Posts tagged "#Football"

“Safety” is more than a sports story

December 9th, 2020 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on ““Safety” is more than a sports story”

When you think Disney, images of uplifting, family-friendly and uplifting films comes to mind. Their newest film “Safety,” based on the true story of Ray-Ray McElrathbey, a freshman football player on scholarship at Clemson University, stays true to this image.

Jay Reeves stars as the young football recruit who is, as any freshman student-athlete would be, struggling to juggle it all. It’s a tough road, but Ray-Ray is looking to his future, knowing that football is a means to an end and probably not a path to a professional career. Taking a heavy class load, attending practice, getting acclimated to school life, and finding his place on the team, Ray-Ray gets a crisis call from home. His mother is being admitted to a rehab facility and his little brother has no choice but to go to a foster home. It’s a heartbreaking moment as Ray-Ray’s mind quickly weighs his options, and then accepts responsibility for caring for Fahmarr (Thaddeus J. Mixson). Living in the dorms with a roommate, Ray-Ray smuggles his little brother in, attempting to be his father-figure and juggle football and school. Of course, this is too much and Ray-Ray finds that it truly does take a village to raise a child.

“Safety” could easily be a fictional tale as it travels down what seems like a predictable road, but knowing it is based in reality adds a level of sincerity to the story and the characters. We watch as Ray-Ray shuts those around him out of his life, not trusting others, but his love interest, a school journalist, helps him shed those fears. The obstacles he faces, from coaches’ inflexible rules to the NCAA’s equality rigid guidelines, add the elements of tension and opportunities for maturity and eloquence from Ray-Ray and he rises to every occasion. While much of this may appear on the surface as being contrived, it feels nothing but sincere as it connects us to not only Ray-Ray and Fahmarr, but every coach and athlete we meet. We are rooting for this unique family called the Clemson Tigers as they ignite love and empathy in us as the viewer.

Reeves effortlessly carries this heavy load as Ray-Ray, a young man who has experienced tragedy and trauma most of us only read about. This role could easily have been overstated, but Reeves demonstrates restraint and gives us a more nuanced and credible performance. Mixson is equally talented as the irritating little brother who struggles with school, trust, and respect, but gradually finds a better version of himself. Together, Reeves and Mixson create a genuine relationship as they connect you with their characters.

Staying true to the story, the coaches portrayed by James Badge Dale as Coach Simmons and Matthew Glave as Coach Bowden, have their own story to tell, augmenting Ray-Ray’s tale. And as the team becomes a family, all with their own unique personalities, it gives you hope in humanity.

Disney, of course, adds their signature style creating a glossier story to one which was probably much more gritty in real life. But this doesn’t take away from the message and the reality of what it took for one young man to choose his family and potentially sacrifice himself. The story, more than a decade ago, reminds us of the importance of community and family as we reach out to one another. You can’t ask for a better message in our world today, especially as we approach the holiday season.

You can stream this on Disney+ beginning December 11, 2020.

3 Stars

Surprising answers found in Gabe Polsky’s newest doc “In Search of Greatness”

November 2nd, 2018 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on “Surprising answers found in Gabe Polsky’s newest doc “In Search of Greatness””

What makes the greatest of all athletes great? Is it genetic or is it something else? Gabe Polsky’s newest documentary “In Search of Greatness” delves into this very question, one that has not been asked before, to find the answers which just might surprise you!

Polsky interviews the football phenomenon Jerry Rice, soccer star Pele, and the legendary hockey player Wayne Gretzky to find out what makes them tick and rise to an unprecedented level of success. Their candid, confident, and frequently humble answers to Polsky’s pointed questions reveals the unexpected: these standout athletes are perhaps not that much different from you and I. In fact, the film shows that some of the past’s greats actually weren’t physically able to rise to the top, yet they did. The difference in these men, Polsky finds, is in their creativity and upbringing recognizing the necessity of this attribute. Of course, these men and women, in the case of the Williams sisters, are driven in a different way as well. Polsky also explores the mental motivation behind their success which is yet another intriguing discovery in the film.

Polsky artistically uses old footage from all of these athletes to demonstrate each athlete’s atypical style or creativity in their sport. We watch Marciano train and fight and we begin to understand how Gretzky became the confident and innovative player that to this day stands above them all. With this found footage interwoven between insightful and candid interviews, we begin to see a pattern; a connective line or lines drawn between top athletes. But more importantly, we see how we can introduce the concept of freedom of creativity into our own lives and our children’s for success.

There are plenty of surprises in the film, particularly when it comes to the importance of statistics and reactions to shortcomings of top athletes. In a recent interview, Polsky found many surprises as he delved into the topic. In fact, as he said, “If it’s in the movie, it means it was surprising to me. I’m not going to put anything in there that I’m bored with.”

“In Search of Greatness” also included interviews with authors Ken Robinson, Out of Our Minds: The Power of Being Creative,” and David Epstein, The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletes. These authors, their observations, and their research combined with the athletes’ interviews, give us seemingly concrete answers to the question of what makes a great athlete great.

“In Search of Greatness” is an vividly entertaining exploration of developing the best athletes. Ironically, you don’t have to be a sports enthusiast to enjoy and glean life-changing information from the film. As Polsky chuckled, “If you see this movie and you come out the same person, there’s something wrong with you.” This film truly gives viewers the tools to help ourselves and most importantly, help our children reach their potential across any and all platforms.

“In Search of Greatness” opens in theaters Friday, November 2 in major cities. Polsky hopes that coaches, teachers, and parents will all go see this film, especially as a group and use the hashtag #takeyourteam.

To read the interview with Polsky, go to The Daily Journal

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