Oscar Winner "Undefeated" Employs All the Old Sports Cliches

Undefeated: The Manassas Tigers' 2009 football team.
Dan Lindsay / TJ Martin / The Weinstein Company
Undefeated: The Manassas Tigers' 2009 football team.

An inspirational sports tearjerker in distilled form, this doc lands in North Memphis, where the underfunded, all-black Manassas High School football team sucks wind so bad, they're a state joke. Enter white volunteer coach Bill Courtney and a handful of walking clichés on his roster (the straight-outta-juvie hard case, the 300-pound refrigerator struggling with grades, the good-hearted star tragically felled by torn ligaments) and you're ready for cheers and hugs and big-man tears all the way to the playoffs — and an Oscar win for Best Documentary. Strangely, the Manassas Tigers are not at all undefeated during their ostensible championship season, which is a shame for the film. Have you had enough of even true stories about white people rescuing black communities? Honestly, Courtney and his crew all seem like nice people, but if there's an unironic audience for this kind of romantic jock-cup fondling, I'm not interested in knowing it.

 
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