Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.
In 2005, Peter Segal released The Longest Yard, a remake of the 1974 film of the same name Starring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, James Cromwell, Nelly, William Fichtner, David Patrick Kelly, Tracy Morgan, Cloris Leachman, Burt Reynolds, The Great Khali, Kevin Nash, Goldberg, and Steve Austin, the film grossed $190.3 million at the box office.
Former NFL quarterback, Paul “Wrecking” Crewe finds himself on the wrong side of the law and is sent to a state penitentiary, known for having a prison guard football team. However, the team has fallen on hard times and the warden wants Crewe to assemble a team of inmates to play a tune-up game for the guards.
The Longest Yard is actually not that bad of a movie, with a surprisingly well-done character arc for the ensemble as a whole. The cast may be made up of a bunch of violent and rowdy convicts, but it’s interesting in how they go from a barely functioning outfit uniting over their shared hate of the guards to a formidable team. Actually, gathering the team together, which takes up a good portion of the film, is quite fun to watch, especially when it subverts expectations of how hardened criminals are supposed to behave. There’s Torres who watches The View just because he enjoys one of the hosts and only joins the team because one of the guards cuts 15 minutes of television time from him and Joey Battaglio who has a sense of humor about everything surrounding his nickname and manhood. The funniest part of the most violent convicts is Turley, who has to be continually kept in maximum security solitary confinement yet enjoys playing ping pong. Nevertheless, he takes whatever subversion he employs and brings it back to the expected as he joins the team because it’s a chance to get back at a guard who constantly torments him. Further, when it comes to be game time, it initially looks like the convicts are going to screw everything up because all they want to do is single out and beat up on the guards they’re seeking revenge on. After Crewe slaps them around though, they gain some focus and manage to display just how good of a team they can be, they manage to gain the respect of some of the guards and the crowd who jeered them at the beginning of the game.
What really complements the plot is how Crewe grows and develops throughout the film. He starts off as an unpleasant, egotistical jerk who only thinks about himself. When he gets to prison, he finds himself hated by the guards and inmates because of the unproven allegations of point shaving. His attempts to gain credibility and respect via prison riot only go so far and really cements that he’s only looking out for himself, coupled with the fact he only agreed to get a team together just so he could get his sentence reduced. As time goes on, he he finds himself caring about the team and the friendship he has with Caretaker, making it so he starts training the team to win instead of just play. He does have a relapse when the warden threatens to pin Caretaker’s death on him and starts to throw the game, but after seeing the team getting brutalized, his change of heart is finalized. He even admits to shaving those points and what he was doing in the game they were playing. On the other hand, this time he says he doesn’t care about what the warden does to him or how much time he ends up spending in prison. He only wants to play a clean game and win against the guards. Crewe goes from a an unlikable person who only cares about himself and how he can get ahead to someone who cares about those around him.
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BET Comedy Awards
- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Theatrical Film (Chris Rock)
Teen Choice Awards
- Choice Rap Artist in a Movie (Nelly)
MTV Movie Awards
- Best Comedic Performance (Adam Sandler)
- Best Breakthrough Performance (Nelly)
People's Choice Awards
- Favorite On-Screen Match-U[
- Favorite Movie Comedy
- Favorite Song from a Movie ("Errtime")
- Worst Supporting Actor (Burt Reynolds)
Teen Choice Awards
- Choice Movie: Comedy
- Choice Movie Actor: Comedy (Adam Sandler)
- Choice Movie Hissy Fit
- Choice Movie Blush Scene
- Choice Movie Sleazebag (Brian Bosworth)
- Choice Movie Bad Guy (James Cromwell)
- Choice Movie Breakout Performance - Male (Bob Sapp)
- Choice Movie Rumble
- Choice Movie Chemistry
The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards
- Worst Screenplay for a Film Grossing More than $100 Million Using Hollywood Math
- Worst Remake