Champions 2023 Movie Review
Basketball movies have always found a way into the hearts of audiences, whether that be Hoosiers, Coach Carter, and even Like Mike, to name a few. They usually either hit us with dramatic tension or fun filled comedy that is hard to resist. Champions, directed by Robert Farrelly, follows Marcus (Woody Harrelson), a minor-league basketball coach that is forced to forgo 90 days of community service coaching individuals with intellectual disabilities after he is arrested for drunk driving. Even though the film isn’t able to hit all of its three point shots, it is a harmless good time with enough laughs and heart to make it worthwhile.
At its core, Champions is an enjoyable family film featuring a cast of charming young actors. The movie does a good job of showing the chemistry between them while also giving each one the opportunity to shine on their own. The movie is at its highest when the young actors are on screen together and the basketball elements are in full swing. Woody Harrelson’s storyline was a little underdeveloped and would have benefitted from the script having better character development on his part.
His love life storyline fell a little flat and using its runtime to focus more on his relationship with the basketball team would have made the film score higher. Champions’ alternative focus on the fulfilling lives the players live as opposed to focusing on what they lack is one of the highpoints of the movie. It gave audiences a different perspective on the lives of those with intellectual disabilities and the joys of friendship and community.
As someone who loves films full of drama and tension, it was refreshing to go to the movies and just be entertained in a comforting way. The film always has its heart in the right place and the energy in the film is a constant joy. Champions will be released on March 10 for anyone who wants to go see a feel-good film and to leave the theater with a full heart.