Friday, October 21, 2011

Movie Review: The Mighty Macs

Movie Title: The Mighty Macs
Producer: Quaker Media
Rating: G
In Theaters: Today (October 21, 2011)
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It's 1971. Cathy Rush is a woman ahead of her time ... and she's about to embark on an adventure for the ages. A new era is dawning in the country and in collegiate athletics, where a national champion will be crowned for the first time in women's basketball.
In the lead up to this historical season, major universities are preparing their game plans to win that first title. Meanwhile a tiny all-women's Catholic college in Philadelphia has a more modest goal: find a coach before the season begins. Providentially, Cathy Rush is about to find Immaculata College.
Recently married, Cathy is dealing with the aftermath of a truncated playing career. While cultural norms would have her staying at home, she's willing to do the hard work necessary to help her new team reach their goals—or perhaps she's just trying to achieve her unfulfilled dreams through them.
From the beginning, her challenges are as imposing as the big-school teams Immaculata will face on the court. Cathy learns there is no gymnasium on campus, she receives little support from the school's Mother Superior, and the school is in dire financial straits. To top it off, she may not even have enough players to field a team!
While it appears the Macs don't have a prayer, all hope is not lost. With the help of Sister Sunday—a spunky assistant coach—and the support of a booster club of elderly nuns, Coach Rush creates a new game plan that just might bring the team—and the school—together.
Will this pioneer buck cultural norms and spur her rag-tag team to unexpected heights? Or will her hard-driving ways create a wedge between the coach and everyone around her?
One thing's for certain: there's never been anyone like Cathy Rush at Immaculata!
About the Players:
THE MIGHTY MACS stars Carla Gugino as Cathy Rush; David Boreanaz as her husband, NBA referee Ed Rush; Marley Shelton as Sister Sunday; and Academy Award and Tony Award winner Ellen Burstyn as Mother St. John. The film was written, directed, and produced by Tim Chambers. The film's executive producers are Pat Croce, the former president of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, and Vince Curran, a successful businessman and former basketball star at Penn. Curran and Chambers are founders and partners of Quaker Media.
What I Liked: 

  • For the whole family.  It's nice to find a G-rated movie that's interesting for the whole family.  While it's definitely not a little-kid movie, my 4yo Esmé was attentive through most of it.
  • Feel-good ending.  This is one of those predictable underdog stories that ends right, as unconventional methods, hard work, team-building, and perseverance pay off and change lives.
  • Family values.  I was wondering how Cathy Rush's marriage story would play out as some tensions were revealed in the beginning.  The movie highlights the importance of not taking your spouse for granted.
  • Female stars.  Having a daughter, it's always nice to find positive female role models, athletic and otherwise.
  • Based on a true story.  An inspiring movie becomes even more inspiring when you know it actually happened.

  • Depiction of Christianity.  There was some Catholic stereotyping, but for the most part, the movie brought out common ground between denominations, as well as a very realistic search for meaning by supporting character Sister Sunday.
  • Breadth of characters.  There were many supporting characters with stories of their own - Cathy's husband, the sisters, the team members - the only downside was that the movie wasn't able to expand on these in the short playtime.
Overall, an uplifting movie for the whole family.

Thanks to Propeller for coordinating our online screening of this movie in exchange for our review.  All opinions are our own.