Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: The Mighty Macs

This distaff basketball tale dribbles away any chance for excitement through a mountainous accumulation of blinding clichés.

Oct 18, 2011

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1284678-Mighty_Macs_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The Mighty Macs is the story of Cathy Rush, the brave coach who guided the women’s basketball team of Immaculata College to victory in 1972, raising the bar for female sportsmanship. Rush’s achievement was exciting and compelling, unfortunately everything this film is not.

Writer-director Tim Chambers has employed every formulaic cliché of every underdog sports movie ever made—Rudy inevitably springs to mind—and comes up with something so bland that you wonder if even the sweat pouring off those dribbling girls is real. There’s not an ounce of true suspense or surprise on the team’s oh-so-predictable road to glory. And heaven help us if he doesn’t use the Catholic environs of Immaculata to give us more cute nuns and codgerish priests than we’ve seen since Going My Way, all clucking over that upstart Women’s Libber of a coach.

Gugino, who has done some impressive if highly variable work on the New York stage, makes a fit, feisty heroine and does her best to humanize a character drawn in idealized, primary colors: courageous, tireless, determined and so very, very good, if perhaps a tad obsessed. As the ubiquitously redoubtable Mother Superior, Ellen Burstyn fills her habit with Actors Studio competence, and when told that the financially strapped school will need divine intervention to save it, responds, “That’s just what I’ve been praying for.” Yes, the dialogue is like that and, yes, there is that one young nun (Marley Shelton) suffering a crisis of faith which must be wearisomely addressed.

David Boreanaz is wasted as Rush’s NBA coach of a husband, under whose shadow his wife chafes. As for the team players, a passel of fresh ingénues admirably attempt to infuse life into Chambers’ cardboard conceptions, so we have Kim Blair realizing that she doesn’t need a man to define her, even after being dumped by her boyfriend, and Katie Hayek becoming all that she can truly be, despite having no fashion sense and being poor. It’s cartoon feminism, strained through the Lifetime Channel.

And despite the use of period music like Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky,” the movie gives you no feeling of actually being set in the sexy, scruffily alive 1970s as much as it does a generic, strictly mall-targeted virtual universe of entertainment. Disneyfication continues apace.


Film Review: The Mighty Macs

This distaff basketball tale dribbles away any chance for excitement through a mountainous accumulation of blinding clichés.

Oct 18, 2011

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1284678-Mighty_Macs_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The Mighty Macs is the story of Cathy Rush, the brave coach who guided the women’s basketball team of Immaculata College to victory in 1972, raising the bar for female sportsmanship. Rush’s achievement was exciting and compelling, unfortunately everything this film is not.

Writer-director Tim Chambers has employed every formulaic cliché of every underdog sports movie ever made—Rudy inevitably springs to mind—and comes up with something so bland that you wonder if even the sweat pouring off those dribbling girls is real. There’s not an ounce of true suspense or surprise on the team’s oh-so-predictable road to glory. And heaven help us if he doesn’t use the Catholic environs of Immaculata to give us more cute nuns and codgerish priests than we’ve seen since Going My Way, all clucking over that upstart Women’s Libber of a coach.

Gugino, who has done some impressive if highly variable work on the New York stage, makes a fit, feisty heroine and does her best to humanize a character drawn in idealized, primary colors: courageous, tireless, determined and so very, very good, if perhaps a tad obsessed. As the ubiquitously redoubtable Mother Superior, Ellen Burstyn fills her habit with Actors Studio competence, and when told that the financially strapped school will need divine intervention to save it, responds, “That’s just what I’ve been praying for.” Yes, the dialogue is like that and, yes, there is that one young nun (Marley Shelton) suffering a crisis of faith which must be wearisomely addressed.

David Boreanaz is wasted as Rush’s NBA coach of a husband, under whose shadow his wife chafes. As for the team players, a passel of fresh ingénues admirably attempt to infuse life into Chambers’ cardboard conceptions, so we have Kim Blair realizing that she doesn’t need a man to define her, even after being dumped by her boyfriend, and Katie Hayek becoming all that she can truly be, despite having no fashion sense and being poor. It’s cartoon feminism, strained through the Lifetime Channel.

And despite the use of period music like Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky,” the movie gives you no feeling of actually being set in the sexy, scruffily alive 1970s as much as it does a generic, strictly mall-targeted virtual universe of entertainment. Disneyfication continues apace.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Food Chains
Film Review: Food Chains

Vitally important, infuriating exposé of the world of injustice behind the food you consume. More »

Monk with a Camera
Film Review: Monk With a Camera: The Life and Journey of Nicholas Vreeland

Enthralling and uplifting documentary about a man of the world turned monk, but one who effects real, inspiring change. More »

The Circle
Film Review: The Circle

Very strong, historically intriguing and important gay document is marred by intrusive real-life interview footage, which seriously breaks up the dramatic momentum. More »

babadook
Film Review: The Babadook

An intense, terrifying indie horror film with more on its mind than scaring its audience. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

imitation game
Film Review: The Imitation Game

Terrific biopic about world-class mathematician and social misfit Alan Turing, who, in spite of a painful struggle with his homosexuality, helped the Allies break the code of the Nazis' Enigma machine. More »

Hunger Games - Mockingjay Pt 1
Film Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Darker, less action-packed first half of the final installment of the popular franchise moves from arenas to rubble aplenty as Jennifer Lawrence’s super-heroine is called upon to serve her beleaguered and much-destroyed nation as propaganda instrument and leader. Fans of the books and previous two films get a less flashy palette here, but the engaging characters and strong story return to stir interest for the scheduled November 2015 finale. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here