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The Program

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Autor:  anton  05 November 2010
Tags:  Program
Words: 1249   |   Pages: 5
Views: 357

Jonathan Wolf


Sports Related Film Paper

With present day societal norms football is perceived to be a middle/lower class animalistic physical activity . Even in current day Hollywood, the movies being made on football support this view. This is why movies such as В‘Any Given Sunday', В‘Varsity Blues', and В‘The Program' can bring in such high revenue. The public needs to see the quarterback with an extremely gorgeous girlfriend, players going through their own trials and tribulations, and a happy ending championship game. If these common situations were not present in the plot line, the viewer would be left confused or dissatisfied (as in the feeling of disorder occurs when the featured team loses the championship game). While any of these movies can be broken down into how gender, social class, and race controls sports and physical activity, the 1993 film В‘The Program", does a fantastic job of boldly emphasizing these interests. This featured film was yet another football classic where every hit was a bone jarring collision, every injury ended some stars career, and every yard earned was the difference between life and death.

Could there be anything worse then when someone tells you the end of a good movie? Well before hand I sincerely apologize. The featured football team in В‘The Program', Eastern State University did in fact win their championship game at the end of the movie. What did you expect, them to lose? American ideologies and norms associate winners to being the hardest working people, while losers are not only considered to not work as hard but in fact lack the character to be successful. The major connection with this can be seen through the newly forming relationship between Darnell Jefferson (Omar Epps) and a smart student beauty named Autumn (Halle Berry). Although Autumn is black, she comes from an upper/middle class family that is wealthy and educated . Darnell, also black, fits more of the stereotypical definition, while being a talented freshman running back; he has little academic ability, which results in his failure to pass competency tests and leads to Autumn being his tutor. This is one example of how sports are connected to major spheres of social life, such as education. In the United States many sports programs at В‘higher education' institutions are attracting more attention by the community and prospective students/athletes than the academic programs do . This integral process being used by sports programs could be diminishing the academic quality of applicants but improving the athletic department. Through historic American ideologies, the invisible effects they have to structure your everyday actions, and what we now call В‘formula football movies' the love interest Autumn is paired and going steady with Darnell's top competitor for the halfback position, oh and by the way, did I mention he was pre-med? The only reason why Autumn and her current boyfriend are placed together is through their equality in social class and the overall acceptance of one another through their similar wealth, education, and race. Although Darnell and Autumn would be more compatible for each other based on personality (better human characteristic to base a relationship on), he will never be good enough to be accepted into Autumn's family. This notion is reinforced during a part in the movie when Darnell meets Autumn's father after one of the football games. The part of the movie took place when you could clearly see that Autumn had strong feelings for Darnell but the scene quickly faded in romance when the current boyfriend came over, and finally ended with the father making an arrogant remark on how a true man should not need a tutor. Although the relationship seemed to have no future, by the end of the film Autumn and Darnell lived happily ever after because that is supposed to be what happens, right?

If there were to be a movie where no players had misfortune, pain, or suffering no one would buy the ticket to see it. Another major part of this film is the character personas. The quarterback and captain of the team Joe Kane (Craig Sheffer) is not only a Heisman Trophy contender, but also a self-damaging alcoholic (father played QB for ESU with the same substance problem). Through even having a В‘captain' position the team forms a hierarchy, which places continual pressure on Joe to maintain a dominant role over his team. He believes this is what they expect of him and that he must be fearless in order to maintain respect and power . Elsewhere we have Alvin Mack (Duane Davis) who is a lineman bound for the pros and is known for psyching out opponents by making up sexual encounters with their close relatives. Being able to talk trash well is a valuable attribute to a football player, especially if they can back it up with physical size and skill. The tactic Alvin is using is intended to create fear and anxiety in his opponent but What is intended and what is perceived are two completely different perspectives. Alvin's character feels the need to establish dominance over his opponent and falls into the male stereotype of needing to be В‘in control' and dominant, while also dipping into the race ideology of blacks being hypersexual. Still no matter how tough and dominating Alvin was, he was the lucky winner of a career ending injury. Lastly there was Lattimer (Andrew Bryniarski), who was an average size guy that played on the punt return team for three years. After off-season he showed up at camp with 35 pounds of new muscle and a completely different personality, a side effect of major steroid use. Lattimer serves as the typical person to receive the award for В‘most improved' character. His troubles consisted of steroid abuse, breaking all kinds of property, and attempting to rape a girl. Lattimer's attempt to bulk up was sparked when he realized he was much smaller than the other players. This was a blow to his masculinity and strength and by increasing his weight it would make him stronger thus being more masculine. Each character overcame most of their flaws through a mid-movie revelation and with minimal help from other people lived happily ever after .

Through social class connotations associated with football, you expect middle/lower class participants that can easily resemble the ideologies of masculinity and in this case race. In В‘The Program' being masculine was something to prove. The В‘true' men proved it on the field, with how hard they could hit, how fast they could run, and how fearless that could seem. That same field served as a contested terrain, where the more inferior player and team would lose. In this movie and sports in general everyone has a norm they fit into, whether it is to maintain the characteristics of your masculinity, dominance and respect as a captain, or superiority through class, race, or gender, America's historic beliefs have formed an outline so the outcome of situations can be expected, as seen through our typical В‘formula football movie'. Roger Ebert, a film critic, wrote a review about this film and at the of his critique he stated, "By the film's end, I still found myself hoping that ESU would win its big game. I guess that's how I was supposed to feel." This movie serves as a good example and analysis through the way societies beliefs shape our decisions and how there is a vast different between the way something is intended and how it is ultimately perceived.

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