Making the Grades
Adam Sandler is suited up and back on the gridiron. But instead of playing an obsessive Waterboy, he's tackling the role of a disgraced NFL quarterback. Accused of shaving points off of a game, Paul Crewe has been banned from the sport he loves for the last six years and has spent that time watching his life spiral out of control.
After stealing his girlfriend's (Courteney Cox) car and driving drunk, he is slapped with numerous charges that land him in the custody of Warden Hazen (James Cromwell) at a Texas penitentiary. The prison official is a zealous football fan/owner who has called in some favors to get the newly incarcerated criminal assigned to his institution. Eager to win the upcoming football championship, the warden wants some tips from the prior MVP. He also offers Paul the opportunity to organize a team of inmates to play a pre-season game against his semi-pro squad of Allenville prison guards.
However, the former signal-caller is about as popular with the other convicts as he is with the general public, and pulling together a team proves to be almost impossible. Luckily, Paul gets some help from the most non-athletic prisoner in the poky.
Caretaker (Chris Rock) is a scrounger extraordinaire who ably rounds up just about anything a jailbird might want. Using his skills, Caretaker cons the cons into joining the team by promising them a chance to take out their frustrations on the sadistic guards who regularly dish out brutal and often bloody beatings to the men behind bars.
Given a chance for vengeance, this game becomes more about settling the score than getting on the scoreboard.
Like the 1975 original, this film boasts a host of big names from the sports, music and acting world. Even Burt Reynolds (the original Paul Crewe) is back; this time as the team's coach Nate Scarborough.
Unfortunately for football fans, the remake is also packed with non-stop profanities (including one use of an extreme sexual expletive). Abusive correctional practices, ample amounts of sexual dialogue and suggestions of sodomy with the team's transvestite cheerleaders, earn the script a hefty penalty, as does Crewe's irresponsible act of driving under the influence with open beer cans in the car.
The film does its best to rally support for the sorry-looking team of inmates, some of whom prance around in the dressing room wearing only their jockstraps. But while the convicts develop a camaraderie and sense of self-esteem on the field, it's a big stretch to believe this motley line of underdogs could even complete a pass against their well-trained opponents. Forget the football pools and Internet sites; Sandler and his teammates give a whole new meaning to fantasy football.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Longest Yard.
How did Paul’s one decision to betray his team by throwing the game, affect the rest of his life? What are the fans’ and the inmates’ reaction to him? What kind of choices can have life-altering effects on a person?
How does Paul regain the respect of the other prisoners? How does that change the attitude of the inmates toward joining the team?
Rob Schneider makes a cameo appearance to offer the same one-liner he gives in The Waterboy and Little Nicky. Can you think of other movie actors, directors or producers who have built a reputation for similar running themes in their work?