Sports

[4.0] Robin Williams and Kurt Russell star in this alleged comedy about a loser (Williams) who decides to recreate the high school football game in which he dropped the ball and lost the game, sentencing his community to years and years of misery and heartache. To care much about The Best of Times, you have to believe that the lost game really sent the town …

[2.0] Thrashin’ is the quintessential bad ’80s movie. There’s an anemic plot involving two warring skateboarding gangs and a boy who falls in love with the sister of a rival gang member. It’s a goofy Romeo and Juliet on tiny wheels, where none of the kids have parents and most of life’s mysteries are answered with a good musical montage. Thrashin’ is really just a …

[7.5] Paul Newman plays Fast Eddie, an overzealous pool player who’ll sacrifice everything to beat the renowned Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason). This cautionary tale about obsession is the perfect showcase for several fine performances. It may be Newman’s finest work. He and costars George C. Scott, Jackie Gleason, and Piper Laurie were all nominated for Oscars here. Laurie has a unique, dark chemistry with Newman, …

[6.5] Jack Nicholson directs this slice-of-life story adapted from the Jeremy Larner novel about a obstinate college basketball player (William Tepper) whose pretentiousness almost keeps him from being drafted into professional sports. But the film also centers on two other characters. Karen Black plays Tepper’s girlfriend, a character who can’t decide whether to leave him or stay with him. (Is she confused by the women’s liberation …

[6.5] Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut with what is basically a high school sports movie. It reminded me of those ’80s flicks where the young guy (be it Cruise, Bacon, Lowe, or Modine) commited himself to a sport his parents frowned upon, and then ended up winning their respect by winning the game. Well, just change the ‘him’ to a ‘her’ and make the …

[5.5] I know I’m being too kind to this over-produced piece of cheese, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it at least a little bit. It falls short of all previous installments primarily because the justification for fighting this time around is the weakest, and also because the drama is more forced. The Cold War very much influenced the American propaganda …

[6.5] Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) tries to slide into a normal life after the events of the first film, but Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) keeps insisting on a re-match. Rocky II follows closely enough to the narrative of the original movie to be annoying, and a pivotal moment where Adrian (Talia Shire) reverses an important opinion doesn’t sit well with me. But the characters are …

[6.5] Paul Newman headlines this Robert Wise biopic about real-life boxing champ Rocky Graziano. Ernest Lehman’s smart, well-paced script sees Rocky through several youthful indiscretions that threaten to ruin him just as the lightweight championship comes within reach. Though he had appeared in one other film prior, this is the movie that launched Paul Newman to stardom, and it’s no wonder why — he’s magnetic. …

[5.5] If you can get past the fact that the Rocky series never should have lived to see a fifth entry, Rocky V may actually surprise you a little. I’m glad it doesn’t retread the old narrative of every installment that precedes it. It’s good to see Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) and his family ‘on the rocks,’ adjusting to life back in working-class Philadelphia. I found …

[6.5] SPOILER REVIEW: Sylvester Stallone returns both as star and director, this time pitted against a one-dimensional and downright evil opponent named Clubber Lang (Mr. T). Carl Weathers returns as former opponent Apollo Creed, offering his training services after the death of Mickey (Burgess Meredith). The film gains dramatic heft from Mickey’s departure, and I was glad to see supporting players Talia Shire and Burt …

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