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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Invincible

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Judy Thorburn

Invincible

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"INVINCIBLE" - THE FORMER "MARKY MARK" MAKES HIS MARK AS REAL LIFE FOOTBALL HERO

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil


You don’t have to be a fan of football to like this film. Like Rocky, which took audiences into the boxing world, it wasn’t the sport backdrop that made the film a success. What both films have in common is each is the story of a young man, a dark horse in a field of players who overcame the odds and reached their goal. Sure, we’ve seen plenty of films like this and more are undoubtedly on their way. But, unlike Rocky, which is a fictional character, Invincible is based on the true story of Vince Papale, a down on his luck Philadelphian whose dream of playing professional football turned into a reality.

In the 1970’s Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg in his best role since Boogie Nights) was a struggling Philadelphian going through hard times after being laid off as a substitute teacher, with only part time work at the neighborhood bar to make ends meet. To make things worse, one night he comes home to an empty house, literally. He discovers his wife had left him and took everything, but not before leaving a note calling him a loser who would never amount to anything. Of course, we all know how wrong she was. What Papale did have going for him were great friends, a father (Kevin Conway) and their common love for football, in particular their home team, the Philadelphia Eagles also in dire need of major help, having lost 11 seasons. When newly signed NFL coach, Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear) decided to hold open call auditions for the Eagles team, Papale’s friends push him to make a go for it even though the only experience Papale had, as a football player, was a year in high school, and after hours play with his friends in the neighborhood junkyard. Yet remarkably, although he had never played college football, Papale was the only one, among the turnout of hundreds of out of shape dreamers who was picked. Not only did Vermeil see potential in the 30 year old Papale who tested an amazing 4.5 seconds in a tryout run, he saw something that the team desperately needed, heart and a winning spirit.

The film then takes us on his journey into the training camp where Papale had to deal with all sorts of harassment from experienced players who didn’t take well with the idea of having an inexperienced rookie on their team. Needless to say, Papale didn’t let that stand in his way. The thing that scared him was getting involved with another woman so soon after his wife walked out. Well as they say, one door closes and another opens. A new romance that he couldn’t dismiss comes in the form of pretty blonde New Yorker and steadfast Giants fan, Jenna (a radiant Elizabeth Banks) who shows up to work for her cousin Max, in his bar. Fans of different teams or not, they soon connect in every other way, and well, you can take it from there.

Invincible portrays Papale not only undergoing a personal triumph but as a symbol of hope in a city that was suffering economic hardship. Formula aside, and I not sure how much of the story is embellished for the screen, everything is handled well, from the working class believable characters, deftly conveyed by the entire cast and their great chemistry, to capturing the neighborhood environment with its row houses, and the appropriate, accompanying 70’s music soundtrack.

Vince Papale’s dream was realized in 1976. He went on to play four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before a shoulder injury forced him to leave the game. Now, I’ve heard there have been complaints from sports fans disappointed that this film didn’t show enough action on the field. People shouldn’t expect something similar to televised Monday Night Football or the NFL playoffs. It’s not that kind of movie. The fact that this is the first film in over a decade to receive full support from the NFL should say something. Also in its favor, Invincible lacks being over sentimental or cheesy in delivering an inspirational story, that encourages anyone to go for his or her dream whether the cards are stacked against you or not. With all that going for it Invincible scores a well earned touchdown.