Ally Brooke). Jack is inspired by her tough love and unwavering pursuit to become a recording artist. He tackles his depression and takes one last shot at his lifelong dream by trying out for a rival soccer club. Can Jack finally prove that he is worthy of his dad’s love? Can he forgive and believe in second chances?

The one-night-only Fathom Event is in theaters tomorrow (4/7). To find out where it’s playing near you and for ticket info click here.

IMHO: Though the film’s trailer perhaps focuses more on Jack’s relationship with his father and ex-girlfriend (both important aspects of the story), the crux of the film, I think, lies in his rivalry with his brother which, to me, evokes a more dramatic take on the relationship between the male siblings on  Everybody Loves Raymond who were in a sort of competition for their parents love.  Of course, the whole story unfolds against the backdrop of soccer which puts, shall we say?, another spin on it.

Does it work? Mostly. The dialogue and characters are certainly believably written and you do end up caring about the Davis family. They’re flawed but, essentially, good people. In that sense, they’re like the characters from both Frasier and Raymond. There are no villains among them, including the stern-but-loving father (played with compassion by Grammer) who unintentionally put two of this three sons on a course deep competition on that negatively impacted their relationship off the soccer field as well. The performances all hit the right note.

Perhaps the most interesting casting is Brianna Scurry  as the coach of the competing team Jack signs on with. In real life, she is a retired soccer goalkeeper who wend on to become an assistant coach for the Washington Spirit. Per Wikepedia: Scurry was the starting goalkeeper for the United States women’s national soccer team at the 1995 World Cup (3rd place), 1996 Summer Olympics (gold medal), 1999 World Cup (champions), 2003 World Cup (3rd place), and the 2004 Summer Olympic Games (gold medal). She played in the semi-final and playoff for third place in the 2007 Women’s World Cup (3rd place). She was a founding member of the WUSA, playing three seasons as starting goalkeeper for the Atlanta Beat (2001–2003). Her career total of 173 international appearances is the second most among female soccer goalkeepers. It is also the fifteenth most of any American female player, and the thirty-second most among all women.

Scurry was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on August 3, 2017. She was the first woman goalkeeper and first black woman to be awarded the honor. On June 1, 2018 she married Chryssa Zizos, CEO of Live Wire Strategic Communications, LLC. 

From where I sit, it seems like her life might make some pretty good movie fodder.

Back to this movie though, the story, in my view, does falter a bit near the end with a plot twist that I think is unnecessary and not handled particularly well. Overall the film plays like a pretty CBS Sunday Night Movie from the nineties. Which is not a dis. Many of those were pretty good. And, despite my quibble about the plot twist at the ending, overall the film works. It’s not a great movie but it’s certainly not a bad one either.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
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