Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Program (1993)

Football Movie #4

Synopsis: College football is sleazy enterprise which corrupts academic institutions, chews up and spits out young athletes, and prostitutes the coaches and senior staff... GO TIMBERWOLVES!!

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Follow the lives of a group of young athletes who come together from different worlds to pursue a dream in The Program – an inside look at the gritty, action-packed world of Top 10 college football... you’ll catch the excitement of football season year ‘round when you grab this big-screen winner today!”

What Did I Learn?: If you terrorize your new girlfriend by taking her on a death-defying motorcycle jump off the highway into a gravel pit - and she later agrees to see you again - she’s a keeper!

Really?: So wait – a ‘roided-up player beats up, and almost rapes a female student, and her Dad puts the team ahead of his own daughter by refusing to press charges? Does that happen in real life?

Rating: The Program is an entertaining (and not terribly flattering) look at US college football. It’s not a bad movie, but it has a fundamental problem with its storyline. We see the corrupting influence of big-money sports on the players, the university, and even the poor coach (James Caan gives a great performance as a man who must continually sacrifice his principles, his family, and even his self-respect for the good of the team), and yet everyone plays the good little soldier, and nobody ever has a “I can’t do this, anymore” moment.”That’s realistic, if a bit depressing, but why are we supposed to care if the Timberwolves win? I certainly didn’t. 7/10 stars.

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