Review of "The Longest Yard" From The TV MegaSite
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DVD TV Show Reviews

The Longest Yard (Lockdown Edition)


The Longest Yard (DVD)

Review by Suzanne 7/6/05

This is a fun old movie from the 70's.  Burt Reynolds plays awashed-up football player Paul Crewe,  who gets in trouble with the law and ends up in a Florida jail.  The warden has a semi-pro team (the prison guards) that he wants to get in shape, so he forces Crewe to get the prisoners in shape for a game against the guards.  He figures that the prisoners, who are not used to playing together as a team, will easily lose.  This will re-assert his dominance in the prison and make him feel like a big man, and also help his team get confidence.

The warden doesn't count on the prisoners' will and the savvy of Crewe and his new coaching staff.  They make this game important to the prisoners by pointing out that they can beat up the guards as they play against them.  The game becomes even more important, a symbol of momentary freedom and manhood.  Yes, like most Burt Reynolds movies, it's all about being macho.  But it's a pretty good flick nonetheless.  The late Eddie Albert plays against type as the sadistic warden.  There are many appearances by real-life pro football players of the day.  Burt Reynolds was himself a football player in college, so he moves like one in the movie.

Paul Crewe is not a likable character on paper.  He lands in jail because he beats up his wife, dumps her car in the river, then picks a fight with some cops.  He is no longer pro because he shaved points off a game (for those of us who are not into football, that means he played the game so that the score would have a certain number of points, to make the bookies happy and win him some money-rather than just playing to win like an honest player).  Burt Reynolds, however, is very charming, so he somehow makes the character work, even though he's a dishonest wife-beater.  I like that the film's ending leaves it open as to what the future holds for Crewe and the rest of the prisoners.  Movies today seldom do that.  It seems like they think audiences have to have a definite conclusion with everything all neatly tied up.

They recently made a sequel to the movie starring Adam Sandler, but the reviews I read said it was not very good because they toned down the grittiness of the movie and made it teen-friendly.  Why do they bother remaking movies if they aren't going to do it right?  Well, if nothing else, I guess they came out with this DVD set to help promote the movie, so that's a good thing.

The extras on the DVD are great, lots of behind-the-scenes clips, interviews, etc.  This is a very satisfying DVD for anyone who loves or even likes this movie. 

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Updated 7/7/05  


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