Sunday, January 18, 2015

North Dallas Forty (1979)

Director: Ted Kotcheff

Writers: Peter Gent, Frank Yablans, Ted Kotcheff, Nancy Dowd, Rich Eustis

Composer: John Scott

Starring: Nick Nolte, Mac Davis, Charles Durning, Dayle Haddon, Bo Svenson, John Matuszak, Steve Forrest, G.D. Spradlin, Dabney Coleman, Savannah Smith Boucher

More info: IMDb

Tagline: "Wait till you see the weird part."

Plot: A semi-fictional account of life as a professional Football (American-style) player. Loosely based on the Dallas Cowboys team of the early 1970s.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Be warned, this is not the comedy the trailer promises.  There are some light moments but you're probably not going to laugh. It's more of a sports drama than anything else.  The actors are likable and the film feels like it's going to be fun from the first few minutes.  The thing is I kept waiting for the story to start developing and moving in some sort of direction.  Take out the romance between Charlotte (Haddon) and Phillip (Nolte) and not much happens except for some behind the scenes NFL team hijinks at parties and the like.  Then, FINALLY, in the last 15 minutes, of the almost two hour picture, something happens.  Phillip is in a meeting with the team's owner, manager and so on.  This is where the awesome Dabney Coleman shows up for more than a couple of seconds and gets to stretch his acting legs.  There's a very heated discussion that takes place and this one scene says more than everything that came before it.  It's a fantastic scene and one I would gladly watch again.  The acting from everyone involved is fantastic.  But for the film, it's too late.  There wasn't much substance for the first hour and forty five minutes to justify the final fifteen.  Don't get me wrong, that last scene is a powerhouse of acting and writing and it's worth watching the film just to get to it but you'll probably feel like you ate a mediocre dinner with desert only to get the steak after everything else had been digested.  It's a great steak, though.  The Paramount DVD has no extras and the print of the film is non-anamorphic widescreen.

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