Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Mighty Macs (2011)

Here is an excerpt of an interesting review from Aquinas and More:
Now let's take a look at the actual content of the movie. First I'm going to ask you to set aside all the feel-good warm fuzzies about the story and focus on the actual message of the film. First, there is the uplifting "have trust in each other and have heart and you can do anything" theme. No problem here. Just about every underdog sports movie from Hoosiers to We are Marshall has this as a theme.
The problems lie in the other themes of the movie.

Back in 1940 Mortimer Adler wrote How to Read a Book. While it was specifically aimed at print, it can easily be adapted to film. Two of the rules are especially of interest when watching The Mighty Macs.
  • Mark the most important sentences in the book and discover the propositions they contain.
  • Locate or construct the basic arguments in the book by finding them in the connecting sentences.
Let's start with the opening scene which has Cathy Rush driving her red micro bus to the Macs campus to interview for the job as coach. She's listening to the news on the radio. The first story announced has to do with President Nixon and since he is never brought up again you can assume that it is used to set the time period of the film. The second story is about protests in Washington, D.C. for equal pay for women. This feminist goal is our opening introduction to the film and feminist themes run the length of the film so it is clear that, like the opening scene of Henry V, we are being provided with a lead in to the theme of the movie.
Once Cathy gets home and tells her husband that she got the job we find out that this was not something they had discussed and agreed upon but something that she had done in spite of whatever plans they had originally worked out for their marriage. She tells her husband that "I know you wanted to have a family but I really want to do this." (I don't have the movie in front of me so that is a paraphrase) He is justifiably upset but the whole scene is set up to make us sympathetic to her and her dreams over her husband's outdated notions of having a family. Come on! She has dreams to live!

Just in case you didn't get the womyn power message from that outdated frying pan over the head, the film tosses in a few more:
  • From the trailer - Cathy Rush is "A woman ahead of her times"
  • From one of the players - "She already has a husband, why would she want to work?"
  • From another player who quits during a practice because of the coach's methods "This is so unlady-like."
  • From her husband - "This (our marriage) isn't working out the way we planned." Her response - "Well you're just going to have to adjust."
  • From Cathy to her husband - "You'd rather I just sit at home all day while you travel the country?"
  • From her husband - "I travel to pay for this apartment and everything in it. What they pay you, that's not even legal (Remember the movie opening?) Most women, they would be grateful (for everything I do for you)." Her response - An incredulous "Grateful?!"
  • From the featurette about the film. The real Cathy Rush says approvingly "The girls at Immaculata bought into the idea that they could do anything." In opposition to the norm of getting married and having a family.
  • Sister Sunday, while drinking with coach Cathy in a bar, tells Cathy she needs to tell her husband that she loves him. Great idea, but it's her husband who makes the first move by abandoning his archaic notions of family and leaving her a basketball and rose as a gift. It isn't until he decides to support her dreams that everything with their marriage gets hunky-dory again. (Read entire review.)


Stephanie A. Mann said...

That was quite an interesting debate in the combox; sometimes sliding off into personal attacks, unfortunately. I've also read some debates about the artistic quality of some of these "Catholic" movies. I am even more concerned about the attention given to the movie "The Way" -- I don't think Catholics need to be so desperate to have entertainment that in some way seems to uphold the Catholic way of life that we'll either accept low quality or strained connections.

elena maria vidal said...

I agree, Stephanie. It is as if we are so desperate to find films that show the Church in a somewhat positive light that we will settle for anything.