We were fortunate enough to receive a reviewer copy of the Movie, Undefeated this week.
Here is the description of this documentary:
Release Date: February 17, 2012 (NY & LA)
Running Time: 113 minutes
Talent: Bill Courtney (Coach, Manassas Tigers football team)
Chavis (Player, Manassas High School football team)
Montrail “Money” (Player, Manassas High School football team)
O.C. (Player, Manassas High School football team)
Directors: Dan Lindsay & T.J. Martin
Producers: Rich Middlemas, Seth Gordon, Ed Cunningham, Glen Zipper
Synopsis: Academy–Award© nominated documentary UNDEFEATED is set in the inner-city of Memphis chronicling the Manassas Tigers’ 2009 football season, on and off-the-field, as they strive to win the first playoff game in the high school’s 110-year history.
In recent decades Manassas had gone so far as to sell their (losing) games to the highest bidder, but that all changed in the spring of 2004 when Bill Courtney, a former high school football coach turned lumber salesman, volunteered to lend a hand.
When he arrived, the team consisted of 17 players, some timeworn equipment and a patch of grass masquerading as a practice field.
Focusing more on winning young men than football games, the football program nevertheless began resurrecting itself and, in 2009, features the most talented team Manassas has ever fielded.
This documentary film, Undefeated gives an intimate view of an underprivileged group of teens and their inspirational coach, as they attempt to make history.
My review: Duncan and I watched this movie without the children because we read there was some language in it. This movie was a story about one man’s desire to capture the hearts of the young black men from urban Memphis through football. Although the story revolves around the football season, time and time again this coach must leave the field and enter the homes and hearts of his students to bring them back. When grades threaten a students ability to play, he makes an arrangement for a student to move into a white family’s home while he got tutoring because the tutors would not travel into the crime-ridden area where the student lives. When injuries threaten one players ability to play football, the coach chases him down when he has given up hope and kept him in school.
The team is seen gathering in a church building for meetings, and is praying -in the name of Jesus.
The constant battles the coach and the team must face on and off the field include the enormous amount of time and sacrifice the coach must give of his own family- clearly a struggle for many involved in ministering on such an extensive level. There are good lessons to be learned there as well.
The coach focuses very strongly upon the character of the players- particularly your character when faced with hardships and losses. This was a good reminder to me, as a parent to remember to help my own children gracefully accept challenging times and to be mindful of their character in times of trouble.
For the downside, I thought the movie could have been shortened and still covered the story as effectively. In the film the coach does occasionally use foul language, but he also states that he went home and had to pray for forgiveness for losing his temper and cursing.
I am glad I was able to see this film, and think it will be appropriate for my 13 year old to watch. I do not think she has been exposed to poverty and a look at inner city youth life, so this may be a bit of an eye opener. The language, while not my preference, was not so harsh or pronounced that it will stop her from seeing it. If you have filtering software, this movie would be a good time to use it. There was no nudity or sexual innuendos whatsoever. There was one scene where one angry player accused another one of being “gay.” There was some mild violence, but mostly to demonstrate the explosive violence of a couple of the players, but none of this was played out for more than a few seconds.