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Not Exactly Invincible

Aug 25, 2006, 3:19 AM EDT

Invincible_vince_papale
I have two theories on Invincible if you are not an Eagles fan.  You may really like this movie OR you will absolutely hate it.  You may really like it because you won’t see all of the false truths.  You may really hate it because you don’t give a rats ass about Philadelphia or the Eagles and without that the movie is pretty bland.  I obviously have a Philly bias so there were some fun parts to this movie which I could appreciate: the nostalgic talk of players like Tommy McDonald, Norm Van Brocklin, Steve Van Buren, etc.  In the scene when Vince Papale tells of how his father told the story over and over of Steve Van Buren making the big play(1) in 1948 to win the NFL Championship, I immediately thought of my Dad telling the story of being at the game where Wilbert Montgomery’s run against Dallas in 1980 sent them to the Superbowl.  Someday I’ll probably tell my kid I was in the first row at the 50 yard line for 4th and 26.  All sports fans can relate to parts of the movie like this.  Take all the nostalgia away and you are left with a pretty weak movie.

This is a Disney movie and it really shows.  It could have been a grittier look at Philadelphia in the ’70s, showing how football is really a big deal in this city, of how Philly embraces the blue collar player.  But it wasn’t.  It needed the authentic bums on the street corner feel that Rocky had, not the Disneyfied representation of South Philly with it’s fake cheesesteak joint.  I wanted Paulie and Mickey and all we got were Tommy and Johnny.

Invincible is a movie which is loosely based on Vince Papale, whose story was an incredible one.  It’s a movie worth checking out if you are from Philadelphia or an Eagles fan.  Just make sure you don’t even come close to expecting Papale to go the distance with Creed.

The opening scene after the inial intro is a fun shot of a game at the Vet and much to the delight of me, the entire stadium was booing.

Some things that bothered me and a few things I liked:
-Marky Mark pours out the remainder of his beer after the end of an Eagles game as he sits in the 700 level.  This would obviously never happen in the 700 level.
-The view from the 700 level looked like you were sitting on the field.  I want those tickets.
-Since when did the Vet have a track on the field?  Obviously this was filmed at Franklin Field, but couldn’t they have cut that out?
-When the fans trying out sang the fight song, they sang "fight Eagles fight, on the road to victory."  These two lines would never follow each other.  I found this to be a particularly painful scene hearing this get botched.
-The featured news reporter was played by actor Jack Kehler who most of you know as The Dude’s landlord from The Big Lebowski.  I kept expecting to hear him ask us to come watch his cycle and give him notes.  -Papale’s father was played by the angry mailman in Funny Farm.
-The Eagles did actually lose to Cinci in 1975 by a score of 31-0 but it wasn’t the final game of the season, just the final home game.
-The whole love story sucked, as to be expected.  Who falls in love with a Giants fan?
-They definitely had some sweet old school Eagles gear in this movie.
-Of course they mention that Philly booed Santa Claus.
-Weak ending.

1-From Answers.com: Van Buren’s signature game came on December 26, 1948. Playing in a blizzard for the NFL Championship against the Chicago Cardinals,
Van Buren scored the only touchdown of the game to give the Eagles
their first league title. They would win their second crown a year
later. In that game, Van Buren set a league record with 196 yards
rushing.

2-Papale wasn’t actually from South Philly, he was from Glenolden.

Okay, so it was pretty bad, like real bad, but I kind of still liked it.