by Neil Drumming
I saw this film at Sundance almost two years ago and was starting to lose faith that it would ever get a theatrical release. At the time, I remember thinking that, unlike most of the festival's fare, this movie could probably be marketed to a mainstream audience with some hope of success. So, the slow trip to the cineplex has kind of baffled me. Finally, The Winning Season has surfaced.
I'm a big Sam Rockwell fan—Why would I go to Sundance if I wasn't? I've forgiven him for his George W. Bush-league Zaphod Beeblebrox in the disappointing Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy update, and I still shiver at his heartbreaking turn in another Sundance film, Snow Angels. But aside from my sworn allegiance to Rockwell, the King of Park City, I am also always happy to see younger indie talent like Shareeka Epps (Half Nelson) and Emily Rios (Quinceanera) getting some shine as well.
Sure, the trailer makes this seem like one of those loser/educator-redeemed-through-helping-kids flicks. And, yes, it is exactly that, but in the tradition of the best of those films (Bad News Bears—the remake, School of Rock). Yeah, I'm a Linklater fan, too.