Leatherheads (2008)

It has taken 10 years to watch a movie I never thought would interest me. Wow was I wrong. George Clooney was brilliant here as star football player, director, and writer of a comedy about the early days of professional football. John Krasinski is matches Clooney wit for wit as they both fight to grow the game of football and the same girl, reporter Lexi Littleton (Renee Zellweger). Just when you think you know where the plot is going, Clooney pulls out another card from under his sleeve and throws it down in the mud.

This story, which was filmed in an old-fashioned setting, was brilliant. You really felt like you were on the field with these guys who wore little to no padding but took all the same hard hits you’ve come to know today. Before the formation of a professional football league, there were no rules and that allowed Clooney and the gang to play dirty. When things get out of hand and scandals to threaten to rock the game, a commissioner is appointed who creates rules to alter everything these guys have ever known.

Personal battles that start on the field carry over into the real life. There is always a gut check moment during a game, but most will never experience that kind of moment when the press is knocking on the door and want answers. Krasinski plays a World War I hero who also happens to be super talented at running the football. The whole subplot revolves around him and his character’s background. I never felt conflicted on what the truth really was, but since it does play a major factor in the outcome of the story, it is interesting to see how everyone reacts to it all.

The ending came out of left field. There’s no cheating anymore and the new commissioner is in the crowd watching, but playing in a mud bowl allows for sneaky stuff to happen. It capped off a great movie with solid performances from everyone. If you like old-fashioned stories and the people in the main cast, Leatherheads may just be for you! 8/10

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