UNDEFEATED

 

UNDEFEATED

 

By Gary Murray

 

Starring Bill Courtney, O.C. Brown and Montrail ‘Money’ Brown

 

Directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin

 

Running time 113 min

 

MPAA Rating PG-13

 

Selig Film Rating Full Price

 

Football is, in many ways, a metaphor for life.  The gridiron battle mimics life as a struggle to achieve a goal.  It takes a great amount of concentration and discipline to be successful on the gridiron.  Coaches will tell you that football builds character.  In the documentary Undefeated, we see how football can change lives.

 

The story of Undefeated is of Bill Courtney, the head coach of the Manassas Tigers football program.  He is a volunteer, working with the kids for the love of the game.  He owns a lumber company and coaches the kids because he believes that football can change lives.  Even though he has four kids of his own, the coach treats the young men on his squad as his own family, looking out for each player.

 

The school is an inner city district, full of poor black people.  Basically the team is a joke, a whipping post school that the other schools use as an easy win.  Coach Courtney believes in his team and knows that they can make a run for the playoffs.  The school is very old but has never won a playoff game in its entire history.  He has been grooming the kids and believes that the team he is fielding in his sixth year as coach will be the one to go into the post season.

 

The young men who are on his team almost all are from one parent families or are being raised by their grandparents.  The area they live in is of abject poverty, small houses with broken down walls.  This depressed area is blight filled and these kids have little hope of breaking out of their circumstances.  Most will never leave the neighborhood.

 

One of the marquee players for the Manassas Tigers is O.C. Brown.  The kid is a massive lineman with the speed of a linebacker.  Just about every college in the nation is interested in the young man playing for their teams.  The problem is that the kid’s grades and placement scores are not good enough to get into college.  In a story reminiscent of The Blind Side, a wealthy white family takes O.C. Brown into their home to help with his tutoring.  The goal is to get the kid ready for higher academics.

 

Another featured player is Montrail ‘Money’ Brown.  He is a smaller kid with a big heart, the kind of player dedicated to the program.  All he wants to do is play football.  Very early in the season, he tears his ACL and has to go into re-hab.  All the young man wants to do is get on the field one more time before the season ends.  He struggles to accept that he may never play football again.

 

The story of Undefeated is of the season where the team comes together as one.  We are witness to the first lost by the team in the first game.  Coach Courtney pushes his guys, letting them know that they didn’t let him down and that they fought all the way until the end.  Then, the next week, the team comes back and wins the game.  Coach keeps pushing on these young men is that the most important aspect of being a Manassas Tiger is that they are a team and that they must work together.  By showing these young men how to function together as a unit, he is forcing them to put aside their differences and become a part of something greater than themselves. 

 

Undefeated recently won the Academy Award for Best Documentary and very much deserved the award.  It is honest and never pulls any punches.  Directors Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin show every aspect of both the kid’s lives and Coach Bill Courtney.  They show not only the training and the games, but of some of the more personal aspects of team building.  Undefeated is not just a film about football but it is a film about overcoming every obstacle to become winners.  It is also a unique cinema experience that should not be missed.

 

 

 

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