CHAMPIONS – Review by T. J. Callahan

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Champions: Court ordered to care.

Woody Harrelson is told he’s no Matthew McConaughey, but he is a pretty, pretty, pretty good basketball coach, despite being a bit of a hot head. It’s his temper that changes his life.

Based on a 2018 Spanish film called Campeones, Champions is basically A League of Their Own. After a series of indiscretions, a minor-league basketball coach is fired and ordered by a judge to carry out community service as the manager of The Friends, a team of hoops players with intellectual disabilities. You can guess what happens next.

Champions could be described as yet another rags to riches sport film….and it is. The underdogs teach the coach. They’re the Bad News Bears of Basketball. But what makes Champions worth watching is Woody and his team of talented troubadours. The kids who make up the squad had never acted before, but you wouldn’t know it. They were all naturally themselves and you could tell they were having fun. Madison Tevlin and Kevin Ianucci stole every scene they were in. Harrelson and love interest, Kaitlin Olson, picked at and rolled off of each other with ease as well.

Some critics are saying the film is patronizing and making a mockery of the disabled community, but that’s not the case. The cast brought out the best in each other and all are true champions.

I was lucky enough to see Champions with a theater full of intellectually challenged people and their families. Other than a few gasps at “taboo” words and sexy scenes (Champions is rated PG 13), the crowd laughed and cheered in all the right places. And so did I. My husband, Ricky, gives Champions two 👀’s open. I give it a 7 out of ten.

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T. J. Callahan

Texas Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster, T.J. Callahan switched gears from traffic and news reporting as a member of the Marconi Award winning Hudson and Harrigan Show on KILT in Houston to directing you to the right movie theatre as the resident film critic for Houston Radio Platinum and 101 Gold , Southern New Mexico's favorite radio station. Since 2009, T.J. has exclusively critiqued premiering films on such stations as KRMD in Shreveport, La., KILT in Houston, WCKT in Sarasota, Fla., as well as on The Chris X Blayney Show on The Liberty Eagle Radio Network and The Sam Malone Show on KNTH in Houston. Entertaining and informative, T.J. gets right to the point and lets you know whether the latest epic is worth your time. Listen to her Friday and Saturdays on and on Friday afternoons on the Leslie T. Travis Show on KVLC FM in Las Cruces. T.J. is also a proud member of the Critics Choice Association and the Houston Film Critics Society. She truly believes everything in life is one degree of Blazing Saddles.