I remember watching a special on ESPN several years ago (or so) about Vince Papale - the native Philadelphian bar tender that tried out for the Eagles and made the team. I remember at the time thinking that it was a very inspirational story and pretty amazing that some "Joe" who didn't even play football in college would make an NFL team.
Earlier this year, I was in a movie theater and saw a trailer for Invincible, Disney's portrayal of Vince's story. Mark Wahlberg plays Vince and Greg Kinnear plays coach Dick Vermeil. This movie was fantastic!
I doubt too many people are on the Markie Mark bandwagon, but I think he's rather good in the movies I've seen him in. He was excellent in Boogie Nights. He was good in The Perfect Storm and The Italian Job. He played a great Papale. I believed it from beginning to end.
Papale, like many in Philadelphia at the time, was falling on hard times. He had a part time job as a substitute teacher and worked some hours as a bartender. His marriage isn't exactly working out. And his Eagles suck.
Enter Vermeil. He holds open try-outs to those in Philadelphia. Many who show up are a joke. But Papale, after some arm twisting by his friends, is the real deal and the Eagles ask him to attend training camp.
At the end of camp, Papale is on the bubble. He's not going to make the team. But in his meeting with Vermeil, he shows coach that he has what the team needs: heart. He makes the team.
The football scenes are just great. The drama of some of the key plays in which Papale was involved was intense. And the backstory, which a lot of times is boring fluff, was interesting and engaging.
I highly recommend this movie to anyone that's a football fan. And even if you're not.
Image taken from IMDB.