Filled with laughs and inspirational moments, Champions is making its way into theaters this weekend. It is a sports movie unlike others we’ve seen before and has a great story that will warm your heart. Yes, it’s another sports movie but it’s one that you’re going to want to see even if you’re not a huge sports fan, and it may be one that you’re going to want to watch over again and again.
Champions has the same sports movie setup we’ve seen play out hundreds of times – a down-on-their-luck coach who has to take a ragtag group of athletes and turn them into a team before their championship. But while Champions starts similarly to Bad News Bears with a coach who is trying to turn his life around, Coach Marcus chooses to coach a group of intellectually disabled adults in basketball over going to jail after his DUI. The team, The Friends, is a mixture of young adults with varying disabilities and skills – but all play basketball their own way. What seems like a difficult 90-day assignment turns into a labor of love and true friendship.
While the team members of The Friends all have disabilities, the movie does take great lengths to show that they each are more than their disabilities. Not only does the movie give each team member a full back story and they aren’t used as flat characters to move the story forward. It takes time to show that being disabled doesn’t mean that people can’t have full and fulfilled lives and that while their day-to-day normal may not be the same as ours, it doesn’t mean it’s not a good life.
Since all of the team members are adults, the movie doesn’t shy away from talks about sex, dick jokes, and swearing. But with a rating of PG-13, you can expect some crude jokes throughout the movie. Despite the movie being inspirational and a good story that should be watched, it may not be for younger viewers.
Champions may fall under some of the typical sports movie tropes, but in the end, you not only will leave with the warm fuzzies that you would expect from this type of movie but sore cheeks from laughing and smiling through the movie. Much like the team, and their coach, the movie isn’t going to be exactly what you expected. Champions is in theaters nationwide today.
Woody Harrelson stars in the hilarious and heartwarming story of a former minor-league basketball coach who, after a series of missteps, is ordered by the court to manage a team of players with intellectual disabilities. He soon realizes that despite his doubts, together, this team can go further than they ever imagined.