***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!
The Winning Season - 3 out of 5
I'll be honest, there was only one reason I watched this movie: Sam Rockwell was in it. The guy is not only talented but he's one of my favorite actors and I'll pretty much see any film he's in. Also, I will never forgive the Academy for NOT nominating him for Moon.
The Winning Season sees Rockwell as a down-on-his luck former basketball coach who now sees himself bussing tables at the local cookie-cutter chain restaurant. Heavy drinking with a side of smoking is the man's main course in life with a dessert of a broken marriage and a timid relationship with his daughter. Rockwell's character (Bill) sees a possible redemption come in the form of a high school principal and friend (played by Rob Corddry) who offers him a job as a girl's basketball coach.
For the most part, The Winning Season is your basic formulaic underdog sports comedy where the relationship between the coach and the players is difficult at best but ends up becoming as strong as steel by the time the credits role. Even the estranged relationship between Bill and his daughter hits all the usual beats you would expect but with Rockwell playing the part with a combination of wit and charm, the movie become pretty damn entertaining. While the movie is never a laugh riot, the film does a great job of creating a balance of drama and comedy. Unfortunately, the story doesn't share the same balance as the relationship between Bill and his child will take a backseat for much of the movie but it's clear that the relationship between Bill and his team and his quest to build himself back up to his former glory is the true emphasis of the film. So, The Winning Season isn't the best sports film I've ever seen but the movie has enough heart that it's fun to watch. Also, Sam "Freaking" Rockwell is in it and that's enough reason for me.