Synopsis: A documentary on an underdog football team who look to reverse their fortunes with coach Bill Courtney.
Stars: Bill Courtney, O.C. Brown, Montrail ‘Money’ Brown
Directors: Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin
Running Length: 113 minutes
Random Crew Highlight: Percussion – Darren Garvey
TMMM Score: (6.5/10)
Review: It’s always interesting to see an Oscar winning film after it’s won the Oscar…you can’t help but go into it with a built in “show me what you got” attitude. So if I wasn’t totally bowled over by this year’s Best Documentary Undefeated, one could possibly attribute my lukewarm reaction to Oscar backlash. By all accounts a fairly ordinary storyline, the documentary starts off slow but then pulls a fast one on you in the final 15 minutes.
Chronicling a year in the life of the Manassas, TN football team, we meet a tough-love coach and various members of his team and staff that bring their own baggage/wisdom to the field. All of the bases seemed to be covered here from students with broken homes to the coach that gets some perspective when he realizes he is putting the team before his family. There’s value to the time that the documentarians spend with the Tigers and an atmosphere of tension is created as we await scholarship decisions and test score results that could change the course of many lives.
Both on the field and off we are along for the ride so by the time the film moves into unexpectedly emotional territory it has more than earned its right to tug at our heartstrings a little more earnestly that it probably should. It’s not a revolutionary subject or an overly strong technical film but there’s something that sticks with you after the final touchdown.