28 September 2013 | JamieWJackson
flawed, but enjoyable and inspiring
Some of the dialog and characters here don't strike me as credible; I think there was a good deal of artistic license going on in the name of creating drama for the sake of making a movie. However, Helen Hunt's talents are undeniable, and even at a young age here, she can carry whatever you put on her in a dramatic role.
I'm not sure why "McMinnville" was changed to "Minnville" in the movie (and the real events took place in Philomath, not McMinnville, anyway) but whatever. It was fun to see real-life local sportscaster Rick Metsger in here; that brought back memories for this Oregonian.
Tim Robbins was cute as the dorky backup QB, showing us that shy-guy charm we've seen from him so many times since. I didn't recognize Daphne Zuniga at first; she's so young here! She caught my eye right away though, of course, so I looked up who was playing Kim and... aha. LOL! She's been a stunner for a ridiculously long time.
Kim's interactions with Tami added some tension to the story. (I'm guessing that was embellished some, too, but it was basically credible.) John Stockwell was a good choice for the boyfriend; his awkwardness and sincerity both ring true.
Dana Elcar's heavy was a little bit frustrating for me. Movies love their villains, and he was easy to believe as the crusty opponent to Tami's dream, but I think I would have preferred to see the character be more well-rounded instead of rather cartoonishly single-minded. His objections have merit and there is plenty of room for debate about girls in football; no need IMO to create a single "bad guy" to personify that side of the debate. By vesting so much of the oppositional force of the movie in that one character, the movie somewhat misses a chance to create a more interesting on-screen discussion of the issues. Still, the issues do come through; if you need a conversation starter, this would do it.
In some places, the movie is pretty strongly dated, so don't expect perfection. However, it's good family-friendly fare and an enjoyable watch. I wasn't sure about this one until I saw the cast and the solid rating it got here on IMDb; it's at 6 but I gave it a 7 because I really enjoyed watching an uplifting story with these now-familiar faces in early roles. Then again, I'm from Oregon, so perhaps I'm biased. :-)