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Main Cast Reviews  Ben Affleck, Janina Gavankar, Michaela Watkins Categories  Drama Release Date  6th Mar 2020 8.3
Filmography
Review

This movie is about a former HS basketball player. These days he is an alcoholic. Then he takes up a coaching job. The team starts to win and he confronts his problems. The talented cast includes: Ben Affleck as Jack Cunningham, Janina Gavankar as Untitled, Michaela Watkins as Untitled, T.k. Carter as Russ, Hayes Macarthur as Eric, Rachael Carpani as Diane, Glynn Turman as Untitled, Al Madrigal as Dan, Lukas Gage as Eddie, Marlene Forte as Gale, da'vinchi as Devon Childress, Emelia Golfieri as Sarah, Christine Horn as Doctor, Yeniffer Behrens as Sofia and Chris Bruno as Sal.

We see a construction site of a tall building.

"Jack (played well by the experienced Ben Affleck) is taking a break, drinking coffee out of a canister. He goes to a bar for a drink and watches basketball on TV. He has a shower. Jack goes to the bottle shop and meets a friend. It’s thanks giving. He drives to his mums house. Jack says hi to his extended family. They eat a good meal on an outdoor table. Uncle Jack talks to his nefue. Jack chats to his sister aswell. Jack is a good man. Great simple introduction to the movie"

“What have you been up to” says his sister. "Not much" Jack says.

"His sister wonders why he's not seeing anyone. She says that her friend Cathy catches him going to the bar every day. I like this conversation. Simple and slow but you see that the sister is worried for her brother. Jack appears to have a drinking problem"
Jack phones his ex wife, he leaves a message. Next morning he checks his messages and he is asked to go to a meeting with father Devine (played by John Aylward). Jack goes to the Hayes school to speak to father Devine. He waits in the church office.

Father devine says the basketball coach retired and he wants Jack to step in. He asks him to think about it. He goes home. In the morning Jack thinks about what he’s going to say, he drinks a lot. He wants to say no. He practices saying no. In the morning we see all the empty beer cans. Jack ends up going to the basketball training session. He speaks to the previous coach. "I am honoured to turn things over to the new head coach Jack Cunningham" says the previous coach.

Jack asks previous coach for the shooting stats. A tall player called Marcus (played well by Melvin Gregg) shows attitude. It looks like their a boistrous bunch. The previous coach says that his mother had MS and he needed to quit the coaching job. He shows Jack his new office. Jack puts on a sports jacket.

"Game day arrives. Jack says 'I'm nervous as shit'. The team loses. We cut to the bar and Jack is drinking heavily. His friend walks him home. Jack is in the tub drinking another can of beer. Next morning in the car he puts jack daniels in a flask. It is clear that he might be an alcoholic"

He meets with his ex wife. She asks if he's moved on with his life.

"His wife says she's met someone, a few months. "I wanted to tell you before you found out through one of our friends" she says. He is clearly upset. He goes to the bar and gets drunk. Several things went wrong with Jack's life. Great acting by Ben Affleck. You really feel for Jack"
He falls down from his chair. His friend takes him home again. It's game day. A player kisses his girlfriend and tells Jack it makes him play better hehehe. Jack was one of the best ball players around when he was younger. The competitor coach knew his stats.

"Jack speaks to his team. The footage of the game is cool. Great close up shots and soundtrack. 'Watch the clock' says Jack. He calls a time out. 'Reach into your shorts and tell me if you can find a pair"' says Jack to the players. "I don’t give a shit if we lose every game... but I will not coach a team that has been out toughed" says Jack. The game footage is awesome and Jack's speeches are inspiring"
Then a fight breaks out on court. They lose. Another father/teacher says Jack shouldn’t swear. "Don't underestimate the impact you have on them" says the father.

The previous coach also says that he found empty beer cans in the office. "Don't let it happen again" he says to Jack. Jack goes to the bar but then drives home. Next day Jack has a meeting with his players. Marcus is late and Jack tells him to go home. That player is furious. That night is game day. The game starts. They are getting beat as usual. Jack calls a time out and shouts technical orders. A player shoots a 3 pointer and they win for the first time!

Bishop Hayes School wins but a few points. That night Jack is driving home and he gives a player a lift. He's the best player on the team Jack says. Jack wants to make him captain. But he doesn't have the confidence. He's too quiet on the court. At practice the coach pushes him. "I can't hear you" says Jack. "Fuck you... can you hear me now" says point guard. Next day Marcus visits Jack. He wants back in. He knocks on Jacks door but Jack denies him.

He knocks again and pleads with Jack. Jack says yes, finally. At practice Marcus comes back, Brandon (played well by Brandon Wilson) will be captain. At game day Jack swears again, this time to the referee "F* you, that’s a chicken shit call" hehe. The father gives him a concerned look hehe. They then do training drills the next day.

"He then meets his ex wife. We find out that his kid passed away earlier in his life. He visits his sons grave. 'I miss you pal' he says. It's a very sad moment. They chat inside the car. Jack says he’s angry. Jack has had a tough life. You realise why he turned to alcohol"

Next day Jack goes for a meal at his sisters house. His nefue knows all the stats. We cut to the game. Brandon is barking orders. "It's a pussy call" shouts Jack and he swears too much. The ref throws him out. "Sorry for losing my temper tonight" says Jack to Brandon as he gives him a lift home. Jack explains that his dad loved him being a basketball player but only when he did good. Jack then got into drugs etc. He never picked up a basketball again.

Jack visits Brandons dad. He says that Brandon is getting letters from colleges/full scholarships. But Brandons dad doesn't want this for his son. He says that basketball is not the way forward. Next is game day. They get caned early on. They get dunked on. Then Jack shouts and inspired them "Get in their face!"" he shouts. There is an offensive foul by the competitors. They make their three point shots. There is one time out left.

"There are only minutes left 'Stay focused run the set' says Jack. Then he says to Brandon 'Forget that... take the shot'. We see slow motion footage of Brandon bouncing the ball and taking the shit, very cool"
Then Brandon makes the shot! Jack breathes a sigh of relief. The players lift Brandon on their shoulders. Jack congratulates him. Jack is happy. We cut to his house, he’s sleeping. His ex wife calls him and says that Miguel’s son (Miguel is their friend) had a fever at school and now he’s in hospital.

The doctor tells the parents bad news. Mother cries heavily and says "No!". Jack can't take watching this and has to walk away. It's quite an impactful scene. Jack drives to the bar. He sits down and drinks a glass of beer in one go. He drinks more and more. His friend carries him home. Next day he wakes up really late. He runs towards his car at the bar then drives to practice. He excuses himself to the players. In his office he puts jack daniels in a flask.

The father has a meeting with him "you brought alcohol near the players" says the father. "I could smell it on you.... the boys could smell it on you" says previous teacher. Jack pleads with them "Please don't do this” he says. Jack gets angry. He gives his key back and storms out. He goes to the bar and drinks. A blonde buys him drinks. He drives drunk with her. He crashes into a boat on the street! But he continues to drives to the Blonde's place.

He then walks into a house thinking it's her house but its another house. A man with a baseball bat shows up and tells him to stay put and wait for the cops. Jack has a fight with him and falls down from the stairs. He gets unconscious. Next day he wakes up in a hospital. We cut to training and players are told that Jack stepped down. Jack then has a meeting with the psychologist. He also meets with his ex-wife. "I failed my son because I didn’t take care of his mother" says Jack.

We cut to game night. Brandon says "Lets do this for coach Cunningham". Hayes wins! We cut to Jack playing solo in an outdoor court. He sinks a three point shot. What a beautiful way to end the movie

"What a performance by Ben Affleck! He plays a down on his luck man excellently. The scenes of his coaching are inspiring. Great job by the basketball players, specifically Brandon Wilson (playing Brandon) and Melvin Gregg (playing Marcus). John Aylward as father Devine also excelled. The scene where Jack gets kicked out of coaching the team because of his alcoholism was very impactful"
The basketball game scenes were well shot. Such a simple plot but some great characters. Enjoy the interesting 1hr 48min.


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