Don’t Miss The Opportunity To See This Movie

By Tony Price
Updated: September 9, 2008

The Longshots BOSTON – Who would have thought it as I became one of the country’s tallest cheerleader — for at least 90 minutes anyway — while watching this movie score a touchdown.

Unfortunately the point after was missed as the movie is going to fall victim to low receipts at the box office, hence it will continue to be an uphill battle to convince Hollywood to produce similar movies.

The movie “The Longshots” starring Keke Palmer & Ice Cube now playing in theaters should have been a can’t miss affair. I thought Kenya Yarbrough wrote a great article ( eur46442.cfm) on the making of the movie with interviews from the two main characters.

This is a fantastic family movie. A real PG-13 where no one’s dropping the F-Bomb and there’s no sexual scenes or references. I didn’t think these types of movies still existed.

The movie was the all too familiar story of the underdog who overachieves, but with a unique twist. It’s based on the true story of Jasmine Plummer, an African-American girl who at the tender age of 11 made history by becoming the first girl to play Pop Warner Football and lead her team to the national championship game.

As I sat in the theater observing to see who like myself felt the movie was worth the time and money, I was somewhat surprised and disappointed to see that most of the patrons were Caucasian. Where were the people of color?

How can we at this critical time in history thanks to the political race, and the call for people of color in particular African-Americans to be featured in prime time television shows, not come out in huge numbers to support this movie?

Is it because the storyline was not believable has our psyche and self love been damaged so badly to the point that we can’t see ourselves in roles like this and believe it actually happened?

Shame on us as this movie will have come and gone without a whimper and the Producers in Hollywood will have the data and ammunition needed to justify not making movies such as this but continue to churn out “classics” like “Soul Plane” and “Norbit.”

The movie was far more than a sports movie. It had family drama, a strong black male character, who despite being down on his luck still had morals, ethics and values, showed how a town was hard hit by the closing of factories (sound familiar?) and how a youth team brought a community together.

I find it ironic that in a country that loves to root for the underdog, movies that star minority groups (African-Americans and Females) in leading roles outside of the usual stereotypical characters often does poorly at the gate.

I’ll use both of Keke Palmer’s movies as examples (i.e., “Akeelah & the Bee” and “The Longshots”) two powerful and moving projects that were mediocre at the box office.

I love Ms. Palmer as an actress and I hope she doesn’t try to grow up too fast and shed her good girl image (i.e., Brandy, Keisha Knight Pulliam, and Kyla Pratt). We don’t need any more young sisters doing sex scenes to show their versatility for future acting jobs.

Yes, there were the typical clichés that played out in the movie: losing team turns season around going from worst to first making it against the odds from small town USA (think Bad News Bears).

But this movie was still a story that needed to be told and in my opinion if the main character had been based on a white female, the hype around the film would have been greater, played in more theaters, she would have been plastered on all the major print publications and done the entire talk show circuit.

But alas this story was based on a young black girl who overcame tough odds to do something special, I guess that’s not interesting enough, maybe if she got pregnant along the way the movie would have been more appealing.

Oh, that’s right as we recently found out on a national platform, black and Latina girls aren’t the only ones who have unprotected sex and become teenage moms, (Hello, Bristol Palin).

If you don’t have the opportunity to catch the movie in theaters (hurry), at least purchase the DVD and show it to your children.

They need to see that everyday people can also make history.