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Movie Review


MPAA Rating: PG for sports action and some mild language

Reviewed by: Keith P. Soencksen

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family, Kids, Adults
Drama, Biography, Sports
1 hr. 44 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
August 25, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

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Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks, Stink Fisher, Michael Kelly
Director: Ericson Core
Producer: Nikki Reed, Victor Constantino, Ezra Swerdlow
Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

“Dreams are not lived on the sidelines.”

In 1975, the Philadelphia Eagles won all of 4 games. Enter new rookie head coach Dick Vermeil, coming right on the heels of successful leadership at UCLA. As a new coach on a new and unfriendly coast, Dick shakes up the skeptical and worn-out Philadelphia fans by taking an unprecedented, and highly unorthodox step: open tryouts.

Based on a true story, “Invincible” is about Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg), just your average Joe from South Philly. Newly married, he struggles to make ends meet by substitute teaching and bartending at Max’s Bar and Grill. After losing his teaching job, Vince’s wife leaves him, along with a heartless note explaining that Vince will never amount to anything. The regular crowd at Max’s rallies around Vince, convincing him that since nothing is going his way anyway, he’s got nothing to lose by working out with the Eagles, even if only for an hour.

Vince’s “family,” consisting of his father, his friends at Max’s, and his new love interest Janet (Elizabeth Banks, who, sadly, is a Giants fan) cheer Vince on despite his unlikely prospects, and the rest is history. The Eagles end the 1976 pre-season at 0-6, and top it off with a chilling opening defeat at the hands of Dallas Cowboy greats like Staubach, Drew Pearson, and Ed “Too Tall” Jones. Gradually, history finds the Eagles pulling out of a rut that some thought they’d never get out of, with Papale becoming a key contributor along the way.

“Invincible” is inspiring from beginning to end. Non-sports fans need not be concerned that this is just a typical “football” movie targeting a male audience. While there are plenty of violent impacts between players, this is also a touching drama that shows the power of friendship, family, and team. Vince never loses touch with his roots. Unlike so many professional athletes, he never becomes arrogant or above the rest of society. He’s just a good ole’ South Philly boy, and he’ll always be one. When asked about the real-life Vince Papale, actor Mark Wahlberg venerated him as a class act who spent every day on the set during filming.

The musical score is reason enough to see this movie. For those of us who grew up in the 70’s, few would disagree that the rock-n-roll of that day has simply never been improved upon. There’s music in almost every scene, and every song fits superbly, transporting the viewer 30 years back in time. At the end of the movie, viewers are treated to some real footage from Papale’s three seasons as an Eagle. Viewers over age 40 will find everything from the big-block cars to the big-pattern wallpaper nostalgic.

The troubling aspects of “Invincible” are very few. I kept having to remind myself that I was watching a movie centered in gritty Philadelphia, with mostly middle-aged, sports fanatical, male characters. Why? Because I expected 4-letter filth to be in heavy supply. Not only is God’s name not taken in vain, but cursing is non-existent. Folks, Hollywood and Disney deserve some kudos here! This movie could’ve easily been filled with profanity, and the fact that it wasn’t is so incredibly refreshing that I almost couldn’t contain myself.

There are of course a number of bar scenes, and a fair amount of beer drinking. There is one reference to a person being drunk (not visibly), but I don’t see how anyone could come away thinking that alcohol consumption was overdone or glorified in this movie.

There is one bump on the road to paradise, as it were. Late in the movie, Vince and Janet share a very (and I mean very) passionate, open-mouthed, tongue-and-all kiss. The scene lasts 10 seconds or so, after which they hastily push themselves into Janet’s house. From here the scene changes thankfully, but sex is clearly implied. Biblically, pre-marital sex is never “OK,” even for football stars, and even if marriage is in a couple’s future plans. The Bible has much to say about sexual immorality, none of it good. For starters, try 1 Corinthians 5 and 6. Thankfully, there is no nudity, and this scene represents only a brief departure from an otherwise morally uplifting story.

A final caution is in order. Despite the strong message of hope presented in this movie, the hope is wholly man-centered. There is no mention of God or Christ whatsoever. The gang at Max’s has placed their hope in Vince, and lives vicariously through him. As Christians, we know that trusting in a hope that is based on man’s abilities is futile. To quote a classic from 1834:

“My hope is built on nothing less,
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand…all other ground is sinking sand.”

“Invincible” is easily as enjoyable as movies like “Miracle” and “Cinderella Man”, but it should also remind us to be wary of our love affairs with sports, and sports heroes, and friends, and…, and well, everyone and everything but Jesus. Let us be ever mindful that our vain strivings and successes on this Earth are but a vapor. We have significantly more to gain on Sunday by worshipping at the cross than at the TV set or the stadium.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor

Viewer Comments
Positive—A MUST SEE family movie. How refreshing to be able to take our whole family (kids 8, 10, 12 and 14) to a movie that we can all enjoy without having to deal with the junk that is normally out there. No profanity, sex, violence (other than football related), yet an amazing movie of courage, perseverance and triumph. GO SEE THIS ONE!!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Rachelle Smotherman, age 33
Positive—I worried that all the good parts were in the trailers, especially after what some said of the movie. But I loved it, my family loved it, and the movie crowd clapped at the end. The story is more than a football movie, it is a slice of life itself. Just like Papoli, we all have people who are for us, those against us, and those who depend on us. But the movie doesn’t drop into cliches in dealing with the pressure. When he focuses on what is good and not on revenge, he sees the light.

The value of family and friends in this South Philadelphia community is highlighted throughout as enabling them to bear their poor economic condition.

My 15 year old daughter really enjoyed it. She is an athlete but does not like football. But in this movie the characters were people that she cared about, and the football scenes were just enough to convey the competitive spirit without becoming a highlight reel. We also agreed that the heavy kissing scene was totally out of place but fortunately very brief. The audience seemed to agree as there was a collective “huh?” when it started.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Bill Walters, age 58
Positive—“Invincible” is inspired by the true story of one man’s dream to be all he can be. When the Philadelphia Eagles continue on their torturous losing streak, they decide to take on a new coach. The winning head coach (Greg Kinnear) was the coach of a California college football team. The first move he decides to try is to hold open tryouts. This becomes the laughing stock of the media and fans alike; however for one hometown fanatic, Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg), it’s all but a joke.

“Invincible” was made by Walt Disney, and done by the same crew that brought us “Remember the Titans” and “The Rookie.” I really enjoyed the movie and the fact that it was inspired by true events did add to the emotional side of things. Sadly, unlike both “Remember the Titans” and “The Rookie,” there was no real message in this movie. Invincible lacked the raw emotion that its predecessors had but it still gave the viewer someone to root for. Personally, when I go see a movie about a hometown hero and someone who has risen from the ashes, I want there to be some redeeming quality about him. Vince Papale actually was just a bland hero that gave union workers someone to believe in, however no one really knows for what. That said, the movie was still engaging and Mark Wahlberg and Greg Kinnear were fantastic in their roles.

I actually liked Greg Kinnear better than anyone else in the movie. He played the ultimate family man with a wonderful and supportive wife whom he adored, unlike your stereotypical dead beat husband. This movie broke from the norm and had a strong husband figure, not to mention a wife that loved and supported him. I wish they would have spent more time on this character because he was the most redeeming person in the movie.

Invincible is a relatively good family movie with the exception of a few bad words and one kissing scene on the front porch. I would highly recommend this movie over many other movies out there, however do not expect “Remember the Titans” or “The Rookie.”

Parental Warning: VERY little bad language, and it was pretty clean all together. I say “pretty clean” because they did have one scene where two people were kissing and they lean on the front door and eventually go inside. Personally, I was thinking he was going to get his groove on but I could be wrong. 3 of 4 Stars
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—John Kehrli, age 32
Positive—This is the type of movie that Hollywood needs to put out more often. Imagine a film set in south Philly in a poor area in a bar, and no foul language, gratuitous sex, and an uplifting story. I took my 85 year old dad and my 14 year old son, and all three of us were totally inspired by this movie. It shows that even the most unlikely of people can be a “winner,” if they persevere and show humility and character. I hate the Eagles and found myself cheering for Vince in every play he was shown in. It is great to see that even “moral victories” count for something to someone, as we experience these victories in our own lives everyday. I highly recommend this film, especially for fathers to talk about having integrity and good character with their children.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Jim Nealon, age 43
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie. I found it captivating and uplifting. The acting was accomplished. There was lots of meat to the story—the poverty and lack of opportunities in South Philly, high unemployment, broken families, failed romances, people with no families, a new coach and his family, the failing football team, the city spirit… The storyline consisted of a varied spectrum of society, without stereotyping. This was an intelligent movie, and lots of fun on top of that. I heartily recommend it.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Halyna Barannik, age 60
Positive—Very refreshing, inspiring and fun movie! I was enjoying it so much I didn’t even realize there were no bad words until my husband mentioned it on our way out of the theater. It’s awful how Hollywood has numbed us to bad language. I have actually learned to block it out, and so I thought I had done it with this movie. But it turns out that your kids can watch this with you! Kids 7 or older I would say because of the drinking and sports violence.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Maria Gottuso, age 37
Positive—I loved this film. I thought is was extremely refreshing and well done. It was cool to see a movie with no noticeable profanity and no sex, implied yes, shown no. Premarital sex is wrong, but at least they didn’t show it. And, people, the soundtrack itself is worth the price of the movie. Great 70’s rock music.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Selah Robb, age 23
Positive—This film is one of the best sports movies to come out in a long time. I can say this because it is one of the first to step out of the typical sport story. It does not take place in a high school, the character is surrounded by a supportive group of friends and city. Even more impressive there is a supportive father, not even “The Rookie” had that for the main guy. The profanity is limited, and no sex scenes. But this is not enough to make me like the movie, I like it because I cared. Vince has been knocked down so many times that I wanted him to succeed. I wanted him to succeed because of his friends, who were given hope because by him doing the impossible, they could too. I left the drive-in theatre with a smile on my face. One of the greatest sports movies yet.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Natalya, age 19
Positive—We just watched this movie for our family movie night—our four kids are ages 11 down to 6. We all enjoyed it very much. After the kissing scene when they disappeared into her doorway, my eight year old daughter said, 'Well, they are off to the wedding now.' Having recently watched “Facing the Giants,” we were able to talk about the difference between a God-centered storyline and one that does not acknowledge Him at all, and the kids agreed that they preferred Facing the Giants.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Mary, age 42
Positive—This movie was great. My wife and I have a really hard time finding movies that we don’t have to turn off for the content. I decided to take a chance on this Disney movie. We were captured by the story and found ourselves impressed with it. It was heavy on alcohol scenes, but the way that it was done seemed to be more to tell the story and less of an endorsement for drinking. The Lord’s name was taken in vain once, which is pretty surprising for today’s movies. It still could have been left out. All in all, the movie was great and the story was well-told. It was refreshing to finally watch a movie all the way through and still feel like I didn’t compromise what I believe.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Jeremy Nabors, age 29
Comments from young people
Positive—…one of the five best releases of 2006. Not only is it a movie of good quality, but also a movie that is hardly offensive morally. It won’t excite you or inspire you as much as Remember the Titans or Cinderella Man, but it is still a great movie. It is one that is worthy of your free time if you choose to spend it watching movies and it is worth the price of the ticket you pay to watch it. I know that we’d all prefer for there to be no offensive content in these movies, but the ones with barely any deserve our support to show Hollywood that such content as constant profanity, gratuitous violence, and immoral sex don’t attract us to movies, they repel us from them.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Ross, age 16
Positive—The story of Vince Papale isn’t as good as the story of the T.C. Williams Titans (“Remember the Titans”), the story of Jim Braddock (“Cinderella Man”), the story of the Texas Western Miners (“Glory Road”), or as good as a few other stories out there, but it is still a good story. Among all sports movies, I personally think it ranks 8th or 9th on the all-time list.

Morally, this movie is among the best of recent releases. Offensive content is close to nonexistent. The only violence in the movie is football violence, and if football violence offends you, don’t go see this movie. Profanity is pretty much nonexistent, as well. There was one case where profanity might have been said, but the shouts of the crowd pretty much drown it out. There was no sexual content, except in perhaps one instance. In this case, two characters might have had sex, but it isn’t for certain. If sex is implied, it isn’t implied very strongly. There’s hardly (if any) morally offensive content in this movie.

As far as quality goes, “Invincible” is still one of the better recent movies. It’s not the best sports movie I’ve seen, but it is still a worthwhile movie. The movie does a decent job of mixing some funny parts with sports drama and action, but it isn’t in the same class of mixing these things as “Remember the Titans” and “Glory Road” were. Regardless, “Invincible” is a good film, it’s just not a truly great one.

If you like spending your free time watching movies at your home or at the theater, your time and your money would be well spent watching “Invincible.” It is a good movie with an inspiring story behind it, but don’t go in expecting it to be better than the movies I’ve already mentioned or you’ll be disappointed.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Ross, age 16
Positive—I like this move a lot. I liked Vince’s attitude even when times were bad, and it inspires me to never give up. I liked his friendships with others and how they supported him. I also liked the closeness he had with his Dad and how his Dad was proud of him and helped him. He was determined and always did his best.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Randy Sargent, age 11
Positive—I am from the Philly area and have been a Philadelphia Eagles fan all my life. So when I saw that they were coming out with a movie about a Philadelphia Eagles player, I knew that I had to see it. Going to see the movie, I didn’t really know what to expect, because I hadn’t seen much publicity about it. After I left the theatre, I was amazed at how clean Hollywood (and Disney) kept the movie. Even if you’re not an Eagles fan, this movie is very inspiring, not just for football players, but also just for any sports fan. The only thing that was inaccurate was the digital design of Veterans Stadium, but besides that, it was an incredible movie.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Kurt, age 15
Positive—Me, being a football player, I loved the movie. I didn’t think it would be as good as it was, and I didn’t wanna see it, because I am not a Philadelphia Eagles fan. But, overall, the movie inspired me to do the best I can when I am on the field, and it doesn,t matter where you come from, you can still make a difference. I loved the movie, there wasn’t anything inappropriate, and its definitely worth the money.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Joe, age 14
Neutral—This was an okay movie. There was really no language and mild football violence. The thing I really didn’t like was it showed about 10-15 times men in the football’s player bar. The men get drunk every time. It even shows the men hitting on the woman worker. If you want a really good football movie check out Remember the Titans. If you have older children for a great story (if you don’t mind language) check out Gridiron Gang. I liked both of those football movies much much better. I actually started getting bored with this movie there was more drinking going on then football. I am not negative because it is not a “bad” movie. I would not tell anybody to see it. No one under 10 should see this movie because of the drinking.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Michael, age 12