BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
OCTOBER 18, 2010
“There are some who will say that your accomplishments today will soon be forgotten, that you’re not real players, that this isn’t a real team. And I say that’s bullshit. Because as of today, you’re all professional football players. You’re being paid to play, and I want to you to remember that, because the men whose places you’ve taken forgot that a long time ago. Let’s bring it in. Let’s play some football.”— Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman)
Gene Hackman’s quote from “The Replacements” epitomizes all the film stands for. When the NFL players go on strike, Hackman’s character, Jimmy McGinty, is brought in to put together a team of “replacements” to finish out the season. The film plays on the notion of giving the little guy a chance to shine in a clever mix of misfits and misguided players.
A team is only as solid as its quarterback. When McGinty brings in infamous college quarterback Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), he is scrapping the barnacles off rich people’s yachts at the film’s beginning. As Falco tries to find himself and hold his teetering bunch of self-indulgent teammates together, only then does he figure out how to pull himself out of the slump caused by proverbially dropping the ball in the big game.
Performances in the film come off a bit dated when viewed in the present, but the array of stars gathered for the film is rather impressive and adds star value, at the very least. Orlando Jones, Jon Favreau, and Rhys Ifans are the most notable supporting characters, while Brett Cullen rounds off the crew as the villain NFL star and Falco’s biggest competition.
The attempt at a love story is forced throughout the film but allows a new perspective on an age-old tale. The ending offers a disheartening final scene with a lack of future endeavors for the audience to grasp.
Gene Hackman speaks beautifully in the film and carries the film’s deep and “heart”-felt dialogue. “The Replacements” is not a hilarious movie, but it has its moments and enough of a well-known cast to keep you entertained. Plus, with Madden commentating on the games, the actual football footage comes off authentic and completes the film effectively.
“You have a powerful weapon working for you. There is no tomorrow for you, and that makes you all very dangerous people!”— Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman)
August 11, 2000
Warner Bros. Pictures
(for some crude sexual humor and language)
Bud S. Smith