What's On in the Washington Sentinels (Movie Review)

June 14, 2023

Posted by Traffic Dave on November 13, 2018 in What's On.

A ragtag bunch of misfits get their shot at the big time in this crowd-pleasing underdog sports movie from director Howard Deutch (Pretty in Pink) and writer Vince McKewin. The plot is loosely based on the 1987 NFL strike that forced teams to use replacement players, with this particular crew of amateurs and semi-pros being assembled by esoteric former coach McGinty (Gene Hackman). The resulting Washington Sentinels quickly fall apart as they fight and bicker among themselves, but they eventually start to gel and form a real team.

One of the replacements is Shane Falco, a former All-American quarterback from Ohio State who got his career ruined after an ugly Sugar Bowl loss. He initially refuses to play for the Sentinels, but McGinty convinces him that he can still be a good quarterback. During their first game, the Sentinels are beset by infighting and poor play that leads to an early deficit. But during the final play, Falco audibles to avoid a blitz and almost scores a touchdown, only to be blocked by the Detroit defense.

To add to their woes, the Sentinels are harassed by striking players at a local bar, with the replacements being branded as “scabs” and taunted by the prima donna Sentinels quarterback Eddie Martel (Brett Cullen). The brawl leads to the replacements getting arrested, but they build a bond while in jail and even dance together before being released. Brooke Langton plays the head cheerleader, Annabelle Farrell, a woman who reveals to Shane that her late father was a huge football fan and would have loved to see him play.


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