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Review: ‘Champions,’ starring Woody Harrelson, is a film with a lot of heart to it

“Champions,” starring Woody Harrelson, is a film with a lot of heart to it, that will certainly take viewers on an inspirational sports journey.

Woody Harrelson in 'Champions'
Woody Harrelson in 'Champions.' Photo Courtesy of Focus Features
Woody Harrelson in 'Champions.' Photo Courtesy of Focus Features

“Champions,” starring Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson, is a film with a lot of heart to it, that will certainly take viewers on an inspirational sports journey.

Woody Harrelson as Marcus stars in the heartwarming story of a former minor-league basketball coach who, after a series of missteps, is ordered by the court to manage a team of players with intellectual disabilities.

The gruff and vituperative Marcus soon realizes that despite his doubts, together, this team can go further than they ever imagined. It lives up to its tagline where “their best shot is his last shot.”

Bobby Farrelly did an exceptional job directing this film, which will engage the audience on an emotional level. Harrelson is coaching a Special Olympics team, and that makes it even more relevant and compelling. It raises awareness on the challenges of children with intellectual disabilities, while simultaneously showcasing their true potential.

Solid performances from the entire cast of actors led by Woody Harrelson give this uplifting movie film its beating heart. It is full of intricacy, empathy, and humanity.

The talented cast includes Kaitlin Olson, Matt Cook, Ernie Hudson, Cheech Marin, Mike Smith, Scott Van Pelt, Jalen Rose, Joshua Felder, Madison Tevlin, and Kevin Iannucci, among others.

The screenplay by Mark Rizzo is well-developed, sassy,  and it embodies the ensemble comedy cardinal rule. All of the young actors soared in their roles.

Harrelson is witty, suave, and clever as Marcus, and his acting performance in “Champions” truly runs the gamut. It is a poignant sports comedy about finding joy and fulfillment in life; moreover, it underscores a message of acceptance and hope, in a raw and refreshing manner.

The Verdict

Overall, “Champions” is a feel-good sports movie that deserves more than just a passing glance. Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson will sustain the audience’s attention for its entire duration. It is funny with action and endearing storylines, and it doesn’t get too preachy. The movie garners 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 20,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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