THE LONGEST YARD tells the story of pro quarterback Paul Crewe (Sandler) and former college champion and coach Nate Scarboro (Reynolds) who are doing time in the same prison. Asked to put together a team of inmates to take... more » on the guards, Crewe enlists the help of Scarboro to coach the inmates to victory in a football game fixed to turn out quite another way.« less
Theresa J. (Nicksmom) from DUNDEE, NY Reviewed on 4/8/2009...
Very good movie
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Remake Offering a Terrific Guilty Pleasure...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 09/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Remakes usually surface like the bubbles in a bathtub, with an expected reeking sensation. However, this remake is rather amusing, even though it does not measure up with the original. The cast is decent and the story amusing without much greatness to be pondered, which leaves the audience with an enjoyable cinematic experience that is worth a viewing and several laughs.
In football, individuals put in hundreds of hours over the off-season in the weight room to get into ideal shape and the team polishes its plays to perfection through countless hours of preparation by coaches and players. Despite all the preparations, one single mistake could break the whole situation, which could possibly result in a loss, or injury. This in turn could have a downward spiraling affect on the team as a whole and affect the whole season. Thus, when it happens, the coach is usually in the face of the player to make sure that it never happens again, as mistakes are what separate the winners from the losers. This is why football is the ultimate team sport. In the testosterone pumped remake The Longest Yard, Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) embodies the mistake of all mistakes in a football career, as he is sent to prison for the theft of his girlfriend's Bentley.
Paul Crewe destroyed the valiant notion of hard work and dedication that surrounds football some years before the film takes place by shaving points in a football game for personal gain. In disgrace, Crewe has withdrawn from public life while his girlfriend, played by Courteney Cox Arquette, flourishes in exposure. This personal conflict between the two leads the drunken Crewe to steal her car, as she has it reported stolen. The combination of alcohol, smart mouthing, and the car theft among other things lands Crewe a lengthy prison term in the Texas penal system. Crewe ends up in Texas due to Warden Hazen (James Cromwell) who has pulled some strings to have Crewe sentenced in his prison, as he wants to win the Texas penitentiary league.
When Crewe arrives to the prison, he quickly learns that both the guards and the inmates do not desire his presence. This is also one of the reasons why he declines to help the Warden, as the guards are disgusted by his past in the professional league where he was appointed the most valuable player. Immediately Crewe sets an example through which he acquires some respect, but it also means that he must help the warden. He finds himself suggesting that the guards should play a tune-up game against some bad players, which gives Hazen the idea of a game between the guards and the inmates.
At first, some inmates join up with Crewe, but there is a severe lack of talent among the prisoners and many of them are suspicious about Crewe. Eventually, some talent emerges out of the secret hiding places and offers services to the team. Many join the team to get a chance to repay the guards for years of humiliation and pain. With the help of former Heisman winner Nate Scarborough (Burt Reynolds) and Caretaker (Chris Rock) Crewe has four weeks to prepare this rowdy bunch into a well-oiled Mean Machine that will be ready to stomp the guards. However, it is not a painless journey for Crewe and company, as they face much adversity from within the prison while the heat begins to build up for a game that is beginning to gain national attention.
Once again, Peter Segal partners up with Adam Sandler with whom he made Anger Management (2003) and 50 First Dates (2004), but it is not where Segal began his career directing comedies. It is clear that Segal possess the skill of delivering decent comedies, yet much of the humor in the film is unoriginal and recognizable from other films. Despite the formulaic approach, Segal succeeds in creating an entertaining concept that works and offers both humor and drama. Some of the success might be due to that the film staying close to the original by Robert Aldrich from 1974 with Burt Reynolds. Whatever it is in the film that makes it work, it ends up creating a story of trust, unity, and loyalty, which emerges in one of the least likely places in the world - prison."
Good Popcorn Movie
Martin Andrade | Minnesota | 05/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Thanks to my numerous contacts in the media (okay, I admit, I snuck in), I was able to see a pre-screening of Adam Sandler's latest film "The Longest Yard." The movie is a remake of the 1974 Burt Reynold's classic of the same name. Adam Sandler plays Paul Crewe, a former NFL MVP quarterback that was accused of shaving points from a game. He is washed out of the NFL, and we catch up with him five years later at a party being hosted by his girlfriend. Crewe gets drunk, steals his girlfriend's car, and later goes on a high speed chase with police that results in his arrest.
Enter James Cromwell as Warden Hazen. Hazen is a warden of a Texas prison that sports a semi-professional football team that could use the help of the NFL inmate. Hazen pulls some favors and finds himself with the star prisoner, and through the standard means forces Crewe to help out his team. Crewe suggests a practice game against a lesser opponent to sharpen the skills of the players and to get their confidence up. Warden Hazen then tells Crewe to put together a team of prisoners to take on the guards. During this Crewe befriends Caretaker, played by Chris Rock.
This movie is a fast moving popcorn film that is enjoyable for its faith to the original film, and the new twists and upgrades this film makes. Sandler plays his character well, he even looks like he beefed up for the part, Chris Rock is foul mouthed as usual, but the audience begins to empathize with his character. The audience will enjoy the numerous cameos that include Chris Berman for ESPN, Bill Goldberg and Stone Cold Steve Austin of wrestling lore, and the indefatigable Burt Reynolds, who plays an aged inmate who in a former life won the Heisman trophy.
It is important to note that Reynolds truly does embarass the rest of the cast with his acting ability. In a lot of ways I can't believe that I'm actually saying that, but it's true. In the first part of the film, we get used to the onscreen presence of Sandler, Rock et al. But once Reynolds walks into the film, we realize just how poor all the other actors are, despite their above par performances. If you can still suspend your disbelief with Reynolds on screen, then you will enjoy this movie.
There were some downpoints to the film. James Cromwell is just not believable. There are plenty of sophomoric antics that Sandler has yet to mature from, and there is plenty of tasteless humor about prison sodomy that detracts greatly from the film. Fortunately, the film moves too quickly to dwell on such things. This movie is not art, and it is not the drama that the first incarnation was, but it's a lot more fun. "
Not as good as the original!!
smoothjazzandmore | Clay, NY USA | 06/10/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Once again, Hollywood runs out of ideas and remakes a movie that doesn't need to be remade. Even with more colorful characters, there really is no need for this! Save yourself time and watch the original!"
The Longest Yard (2005) vs. the Longest Yard (1974)
C. Egle | Richmond, Michigan | 11/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Longest Yard (1974) has been one of the most popular football movies ever made. Director Peter Segal undertakes a major feat to recreate this movie to fit with current times. He uses the same exact story line and most of the original dialogue. With a slight change of setting and characters, the movie draws in all audiences.
In the original, Burt Reynolds plays the role of the main character, Paul Crewe, a former football player accused of shaving points and who ends up back in jail after violating his parole. Reynolds plays his typical macho man role. In the past, it seems that Crewe was a good, honorable man (shaving points to help his father) and later turned bitter. For example, in the first scene of the movie, he throws around his girlfriend during an argument. Shortly after, he assaults two cops trying to question him in a bar.
In contrast, Paul Crewe is played by Adam Sandler in the remake. Sandler has always played underdog roles (trying to take over his fathers company in Billy Madison, the younger brother trying to save his father in Little Nicky, etc.). In The Longest Yard (2005) Sandler tries to reach out past his normal group of viewers to become the lovable bad guy. In the beginning of the movie, rather than arguing back and being physical toward his girlfriend, he explains that he has a present for her and ends up locking her in the closet. When Crewe - played by Sandler - arrives at the prison, he is hated by almost everyone. He works to gain the approval of the inmates (unlike Reynolds in the original, who was not as hated by his inmates). For example, in order to recruit one the basketball players (Megget - played by Nelly), he is forced to play a brutal game of one-on-one with one of the inmates.
One of the biggest contrasts is casting. The majority of the inmates, in the original, are black, and most - if not all - of the guards are white. Similarly, most of the football players on both teams are white whereas all of the male cheerleaders in the audience are black. Also, the main character and his best friend are both white. On the contrary, in the remake, there is a high amount of diversity among the convicts in the prison. In addition, there is a deal of diversity among the football players and the cheerleaders. An element found in the remake that would have been very controversial in the original was the idea that the main character's best friend was black (Caretaker - played by Chris Rock). The new movie reflects the social changes that have taken place over the last thirty years.
Finally, the two versions of the movies draw different audiences. Though there are a few funny parts of the movie, the original is somewhat of a serious, purely entertaining movie. There are some good, well-known actors. The movie is rated R and draws the interest of adults. In contrast, the remake of the movie draws in audiences of all kinds. The cast of this movie is phenomenal: masters of comedy, NFL players, WWE wrestlers, rappers, and popular actors and actresses. Every member of the movie's audience can recognize someone. The new version of the movie is definitely a comedy packed with many one-liners and hilarious scenes.
Both The Longest Yard (1974) and The Longest Yard (2005) are great movies. Trends and time periods are the only thing that sets them apart from one another."
Another Big Downhill For Adam Sandler
Amparo Acosta | Miami, Florida United States | 05/07/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"In "The Longest Yard," the crummy remake of the 1974 film of the same title, Adam Sandler stars as the former N.F.L. quarterback Paul Crewe, who years earlier was booted out of the league for shaving points. In the original film, directed with seriocomic facility by the great Robert Aldrich, Crewe was played by Burt Reynolds with effortless charm, tufts of visible chest hair and the tightest pants this side of Tony Orlando. Finding a perfect groove as the fallen hero, Mr. Reynolds didn't attempt to ingratiate himself with the audience or make nice; he knew that we would fall for him anyway.
Mr. Reynolds is also on hand for the remake, and here's hoping he snagged a nice fat paycheck for his trouble and ours. This time, the actor plays the role of a former college ballplayer, Nate Scarborough, who has been kicking around a dusty Texas prison yard for decades and wants to lend Mr. Sandler's character a helping coaching hand. As in the earlier movie, Crewe has landed in jail after violating parole and resisting arrest, among other infractions. He has also attracted the attention of Warden Hazen (James Cromwell), a cookie-cutter martinet who thinks he can use Crewe to improve his semi-pro team made up of guards and headed by Captain Knauer (William Fichtner, stuck playing a baddie once again).
The new movie was written by Sheldon Turner, whose contribution to Tracy Keenan Wynn's original screenplay consists of the usual updating, including a lame bit about the television show "The View." It's uncertain, however, whether Mr. Turner or the director Peter Segal deserves the blame for the opportunistic use of Malcolm X's image in one scene. This iconic image pops up in a scene that, like much of the movie, plays a lot like the original, albeit with some instructive differences. In the scene, a couple of white prison guards try to bait a black member of Crewe's team, here named Megget and nicely played by the rapper Nelly. Megget smartly refuses to take the bait. But because the filmmakers want to make sure we don't think he's a coward, they toss in Malcolm X.
Leaving aside the idea that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. might have made more sense in a scene hinged to passive resistance, this scene indicates just how little faith the filmmakers have in their audience and how much anxiety they have about what it means to be a man. Only with Malcolm X watching over him can Megget be forgiven for not talking back, for not getting his skull cracked, for not getting tossed off the team; only with Malcolm X serving as his symbolic guardian angel, it seems, can he be a real black man. One of the points that Aldrich makes in his movie is that the character is smart enough to bide his time. His courageous resistance inspires other black inmates to join forces with Crewe to fight what is, after all, a common enemy.
Aldrich didn't haul out Malcolm X to pump up his football saga and curry favor with the audience, partly because the film's larger theme - the relentless pursuit of power - transcends racial lines. In the remake, Warden Hazen wants to use his football team as part of his strategy to assume the state governorship. The original Hazen (played by Eddie Albert, doing a 180-degree turn from his affable role on the sitcom "Green Acres") simply covets power, a rather more nihilistic take on what it means to live and to play ball. For Aldrich, football isn't just another Sunday night entertainment, it is emblematic of the human condition. The trappings of that entertainment - the cheerleaders, marching bands and cheering crowds - are secondary to the game's camaraderie, strategies and meaning. You play, therefore you are.
The first "Longest Yard" doesn't represent Aldrich and 1970's American moviemaking at their finest, but it certainly moves better and skews smarter than the remake. Softer, louder and cleaner than the 1974 version, the new film sentimentalizes the prisoners and the game, filing down their sharpest edges so that winning becomes a matter of triumph rather than resistance. In this respect, it is worth noting that the new film contains more speaking parts for black actors than the original. First among these unequals is Chris Rock, who as Crewe's right-hand man, Caretaker, has assumed the humiliating job of playing second banana to a less-gifted comedic talent. But like the hip-hop-heavy soundtrack, these speaking roles are mere calculation, a crude ploy to lure in black audiences and to make white audiences feel cool by proxy.
Unlike Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Sandler has never been cool. Mr. Sandler's talent, such as it is, has been his ability to embody a strain of everyday guyness characterized by an undercurrent of aggression and a thick overlay of smug. At his best (notably, the drag-down fight with Bob Barker in "Happy Gilmore"), Mr. Sandler brings the American primitive male to instantly recognizable, abrasive life. The director Paul Thomas Anderson tapped into that primitivism in his film "Punch-Drunk Love," but Mr. Sandler needs more off-center roles if he is going to transcend his rapidly aging frat-boy persona. Both last year's "Spanglish," in which he played a family man, and "The Longest Yard" appear to be part of a strategy aimed at turning Mr. Sandler into an adult. But that can't happen with movies made by thumb-suckers for the delectation of other thumb-suckers. "