A fun, inspirational and heartwarming story of the first and only girl quarterback in Pop Warner football history and her uncle's exciting journey to make a team of misfits kids into a Pop Warner powerhouse. — Stills from T... more »he Longshots (Click for larger image) « less
The Movie Man | Maywood, New Jersey USA | 11/17/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Longshots," on the surface, is a movie we've seen countless times before -- an underachieving team, freshly motivated, become real competitors as they ride from one victory to the next. What sets "The Longshots" apart, however, is the central relationship between a sullen girl and her out-of-work uncle. The film is about Jasmine Plummer (Keke Palmer), the first girl quarterback to play in the Pop Warner football tournament. Jasmine, who lives with her mom, Claire (Tasha Smith), is an eleven-year-old more at ease reading books than socializing with classmates. She's tried to get involved in after-school activities, but is teased and soon retreats to her books. When Claire's work schedule is changed to a later shift, she asks Jasmine's Uncle Curtis (Ice Cube) to look after her in the afternoons. Reluctantly, Curtis agrees. Both Jasmine and Curtis initially resent this arrangement, but try to make the best of it. One day, Curtis, a former high school football player, tosses around a football with Jasmine and sees that she has a good eye and a strong arm. He talks Jasmine into trying out for the local team, telling her she owes it to herself to pursue something she does well. The story is set in the fictional town of Minden, economically devastated since a local factory -- the town's major employer -- closed down a few years ago. Many shops on the main street are closed, idle men hang out on the streets, and a general air of resigned despair permeates people, buildings, and the town itself. The film's second act focuses on Jasmine's making the team and turning around its fortunes from also-ran to winner. The team's success energizes the town, giving it something to be proud of. "The Longshots" delivers a far different experience than I anticipated. Director Fred Durst devotes considerable time to the growing relationship between Jasmine and Curtis. We really get to know them and have a firm grip on their personalities, fears, and frustrations. In a non-rushed series of scenes -- some with gently comic moments -- we come to like these two people and care about what will happen to them. Ice Cube is very good as Curtis, a man whose self-esteem has taken a hit in the years since his high school glory days. His Curtis is a decent guy who genuinely cares for his niece, partly because his brother, Jasmine's father, has abandoned her. His suggestions are never bullying. They are presented with logical back-up and rationale. He relies upon Jasmine to weigh the suggestions and decide for herself whether to pursue them. Ice Cube is wonderfully expressive, and perfectly conveys what he's thinking, a technique invaluable in acting for the camera. Ms. Palmer provides a sympathetic yet spirited Jasmine. As she comes to know her uncle better and like him, she listens to him and comes to have faith in herself and respect for her own athletic ability. By playing football, she is making her uncle happy, but is also tapping talents she never knew she had. What "The Longshots" doesn't contain are scenes of excessive team putdowns of Jasmine, big arguments about a girl playing football, and a melodramatic family home life. Director Durst has wisely cut to the chase, staying with the story of Jasmine, Curtis, and the team's effect on Minden, and avoiding the cliches. Rated PG, "The Longshots" is an excellent family film -- a movie that can be enjoyed equally by a young audience and their parents."
L. Greer | USA | 05/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a touching and well made movie!
I'm not even into football but I was rooting for this little girl all the way...then I was rooting for this community!
Bottom line this was a great family film that pulls at your heart strings and makes you root for the underdog!"
Erin M. Palmer | Iowa | 12/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very good Family Movie and Ice cube is such a great Actor.I recomend it to family's.It shows what can happen when you beleive in Yourself.and how much courage this Girl has to go for what you beleive in.I also enjoy Keke palmer.she is a great actor as well."
Positive film for all ages
Kurupt | chicago | 12/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Long shots is based on a true story of a run down town and a young lady that achieves confidence on the football field. Against all odds, the town as well as the girl learn to achieve simply by watching the girl overcome obstacles on the football field. This movie is good for all ages to see due to it is positive and it shows that anything can be done if you put the proper effort into it. The movie displays decent acting, humor and drama. You won't be disappointed with watching this film."
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 08/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Longshots" is a sports movie that actually wants to be something more than a sports movie. It has heart and humor without getting sappy or ridiculous, and above all, it convinces the audience to believe in its characters for their humanity, not just their skills. It's based on the true story of eleven-year-old Jasmine Plummer, who, in 2003, became the first female quarterback to play at the Pop Warner Football tournament in Miami. I have no idea how accurately the film portrays her or her story, but I guess it doesn't really matter; even if it were purely fictional, "The Longshots" would still be compelling. One of the best things about it is Keke Palmer, who plays Plummer not as an underdog cliché but as a shy, vulnerable, lonely girl desperate to be accepted in a cruel world. You feel for her and you want her to triumph, which I'm sure was exactly what the filmmakers were aiming for.
While Plummer is one of the most important characters, "The Longshots" is not entirely her story; this would probably be a tedious film if it focused on nothing other than a girl trying to make it on an all-boys' team. Instead, the attention is split between her story and the story of her team, who struggle to find success. But success doesn't come easy to a junior high football team from an economically disadvantaged town. Times are toughs in Minden, Illinois, especially now that the local factory has closed down. Many people are unemployed. Some live at or below the poverty level. One of the disadvantaged is Curtis (Ice Cube), who hasn't found work since the factory shut down. Unkempt and detached, he now spends his days hanging around with other unemployed people, drinking beer and tossing around his football. Apparently, the football is a reminder of his younger days, when he was a junior high star athlete.
One day, his former sister-in-law, Claire (Tasha Smith), asks him to spend some time with her daughter, Jasmine. Jasmine, still reeling from the fact that her father abandoned her, is not fitting in with the other kids at school. Because of that, she's completely unmotivated to do any after school activities. She would rather be by herself, reading a book. At first, neither Curtis nor Jasmine is thrilled at the idea of spending a couple of hours a day together. But things start to change when he sees how well she throws a football; he soon begins practicing with her, and lo and behold, she's got talent. When he suggests that she join her school's Football team, she's reluctant--while she acknowledges her accomplishments, she's never wanted to play sports. Her dream is to be a fashion model. But with a little encouragement, Jasmine works up the nerve to approach the school's coach, Fisher (Matt Craven), and ask for a tryout.
He gives her a chance, although it took a lot of convincing. Fortunately, it doesn't take much to convince the boys on the team, whose hurtful teasing quickly gives way to praise. Before long, Jasmine is no longer just the girl on the Football team; she's one of the players. Her story soon makes national headlines, helped by the fact that Minden's school team is finally on a winning streak. Their luck carries them all the way to the Pop Warner Football tournament, which is essentially the Superbowl of little league Football. When unforeseen events take Coach Fisher out of the game, Curtis takes over, and as a result, the bond between him and Jasmine grows strong. I suppose this is to be expected. "The Longshots" is above all else a feel-good movie; we want to see Jasmine break out of her shell, and we long for that moment when Curtis sees her for the wonderful person she is. Of course, we also want her team to win. As so many earlier movies have shown, fewer things are as satisfying as a group of underdogs on the path to victory.
It can be argued that "The Longshots" is at times a little too cliché. Some of the characters a little too broadly drawn, such as Jasmine's father, Roy (Malcolm Goodwin), who adds conflict by reappearing at just the right point in the story. And the idea of a misfit blossoming into the town hero certainly isn't new. Nevertheless, the film definitely achieves what it wanted to achieve. Leaving the theater, I saw the satisfaction on everyone's faces, and I'm sure some of them saw the satisfaction on mine. And isn't that exactly what we want from a sports movie? Isn't that what we want from any movie about overcoming adversity? We may have seen stories like "The Longshots" before, but at least the filmmakers made a conscious effort to make it entertaining, heartfelt, and inspiring.
Young Keke Palmer deserves a lot of credit for making her character relatable. So does Ice Cube, who's very convincing as a down and out man with little to hope for; as the film progresses, we genuinely believe Curtis is beginning to care for his niece, just as we believe he resents his brother for abandoning her. There's always an air of regret in his voice, which would be expected of anyone putting his or her dreams on hold. His developing relationship with Jasmine makes him wonder if his problem can in fact be solved by leaving Minden; moving to Miami may not bring him the happiness he's longed for, especially now that he's discovering Minden's strong sense of community. Whether or not any of this is accurate to the real story of Jasmine Plummer, I can't say. All I can say is that "The Longshots" is a charming, sincere sports movie, one that can has you feeling good all throughout."