Champions is one of those movies that I was sure I was going to enjoy before it even started. I love basketball and love basketball movies and what we have here is a charming feel good basketball movie. It may not be the most original movie in the world and it does run just a tad too long, but it was still a movie that I enjoyed.
How to Download Champions
You can expect to be able to download or stream the film from Peacock TV about 45 days after its theatrical release. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and check the current availability. If you like sports movies, check out also Remember the Titans (2000), American Underdog (2001), or The Blind Side (2009).
The Movie Review
I am a big fan of Woody Harrelson and he brings his A-game here. Also, it is a lot of fun to see him in another basketball movie, 30 years after White Men Can’t Jump, which by the way is getting an unnecessary remake! They managed to get a good cast here and the cast of actors who actually have disabilities are just so heartwarming and great in their roles, it is impossible not to get invested.
Before I tell you my thoughts on the movie, I have a question for you. Have you seen the movie, The Mighty Ducks? Well, if you have, you pretty much know what to expect here. I am not knocking Champions for that, but the similarities are blatantly obvious and you know where this is going right from the start.
Woody Harrelson plays as a basketball coach called Marcus, who gets into some legal trouble after a night of drinking sees him plow into a police car! In court, the judge gives Marcus a choice, he can go to jail for 18 months or do some community service for 90 days.
The community service that he is given is to coach a basketball team called The Friends. The Friends basketball team is made up of players with intellectual disabilities. The potential for this to be done in poor taste is certainly there, but the movie completely rises above it and the main reason for this is the way Marcus is with his players.
Marcus is far from perfect, but deep down he is a decent guy and he starts to see the potential in his players and realizes that they can go further than they imagined. He still gets frustrated as a coach would, but he also learns to be more understanding with his players. I also have to say that I loved his relationship with Kaitlin Olson who was a lot of fun in the movie.
What we have here with Champions is a movie that just has a ton of heart and it is impossible not to be lifted up by it and feel good. However, I will say that the slightly over two hours run time feels a bit much. As I said, you can see where this movie is going from a mile away and sometimes it can drag out some of the “drama” scenes a bit too much.
Overall, Champions was a feel-good movie that had great performances and a whole bunch of characters that were just impossible not to love. While I do feel it lasted perhaps just 15 minutes too long, that is not enough of a reason for me to say do not check this one out. I am actually glad the wife and I made the effort to see this in the theatre while it was on and I suggest you do the same if you are on the fence about this one.
- Woody Harrelson is fantastic in the lead role
- The Friends basketball team are just so adorable and fun
- I liked how positive the movie was, it sends a good message to people
- It is just a feel-good movie that is fun to watch
- I do feel they could have cut down the runtime a tad
- There is not as much basketball playing in the movie as you would think