Robert M. from DURAND, IL Reviewed on 4/24/2014...
Enjoyed this movie as good as the first one.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
An adequate remake of the true story of Brian and Gayle
Alan Holyoak | In the shadow of the Tetons | 06/01/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This version is an adequate retelling of the story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, and Piccolo's fight with cancer. When I saw it I was somewhat let down, since it seemed to lack the emotional punch and era realism of the 1971 original.
I found the combination of Billy Dee Williams and James Caan to be a more believable and approachable duo than Sean Maher and Mekhi Phifer. Though the newer version is worth a look, I wouldn't run right out and buy it without seeing it first.
In summary, this movie presents a good retelling, but, in my opinion, lacks the emotional punch and character development of the 1971 original.
A beautiful song to hear
reads a lot | 09/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hard to believe I didn't recognize this movie until just the other day. What a beautiful movie with emotional depth and a great message about friendship. For anyone who might not know the storyline, it focuses on the true story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, two former football players for the Chicago Bears with every difference you could possibly imagine keeping them apart, including racial differences and completely opposite personalities. Only by rooming together are they finally forced to truly enter each other's lives and help each other in many future endeavors, including a standout challenge in Brian's young life that the two must handle together, as only true friends could. I have not yet seen the original of this film (which I hope to do soon), so I can't comment on any differences between the 1971 and 2001 versions. I will, however, say that judging from a trailer I recently saw of the 1971 movie, it seems like many similar and sometimes exact lines were used in both films, so I am sure that they both contain much flavor and depth. This 2001 round is an emotionally heartwrenching and altogether remarkable rendition of a true story that will never be forgotten by anyone who has ever followed the Chicago Bears over the years. Mekhi Phifer (Sayers) and Sean Maher (Piccolo) have realism in their acting and knowledge of their roles, thus enabling them to become these powerful and complex characters. I especially enjoyed the performance of Sean Maher. His smile, charisma, and endearing personality made the character all the more real and convincing. This is certainly a beautiful film that touches base with many deep topics (friendship, strength through trial, etc...) and will put many varying emotions to use. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be touched. I personally don't typically cry at movies, but this one always hits me hard. If you don't choke up or at least feel touched when Brian finally truly verbalizes his love for his wife or when Gale breaks down at the end of the movie, there's something wrong. Honestly, though, this is an outstanding movie--an excellent message. Seeing as this 2001 movie was my first introduction to the story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, I was impressed. Don't let the "trashy remake" title scare you off, because this new version has plenty of emotion and strength that has helped transform the story itself into what it remains today in the hearts of many."
One of the best remakes ever
A. Whitley | 08/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember that the original movie made me cry but nothing could prepare for this remake. The movie was emotionally gripping and compelling. I cried hysterically through the last half of the movie feeling the pain and disappointment that the young Piccolo was going through. I was impressed by the way Brian stood strong and full of faith all the way up to the end.
I thought that both actors did an incredible job, but I was most impressed with Sean Maher's performance. He was believable as the care-free loving husband and competitive spirited football player.
This movie really is worth your time, and I can guarantee you that at least one tear will be shed for this tragic and compelling story "
Pretty Darned Good for a Remake
Mary L. Ayers | Spokane, WA | 05/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen both the 1971 and the 2001 versions of Brian's Song and I believe that each movie has its strengths and weaknesses. Certainly, a few of the strenghts of the 1971 version include the remarkable musical score, the obvious chemistry between Billy Dee Williams and James Caan, and the use of real footage of Piccolo and Sayers playing football. The original's weaknesses include the simplistic and inaccurate portrayal of Piccolo's illness and the fact that Pic and Sayers' wives are little more than "window dressing" and have very little depth to them.
As far as the remake is concerned, I will admit, the chemistry between Maher (who plays Piccolo) and Phifer (who plays Sayers) is nowhere near as good as in the original. I never felt as if these characters were really comfortable with one another. Also, the football scenes are pretty contrived, but considering this is meant to be a movie about guys who happen to play football, rather than a football movie, I let that one slide.
What makes this movie worth seeing above all else is the relationship between Piccolo and his wife Joy and the very realistic way they portray his illness. I remember when this remake first came out watching the scene where the Dr. tells Brian and Joy that they have to perform a mastectomy. I thought back to the original version and I said to myself, "A mastectomy? I thought he had his right lung removed. . ." Little did I realize then that the remake stays very true-to-life regarding the particulars of Brian's cancer. The real Brian did indeed have a mastectomy as well as two other major surgeries in addition to chemotherapy. The man suffered greatly and the new version portrays Brian's illness much more realistically than the first--even calling the cancer by its right name: "embryonal cell carcinoma".
In addition, the remake shows us how important family was to Brian. Maher and Paula Cale, who plays Joy, have excellent chemistry and I appreciated being able to see some of Brian's story through Joy's eyes. The most powerful scene in the movie takes place when Brian, who suspects his cancer has returned, tucks his little girls into bed. This scene is made all the more powerful when we realize just how young Piccolo really was. In the original, both Caan and Williams were in their 30's (and looked it). Here, Maher is about 26 years old--literally the same age as the real Piccolo was when his cancer appeared. His youth and the tragedy of his illness really hit home when he's tucking his girls into bed.
Overall, this is a great remake. I wish the friendship between Piccolo and Sayers had been more believable, but other than that, it is an excellent made for TV-type film."