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That Championship Season

By Lloyd Chesley

When an all-star team of great actors runs a play with drama and depth, everyone is a winner. That Championship Season is purely an actor's game. And no wonder. The author is actor Jason Miller (who played the fallen priest in The Exorcist), and when the author is an actor, the goal in the game is character. Miller's script constantly reveals new layers through the characters' intense, emotional scenes. Twenty years after five underdogs won the state basketball championship, they are cheered at a reunion and head home to reminisce. Now their big play is to get their friend George re-elected as mayor, but the years have driven wedges between the men and celebration turns to bitterness and recrimination. None of the characters turns out as you might expect, and everybody gets their chance to prove themselves. Tony Shalhoub (George) may be the mayor but has no control over his life or destiny. Terry Kinney (James) seems to be a beacon of responsibility, but failure has made him mean and vindictive. Vincent D'Onofrio (Phil) is the town success but spiritually impoverished. The film's executive producer is Gary Sinise, who plays Tom, the conscience of the group despite his alcoholism. Appropriately, the coach is played by director Paul Sorvino in a performance laden with paradox, veering from paternal to bestial. That Championship Season is a powerful portrait of disappointment and friendship that uncovers the sadness beneath the bravado of sports champions through the thespian teamwork of five leading film talents.

 

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FILM FACTS

VHS unavailableBuy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Jason Miller

Stars: Bruce Dern, Stacy Keach, Robert Mitchum, Martin Sheen, Paul Sorvino, Arthur Franz

Released: October 11, 1982

Availability: DVD


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