Longshots

The Longshots

5.0 1
Director: Fred Durst

Cast: Fred Durst, Ice Cube, Keke Palmer, Tasha Smith

     
 

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Former Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst directs Ice Cube and Keke Palmer in this battle-of-the-sexes sports comedy about a former high-school football star who coaches his niece to become the first-ever girl quarterback in the history of Pop Warner football. Based on a true story, The Longshots opens in the struggling American town of

Overview

Former Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst directs Ice Cube and Keke Palmer in this battle-of-the-sexes sports comedy about a former high-school football star who coaches his niece to become the first-ever girl quarterback in the history of Pop Warner football. Based on a true story, The Longshots opens in the struggling American town of Minden, IL. The Minden Browns used to be one of the strongest teams in the Pop Warner league, but lately things have taken a turn for the worst. Recognizing that his old team needs some fresh blood in order to make a comeback, a former player (Cube) trains his 11-year-old niece, Jasmine (Palmer), to throw the ball like a true gridiron giant. While the powers that be scoff at the idea of a female quarterback, they soon begin to sing a different tune as Jasmine leads the Browns to the championships and an invigorating shot at redemption.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
If tattooed rap-metal frontman Fred Durst (of Limp Bizkit fame) is aggressively attempting to rework his image with a secondary career as a movie director, The Longshots marks a commendable starting point. This uncommonly gentle, finely observed slice-of-life drama takes an unusually mature and thoughtful approach to its subject matter, courtesy of a decent script by Nick Santora (The Punisher: War Zone). Pop Warner youth football may ostensibly be the subject here, but what could have regressed into an insufferably clichéd, inspirational sports drama instead puts character development center stage and shifts its thematic focus to the maturation and loss of innocence of a young girl. As a result, football begins to feel almost incidental to the central story. Akeelah and the Bee headliner Keke Palmer stars as Jasmine Plummer, an African-American adolescent girl coming of age in small-town Minden, IL. Bereft of her dad -- he's an insensitive deadbeat who abandoned Jasmine and her mother, Claire (Tasha Smith), five years before the story begins -- she's struggling to fit in with her obnoxious peers, and gets repeatedly ridiculed and ostracized by them. Jasmine thus spends her days withdrawn (continually walking around with her nose in a fantasy novel) and feels wholly uncertain of her own identity. That discovery arrives courtesy of her uncle Curtis (rapper Ice Cube, who also produced), a burly and unemployed but kind-hearted fellow whose eyes and spirit speak to his abandoned football dreams of years prior. Concerned over her daughter's after-school whereabouts, Claire asks Curtis to keep an eye on Jasmine during the afternoons, and uncle and niece overcome the emotional hurdles necessary to forge a fast friendship. In the process, Curtis happens to discover that Jasmine can throw one mean football pass. In the blink of an eye, she's suited up and jostling down the football field with the local Pop Warner team. Hollywood turns out triumph-of-the-spirit sports dramas like mass-processed link sausages, and the formula grew moldy and stale decades ago. So it is to Durst's and Santora's credit that they relegate football to the background of the picture for the bulk of the first act. As played by the gifted Palmer, Jasmine initially projects an awkward quality -- an ill-suitedness for the world around her, and an uncertainty about how she fits into the scheme of things, or where her passion lies. That football represents the answer scarcely matters; once she falls into her groove, we witness a confidence gradually beginning to overtake her, and her entire aura shifts, reshaped by her attitude and enhanced self-perception. Because Curtis helps to engender those dreams, the arc of the tale serves as an intuitive commentary on the need that contemporary youngsters have for a father figure to help shape their goals and guide them -- not necessarily a biological father, and indeed, as the tale demonstrates, Jasmine's actual dad embodies a destructive influence. Her ultimate ability to push him away by relinquishing the watch he once gave her (when he selfishly waltzes back into her life and then foolishly snubs her) marks the final stage of Jasmine's growth. Therein lies the depth and maturity of the film. Ironically, one senses that the producers have completely missed the fact that the drama's strengths lie in these areas; why else would they feel it necessary to place logistical information about the various football games (including scores) on the screen? It tells us virtually nothing, and indeed, feels both superfluous and incidental to the story -- to such a degree that the film would improve without it; its inclusion seems inappropriate. On an equally dispiriting note, Santora over-literalizes the expository dialogue in the premier act, as if he's afraid that the audience might miss the relationships between the characters or their occupations. (In the most embarrassing of several examples, Claire identifies her daughter to Curtis with, "Your niece. Jasmine.") The writers need to trust the audience more and avoid this level of patronization. The film also suffers from a horrendously misguided scene that has Jasmine's teacher mistaking Curtis as her father and practically forcing the unemployed fellow to discuss his "career" in front of the class. The scene imparts absolutely nothing to the story other than contributing to the young girl's humiliation, and it also robs the film of some credibility (given Curtis' disheveled appearance and posturing when the teacher initially approaches him). In any case, these flaws are not detrimental to the film as a whole. What counts are the solid, thoroughly convincing performances by the genial Cube and especially Palmer, who projects an almost intuitive spiritual connection with Jasmine and her emotional growth, pulling us into empathy with her character. As for the direction of the film, Durst shoots it satisfactorily (if unremarkably); he demonstrates a lovely feel for the atmospheres and rhythms of small-town Middle American life, and an inherent adoration for Pop Warner football that makes one yearn for chilly autumn afternoons. Who knew that this wild-man rap-metal star had even an iota of such lyricism in him? Durst's efforts will never be mistaken for art, and it would be a stretch to foresee him ever reshaping contemporary American film, but as a director-for-hire on his first time out, it's hard to imagine that he could have done much better than this.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/02/2008
UPC:
0796019816427
Original Release:
2008
Rating:
PG
Source:
Weinstein Company
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:35:00
Sales rank:
16,083

Special Features

Deleted scenes; Making the Longshots; A Conversation with Director Fred Durst; A conversation with Ice Cube; Jasime Plummer: The Real Longshot Theatrical Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ice Cube Curtis Plummer
Keke Palmer Jasmine Plummer
Tasha Smith Claire Plummer
Jill Marie Jones Ronnie
Dash Mihok Cyrus
Miles Chandler Damon
Matt Craven Coach Fisher
Glenn Plummer Winston
Garrett Morris Rev. Pratt
Earthquake Karl
Michael Colyar Ennis

Technical Credits
Fred Durst Director
Matt Alvarez Producer
Walter Anderson Sound/Sound Designer
Spring Aspers Musical Direction/Supervision
Matthew Barry Casting
Charles Breen Production Designer
Scott Cameron Asst. Director
Teddy Castellucci Score Composer
Ice Cube Producer
Tara Duncil Casting
Nancy Green-Keyes Casting
Conrad W. Hall Cinematographer
Andrew G. La Marca Executive Producer
Andy La Marcia Executive Producer
Brinkley Maginnis Casting
Mary E. McLeod Costumes/Costume Designer
Nick Santora Producer,Screenwriter
Bob Weinstein Executive Producer
Harvey Weinstein Executive Producer
Jeffery Wolf Editor

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Longshots
1. Minden, Illinois [2:10]
2. The Walk Home [1:07]
3. Career Day [:50]
4. A Down and Out [:43]
5. Throw Like a Quarterback [1:58]
6. Reading Books [1:13]
7. Who's Laughing Now? [1:27]
8. Practice [:41]
9. The Grilled Cheese Special [2:21]
10. Cavs vs Browns [:54]
11. Ready To Fire [3:33]
12. A Loss for the Team [1:44]
13. A New Leader [:36]
14. Class & Sportsmanship [:00]

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The Longshots 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago