Get an Early Gridiron Cry at the Newest Inspirational Football Film

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Get an Early Gridiron Cry at the Newest Inspirational Football Film

What's your favorite football film? "We Are Marshall" has the home field advantage, as in spins the tragic plane crash disaster into an inspiration chant from the stands winner.

Others are "Remember the Titans," "Brian's Song, "Winning Team," "North Dallas Forty," "Gridiron Game,"  "The Longest Yard" and a John Wayne flashback favorite, "Trouble Along the Way." 

Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Luke  Wilson and Wayne Wright star in this Depression Era true story from Fort Worth Texas. Directed by Ty Roberts,  the Mighty Mites, the football team of a Fort Worth orphanage inspires as a start up rags to riches high school  with no shoes or a football to contending  for the Texas state championships.

The architect of their success was Rusty Russell, (Luke Wilson),  a legendary high school coach  shocks his colleagues by giving up his privileged position to teach and coach at the orphanage. Few knew Rusty's secret: that he himself was an orphan.

Get an Early Gridiron Cry at the Newest Inspirational Football Film

Recognizing that his scrawny players couldn't beat the other teams with brawn, Rusty developed innovative strategies that would come to define modern football. Over the course of their winning season, these ultimate underdogs became an inspiration to their city, state, and entire nation including then President Franklin Roosevelt. 

Coach Russell , an aging World War I hero with diming eye sight and PTSD, has no respect when he seizes the task of molding a team at a school known as a dumping ground for poor kids abandoned by their parents. He teaches them a spread offense which will bring fame for the players but an offer to coach at Southern Methodist University.

A San Francisco Chronicle critic wrote, " The results may be sports-movie predictable in many ways, but the Mighty Mites’ impossible story is one deserving of resurrection from the dusty archives of Texas history." Amazon calls it the best sports film since "Seabiscuit."

Jim Dent, author of the book, states:

Get an Early Gridiron Cry at the Newest Inspirational Football Film

"This is a winning tribute to a courageous band of underdogs from a time when America desperately needed fresh hope and big dreams.  The Mighty Mites remain a notable moment in the long history of American sports. Just as significant is the depth of the inspirational message. This is a profound lesson in fighting back and clinging to faith. The real winners in Texas high school football were not the kids from the biggest schools, or the ones wearing the most expensive uniforms. They were the scrawny kids from a tiny orphanage who wore scarred helmets and faded jerseys that did not match, kids coached by a devoted man who lived on peanuts and drove them around in a smoke-belching old truck."

The film is playing at select cinemas including Marquee Pullman Square. 

The delineation between good and evil maybe a bit too black-and-white throughout, but none of those aspects remove the potency of the lessons learned along the way