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THE EXPRESS, 2008
Movie Reviews!

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THE EXPRESS
Movie Review
Directed by Gary Fleder
Starring Rob Brown, Dennis Quaid
Review by Eli Manning



SYNOPSIS:

A drama based on the life of college football hero Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.

REVIEW:

There are many flaws in The Express so I decided in this review to get right to it.

#1 - This is a classically put together autobiographical feature film and used too many cliches to tell its story.

a) There is an childhood inciting event in the beginning of the film that defines the main character.

b) He is mentored by a father figure to become a man and ready himself to make the big choice of his life.

c) From there our hero meets another mentor who takes him to another level of excellence.

d) Our hero then has a conflict as he must leave his past influences behind in order for him to move ahead to the betterment of himself and the world.

e) From there, many conflicts ensue but our hero prevails and succeeds at the end. After all, that is why there is a movie make about him.

These plot points have been used so many times, I'm sure I'm not the only one who is tired of it.

#2 - The style of The Express is a little muddled. They attempted an old style documentary look mixed in with classic narrative filmmaking. Something Oliver Stone brought to the world and mastered it in his Nixon and JFK films. Whereas those films were a cynical look at historical events, The Express is suppose to be a motivational look at past history. Therefore these attempts are distracting to the story.

#3 - The Express is just a wrong title to give this film. It's such a common word that it means nothing in the context of a football player battling equality because of the color of his skin. They really should of just called it The Ernie Davis

Story. It get the word 'express' being the beginning of 'expression' which Ernie Davis does on the football field. But perhaps the title of The Express is a little too smart for its own good.

#4 - There is an attempt to have two main characters in The Express, whereas it should of been Ernie Davis' story all the way. Head Coach Ben Schwartzwalder (Dennis Quaid) is an interesting character and very well played by the actor and they attempted to develop a lead character story arc with him. Then halfway through the film it seemed that they changed their mind and just went back to Ernie.

__________

Now that's out of the way, I can now say that I really enjoyed this film. It was entertaining and an important story for our current world. Like most great sports movies, The Express is really not about the sport that's being played but about what the activity the sport represents for the world and overall theme of the story.

The Express is a movie the about equality of all men and woman without really saying it is. They just tell a true story about an African American male living in the United States who has athletic gifts. With those gifts he is able to 'express' himself and his desires to make his country see that racism is a pretty ignorant and stupid thing.

There have been many awful football movies in the past few years, but The Express isn't one of them. The scenes are the field are terrifically filmed. They show us that football is not an easy game and it's a really rough sport. It parallels with the overall thematic of the movie as many times in order to succeed and influence the world, you must go through a lot of crap.

Ernie Davis spoke his mind on the field without saying a word. A great lesson in life as most times it's what you DO, not what you SAY that's more powerful. And that's what a great role model is.

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Ernie Davis was a poet in many ways. The man he replaced at running back at Syracuse University was the great Jim Brown, perhaps the greatest football player in history. Everything Brown did (and does) in life is fierce and strong as he always tells his point by barging his fist on the table and making sure his presence was known. Ernie Davis had the same intent but did things in a more subtle way. Like he was on the football field, Davis was slippery and sneaky and he intents snuck up on you.

Just like the movie The Express. With all it's faults this is a movie that sneaks up on you. I myself got weepy eyed and emotional during this film because Ernie Davis just did what he thought was right and always tried to perform his best. For two hours he was my role model.

Plus, I am assuming that most people don't know how this story ends. So it's a true story with a twist and shocking ending.

3 stars out of 4!center>

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