Big hearts reap big rewards.
Breaking The Press (DVD)
Stars: Drew Waters, Chad Halbrook, Tom Maden, Farah White, Richard Dillard, Burton Gilliam and Juli Erickson
Director: Andrew Stevens
Scriptwriters: William Langlois and Andrew Stevens
Composers: David Wurst and Eric Wurst
Mustard Seed Entertainment/20th Century Fox
Running Length: 95 minutes
This inspirational movie is another take on the Biblical story of the prodigal son, but set in modern times and using basketball as the background. We see how two brothers, who are close until high school, can drift apart even though they are in a faith-filled home. The script lands on several topics including adoption, basketball, lure of Big Time sports, dating, school, game pressure and girls in convertibles.
We begin with a cub reporter going to interview a retired famous coach, Tex Sumner, played by Burton Gilliam. During their talk, he tells the story of Joe and his two sons, and then we flashback about 20 years to two little brothers, a year apart, who are abandoned and available for adoption. Joe (Drew Waters) and his wife (Farah White) have been married for five years with no children. Before you can say, “paint the spare room,” they adopt the two boys, Matt the older (played in high school by Chad Halbrook) and Josh the younger (played in high school by Tom Maden.) Joe is a fanatic about basketball and the boys turn into top players but with different styles. Matt is laid back and quiet while Josh is the star with a capital “S.” Even though their team, the Woodrow Wilson High School Patriots, has top players, they just don't win games and the town is grumbling, demanding that Joe resign. As their last hope, the school board hires a retired assistant coach, Sumner, who was tops in his time. About this time, the teasing from classmates about the boys being adopted (and possibly having separate fathers) becomes too much for rebellious, Josh, who transfers to a larger school, Lakeview, and lives with Aunt Julie (Juli Erickson.) Matt flourishes on his own (see how the prodigal son story is being played out?) while Josh is going downhill with girls, parties and not showing up for practice. Soon, he is off the team and sleeping in stairwells. You know there will be a confrontation, but what happens after that is a surprise.
What I noticed first of all is that Chad Halbrook and Tom Maden look too mature for their roles of high school students. Plus, the film is set in Texas, notorious for being sports-minded, yet state championship games are held in what looks like a high school gym and not an arena. Farah White, as the mother, isn't given much to do. Sometimes the actors are acting and other times, it looks as though they are reciting their lines---reference Josh and the Lakeview coach or anytime the boys are with their friends. It doesn't feel natural.
On the plus side, the film shows that faith will win out, but it takes patience and perseverance. People who have big hearts reap big rewards, both physically and emotionally. Basketball footage of the floor is well done and the idea of looking for the open man on the court requires precision as shown here. The theme of the prodigal son could be told in any situation from boxing to farming to business to music. Here, in “Breaking The Press” is it about basketball and the idea of two adopted brothers is unique. The soundtrack by Eric Wurst and David Wurst is right on target, also, as background.
This film is a step more than an inspirational film, it is a religious one, with Biblical quotes and Bible reading. In fact, the DVD has a study guide so the film can be used as a steppingstone for discussion, whether you have a sports-minded family, or not.
Copyright 2011 Marie Asner