The Junction Boys

  • 2002
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama, Sports

Die-hard football fans are clearly the intended audience for this ESPN-sanctioned exercise in hagiography. As he prepares for a 1097 reunion, legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant (Tom Berenger) recalls the way he molded the "Junction Boys" into a winning team in the 1950s. The product of poverty and a disciplinarian father, Bryant acquired a reputation for...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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Die-hard football fans are clearly the intended audience for this ESPN-sanctioned exercise in hagiography. As he prepares for a 1097 reunion, legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant (Tom Berenger) recalls the way he molded the "Junction Boys" into a winning team in the 1950s. The product of poverty and a disciplinarian father, Bryant acquired a reputation for getting results and for not suffering fools gladly. He makes it clear to his staff that he has no intention of losing in his first year at Texas A&M, but after looking at footage of his players, Bryant is less than impressed by the recruiters' discoveries. Bryant's doubts notwithstanding, three childhood friends — Skeet Keeler (Fletcher Humphrys), Johnny Haynes (Bernard Curry) and Claude Gearheart (Ryan Kwanten) — look forward to a winning season under Bryant's tough tutelage. Unfortunately, Keeler dissipates his energy on dames; Haynes is distracted by a fiancee who doesn't share his ambitions and Gearhart has already quit the team twice to work on his family's ranch. Bryant refuses to accept any excuse for slipshod playing and ships his boys to a summer camp in Junction, Texas. Conditions are primitive; the soaring temperature breaks local records. Several rookies flee rather than face the fearsome Bryant, who keeps demanding more from his players even after a doctor warns Bryant not to push them too far. Keeler plays with injuries that merit hospitalization; Gearhart takes exception to Bryant's lack of compassion and Haynes succumbs to heat stroke and nearly dies. As the training intensifies, who will survive the boot camp and make Bryant's final cut for the team? It is hard to understand the filmmakers' admiration for Bryant, who apparently equated manliness with the ability and willingness to scrimmage under war-zone conditions. Perhaps if writer-director Mike Robe dwelled less on the Coach's abuse and showed more of the camaraderie of the Aggies teammates this film might appeal to an audience beyond sports-bar bullies

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  • Released: 2002
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Die-hard football fans are clearly the intended audience for this ESPN-sanctioned exercise in hagiography. As he prepares for a 1097 reunion, legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant (Tom Berenger) recalls the way he molded the "Junction Boys" into a winning tea… (more)

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