This is a really well-acted drama that lays out the issues with big-time college sports as strongly as they have even been laid out in a dramatic presentation. The characters are extremely vivid, led by Stephan James, (who played Jesse Owens in 'Race'), as a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback who organizes a boycott of the national championship game to get players declared employees rather than 'student-athletes' so they can all share in the money being generated by their sport and its championships, (NIL is dismissed as something only a star like James' quarterback can get). Then there's the always excellent J. K. Simmons as the coach, who started in Division III and is finally getting a chance at 'glory', a word he uses a lot. And Uzo Aduba as a ruthless NCAA attorney who has a backstory of her own, which comes out in an extended monologue near the end.
There's also various slick NCAA types who smile and know what side of the bread their butter is spread on and Alexander Ludwig as Jaems' roommate, who has no hope for a pro career due to an injury and comes from a poor family, one of James' motivations for his actions. The one contrived part of the plot centers around Kristen Chenoweth, cast against type as the coach's promiscuous, who is sleeping with, among others, the labor law professor who inspired James to make his stand.
The issues are well explored: the billions the NCAA and its schools make from the sports, the benefits players get in terms of scholarship and accommodations, the risks of playing sports, especially football, how are the schools going to be able to field the non-revenue sports and pay the players, now NIL isn't the answer to everything, the economic status of the player's families, etc.
The movie could easily have been a play. Virtually all the scenes take place in the rooms of a high-rise hotel in the two days before the big game, (the result of which we never learn because that's not the point). There are long, emotional, soul-bearing scenes featuring some outstanding actors. Don't boycott this one!
Follows star quarterback who ignites a players strike hours before the biggest game of the year in order to fight for fair compensation, equality and respect for the student-athletes.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
December 28, 2021 at 06:51 AM