★★½ / 👎
A film that never really decides if it wants to be a sports drama about triumphing over adversity through hard work, or a kitchen-sink drama about the cycles of behavior we imprison ourselves within.
Richard Jenkins gives the standout performance, playing a retired track coach easily as demanding as Mr. Miyagi or Morris Buttermaker, but far less lovable than either.
Kim Basinger largely reprises her role from 8 Mile—the working-class mom who struggles to understand her gifted but troubled son—but she also just about broke my heart with a single, wordless take.
Cam Gigandet’s character is a study in low-key tragedy: the elder sibling crushed by the weight of attempting to be “the man of the house,” knowing he is disappointing everyone but seemingly unable to stop making terrible decisions.
Analeigh Tipton is so sweet and vulnerable and charming here as a student athlete that I felt guilty when I couldn’t stand Manhattan Love Story.
Kelly Blatz is, well, the protagonist, I guess.