Undefeated Blu-ray Review
I can remember leaving the theatre after seeing THE BLIND SIDE and wondering how much of the “inspired by a true story” was really true. Which is the way I leave every film “inspired by a true story” because I know, no matter how compelling a story is, some facts, both major and minor, are usually tweaked to make the story entertaining. Which brings us to UNDEFEATED.
Bill Courtney has a wife, kids and a business that keeps him busy. He’s also spent the past seven years as the volunteer head coach of the Manassas Tigers, a high school team in Memphis. The team has never been very good…in fact they make most of their budget money by traveling to other schools and getting their butts kicked on the field. As the film begins Coach lists all of the problems the team is facing this year. He’s got two players that have been shot and are no longer in school. Another has been arrested. “For most coaches,” Coach Courtney tells his players, “that would be a career’s worth of crap to deal with. I think that sums up the last two weeks for me.” An understatement if there ever was one. Not sure what he was hoping for but things look tough for Coach Courtney, the Tigers and the 2009 high school football season.
Gritty and in your face, UNDEFEATED is the story of how love and inspiration can help defeat the biggest demons you may face. Front and center is a senior player named O.C. O.C. has the tools to make it to Division I college football but not the grades. One of the assistant coaches (again, like the entire staff, a volunteer) allows O.C. to live with him, thereby making sure that he receives the tutoring he needs to pass his SAT’s. A young man just back from a juvenile detention facility feels he must reassert himself as the campus bad-ass, to the chagrin of his teammates. Another player with talent seems doomed to spend his life wondering “what if” after an injury takes away any chance of him going to college on a football scholarship. Again, love and inspiration take over. In what is, to me, the most emotional scene in a film full of emotional scenes, the player drops to the ground weeping when he’s told by another coach that a friend of his has offered to pay the players tuition to any school he wants to attend. As these stories unfold the team learns to be just that…a team! “Football doesn’t build character,” Coach Courtney tells the camera. “It reveals it.” This is true not only with the players but with the coaches as well.
Winner of the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, UNDEFEATED is a film that will make you laugh. Make you cry. And, most of all make you cheer. A true story that needs nothing added to make it entertaining, UNDEFEATED is not just “based on a true story”…it is one.
Video: Not a lot of money spent in the transfer. The film itself was shot on hand held video cameras and the HD transfer, though sharp, is not always clean. Not a shoddy job, just limited from the material provided.
Audio: Though presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, the audio transfer is along the lines of the video. The main attraction of this film is the story and the conversations and speeches are loud and clear. Surrounding sounds, be it those associated with a football game or background classroom chatter are not as prominent.
Audio Commentary: An outstanding commentary is provided by the film’s directors, Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin. Everything you’d want to know about making a documentary feature is discussed and highlighted.
Deleted Scenes (13:47): Six scenes not used in the film including those of a player named Joaquin who originally was part of the focus of the film.
Black and White Teaser Trailer (1:42)
Making Of (8:31): A short featurette that follows the film from conception to Oscar night.