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The Program (1993)

Last Watch Date – September 6, 2022
Total Times Watched – Once

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Well, well, well. Yesterday was high school football day, so I suppose today was college football day. This one was recommended to me by SFFA so you know it’s going to be good. Or you know it’s going to be some sort of sci fi. But this isn’t sci fi, this is football. With LASERS! Sorry, no, it’s just football.

As most “young men” movies do, this movie casts a 33 year old as the main Heisman candidate and a bunch of other late-20s, mid-30s dudes filling out the roster. Except 20-year old Omar Epps, who kind of steals the show. It’s almost like he’s a good actor or something. 27-year old Halle Barry makes an appearance in this along with 24-year old Kristy Swanson. At least she’s closer to college age. The acting is pretty good overall. James Caan plays the hard-nosed, but caring football coach pretty well. Duane Davis is great (AS USUAL) as the NFL prospect who comes from nothing. Kristy Swanson is doing the best with the role she’s got.

How about the story though? It’s almost predictable that you’d see this rough outline. On the plus side, these guys aren’t really the plucky underdogs, but a team that has underachieved for a few years and is trying to get back to the glory hole.. wait, glory .. land? The promised land, that’s it. They’re probably also going to glory holes.. this is the early 90s – the technology isn’t there yet. Plus glory holes are timeless. Anyway, this team does perform well for a time but faces some adversity (are you shocked?) and has to hope for some late season dramatic performances to get to where they want to go.

Forget the story, though (especially the stupid love stories on the B/C plot). This movie touches on a lot of really sensitive subjects within college football. Even in 1993, they were talking about how players should be paid. You have the guys coming out of the projects without much (if any) financial support. You have boosters slipping some cash to well-performing players. Performance-enhancing drugs. Drinking and rehab. Pathetic academics. Coaches “fixing” situations like cheating scandals, DWIs, assault, etc. The only one of these that has really changed in the last 30 years is that they are allowed to pay players with NIL rules now. That’s.. it. There’s a pretty crushing series of scenes when Alvin Mack, the heart of their defense, breaks his goddamn leg in half and has no one from the team visit him (though they do call). Then you get to watch him listen to the game from his 1890s shack with his mom.. the same woman he promised to buy a house with his NFL money. Spoiler: he’s not getting any. One injury totally ruined his life. This shit happens in real life relatively often and it’s pretty grim. I’m not sure what you want people to do to fix this in the collegiate system, but this is a serious issue that plagues inner city school children who see no way out other than sports.

So yeah, this movie is an interesting bag of mixed stuff. It has great depictions of live football. Also it has real college teams (other than the ESU Timberwolves). The uniform is interesting because it’s kinda-sorta Ohio State if they wore a darker red jersey and had a sandy gold instead of silver. The stripes are totally Ohio State. This gives me mixed feelings, because I hate Ohio State. But I do like red and gold. They look great. So do green and gold by the way, but NOT green and yellow. Yellow is not gold, I don’t care if you call it “athletic gold” or not. It’s still yellow. The Steelers wear highlighter yellow and it’s disgusting. I know we’re not talking about them, but if you think I’m not going to take every opportunity I can to shit on them, you’re sorely mistaken. Like their stupid ass italic numbers. Jesus, fuck off Pittsburgh. Your jersey NEED BURNT and your city NEEDS FUCKED. Learn to use passive participles you stupid yinzer cunts. Western PA is a wasteland.

Recommended?

Uh, yeah this one is pretty good.

Rating – 7 Attempted Rapes out of 10