Ok, I don't intend to write about current movies that are in wide release, but K took me to see this movie the other day, and I was fairly impressed. I was also a little mystified as to why The Longshots seems to be getting zero marketing muscle, and so thought I'd write a brief recommendation. I have a feeling it will be out on DVD soon.
The good stuff:
1. It's based on a true story, the first girl to play middle-school level Pop Warner football (like Little League, I believe).
2. It's set in a moderately bleak setting, and stays there. There is no magical transformation of the rundown town, or any of its slightly worn denizens. There is no fairy tale ending. I like this because that's true to life, and rare in kids' movies.
3. The acting is lowkey and believable. I was surprised to read one review in a daily paper that said it was "over acted!" Did they see the same film we saw? The actress playing Jasmine Plummer is Keke Palmer, the charming young actress who starred in Akeelah and the Bee, another HUGE thumbs up movie here at Kids Flix. The other key role is played by Ice Cube, and his sort of taciturn, reluctant acceptance of the fate of his town, and his life, is played with admirable quiet.
4. It has, of course, a good message for kids. Actually, it has several messages. The movie examines budding sexism in young people; it portrays a racially integrated town and school, with everyone suffering the same pain of the shuttered factory and loss of jobs; themes of personal courage, surviving hardship, and the pursuit of dreams are addressed without melodrama or overstatement.
5. Rated PG, with just a few naughty words here and there.
6. Surprisingly strong effort by a first-time director (Fred Durst, a founder of the lame Limp Bizkit).
All good stuff, no? So why is this only playing in two theaters in ... a 50 mile radius of our house? And why haven't I seen more than one commercial on TV for it? Why haven't I heard anyone say something like, "Gee, they need to make more movies like this for kids!"
Look, it's worth your money and a bucket of popcorn. Go see it.