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That Championship Season
That Championship Season
Actors: Joe Bays, Susan M. Carr, Vincent D'onofrio, Denise Kaye (II), Terry Kinney
Genres: Drama, Television
R     2005     2hr 10min

From the acclaimed Broadway play that scored a Pulitzer Prize comes this winning adaptation that ¬"packs a punch¬" (Newsweek). Featuring dynamic performances by an ¬"excellent cast¬" (The New York Times), including Bruce D...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Joe Bays, Susan M. Carr, Vincent D'onofrio, Denise Kaye (II), Terry Kinney
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, Television
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/08/2005
Original Release Date: 06/06/1999
Theatrical Release Date: 06/06/1999
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 10min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 4
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Excellent theatre that doesn't translate well to film
flickjunkie | 04/19/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is the second attempt to bring this thought provoking play to the mass market, this time through a TV movie now in rental. Thoreau is quoted as saying: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." This play peels away the layers of self delusion to reveal such desperation in the insecurities, disappointments, unrealized potential and mediocrity of four men and a coach who's lives peaked in high school when they won the state basketball championship.It is, unfortunately, a depiction too familiar to the many who never escaped their small town or neighborhood and live trying to salvage some feeling of dignity from the mediocrity and despair to which they have allowed their lives to sink.At the 20th reunion at the coach's house (Paul Sorvino) the characters gradually reveal how pathetic their lives have become. There is the bitter coach, a unabashed bigot who still talks to grown men like they were teenaged basketball players and who believes all of life can be summed up in sports aphorisms.James (Terry Kinney), a junior high school principal, is by far the most self delusional of the five, clearly a loser who never changed with the times, he believes he has a bright future in politics when he couldn't get elected to a sanitation post.George (Tony Shalhoub) plays the mayor of Filmore, who has bungled his term in office and will imminently be voted out. He spends most of this time trying to convince himself and everyone else how popular and wonderful he is, when it is clear to everyone that he is a fool.Phil (Vincent D'Onofrio) is a spoiled little rich boy who inherited his father's business which is now raping the environment for profit. He supports George's campaign so he can get variances that allow him to profit from this abuse.Tom (a fabulous performance by Gary Sinese) is James brother, a vagabond alcoholic who ironically is the only one who sees the situation with any clarity. He is openly cynical of himself and the others and constantly speaks with justifiable disgust about all his peers and their miserable lives.The problem with this and most plays that try to go to film is that unless the director adds uniqueness visually, or through the set, location, props or costumes, it just looks like you are watching a play through a window. Since you have lost the power of the live performance, it always loses something in translation.Sorvino, as the director, failed to do this. He clearly focused on the actors performances (which were all exceptional) and did a brilliant job of recreating a great play on film. That did not make it a great film. It made it seem overly long and tedious. As a play I would give it a 9, as a film a 6.This is not a film for everyone. One needs to get into a philosophical frame of mind and prepare to see an interesting character study of some very miserable characters. If you are an avid theater goer and can handle a downbeat drama about the failings of common people, I strongly recommend it. Otherwise look for some lighter fare."
Good drama, interesting characters
H. Gamble | Melb, Aus | 08/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Overall I enjoyed this movie very much, after a slow start. It was adapted from a play, and this shows; especially in the fact that the action is set almost entirely in one location. At first I thought this made the movie a little boring, but as the plot and characters developed it actually became quite interesting.

The movie is very much character driven, it is about four ex-basketball players and their coach who get together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of a championship win at the coach's house. All five principal characters are flawed and to an extent dissatisfied with their lives. The storyline is basically about how these flaws and frustrations create conflict between the characters and how all of these tensions come to the surface on this night.

I thought that the acting was excellent, and even though the characters come across as ammoral and even pathetic, the viewer can relate to them because they are after all, flawed humans, just like everyone else. My only criticism would be of Gary Sinise's character; an alcholic whose role in the film was mainly to show-up the weaknesses of the other characters. His sarcastic remarks became a little annoying firstly because what he was pointing out was obvious anyway; and secondly because he was hardly a model of a well-adjusted person himself.

So I would definitely recommend this movie as an interesting character study."
The best drama iv'e seen in a while
H. Gamble | 04/15/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I cant beileve that this movie has only rented seven times in the video store i work in. It is the best drama iv'e seen in a long time great acting from everybody especially Paul Sorvino. It will make think about your life and what happens when you get close to too 40. And also being betrayed by your closest friends"
One of Best movies I have ever seen
William Marks | Sharon, Ct. United States | 01/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It burns me. Leonard Maltin's 2005 movie review doesn't even mention this version. The 1982 version, which he does mention, cannot even compare. That version, with Robert Mitchum, was ill-conceived and Mitchum was miss-cast. But the performances by all in this 1999 version is outstanding, especially Paul Sorvino who appeared in both versions.
Both Sorvino's acting and directing in this movie is top shelf and I believe a reflection of his experience from having been in the earlier version. There will, of course, be someone who will see racism, male superiority complex, etc which of course is all bull. The fact is that this movie is just plain great acting and directing with outstanding character developement and is worth watching over and over again.