The Longest Yard (2005): Review
Question: would you rather take Paul Crewe or Bobby Boucher to start a new NFL team with? #tossup
I re-watched The Longest Yard (2005) staring Adam Sandler tonight and I think it’s sneakily one of my favorite football movies ever. After seeing its roughly 30% rotten tomatoes score I can’t help but classify this flick as underrated and here’s why:
1. It respects the original, yet does its own thing.
I suspect a reason why the majority of modern critics gave it a thumbs down is due to its corny lines, and at times transparent acting, but I think that’s by design. If you’ve seen the original you may have noticed it has a certain tone and vibe that I actually think the remake captures nicely (“he broke his freaking neck!”). It has fun, but it still pulls off solid characters and at times real emotional pull. And hell, Burt Reynolds!
2. Sweet football action.
If you’re going to make a movie based around any sport, it needs to portray that sport well. Just like a fist fight in an action movie, it needs to be filmed and choreographed by professionals who know their stuff. The Longest Yard has some of the best football action scenes. It’s brutal, exciting, and although a bit over the top at times, it’s still grounded in reality.
Another reason critics may be sour is the butt load of recognizable faces becoming too much of a distraction. The cast consisted of former professional athletes (Michael Irvin, Bill Romanowski), professional wrestlers (The Great Khali, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bill Goldberg) and rappers (Nelly). While some use this as a complaint, I think it’s a lot of fun! Maybe its just me, but whenever I watch this movie I always think of how much fun it must have been on set while making it. Kevin Nash (professional wrestler) turned out to be of the funniest people in the movie! (“Quit booing people! Both teams are trying very hard!”)
4. One of Adam Sandlers best.
As if the first 3 points weren’t wrong enough in some peoples eyes, I bet I’d get the most disagreement on this one. I would put his performance in this ahead of most of what he’s done either as a goofy character (That’s My Boy, Little Nicky, Jack and Jill) or not (Click, Grown Ups, The Cobbler – this one wasn’t even released to theaters!). Sure he’s done movies that a lot of people like such as The Waterboy, Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison, but overall The Longest Yard falls to the + column in my eyes.
5. Legit emotion
Remember when I said it respects the original while still doing it’s own thing? Well, the quality character dilemma, growth and emotion is what this movie infuses well. Among some of the cheap humor, and obvious dialogue, there is Paul’s growth as a character, fellow inmates coming to Megget’s side when he’s abused by the guards and a real sense of comradery among many of the characters. Does this quality character development dominate the movie? Far from it, but it has enough to turn this movie from a cheap one time watch to something you can get into multiple times.
To summarize, I don’t think they weren’t looking to make an Oscar caliber movie here. It seems like they set out to make a movie guys would have a lot of fun with and girls wouldn’t hate sitting through. I think they accomplished that while injecting some great memorable moments and quotable lines.
“That’s a week in the hot box. Who gives a sh*t!” BOOM here comes the BOOM here comes the BOOM Ya’ll don’t really want it now.