TLDR: A wonderful little story of friendship, redemption, and personal growth!

My best friend and I saw Champions together on a Wednesday night in an empty theater. I mention this only because with only a small number of people watching any film at a moviehouse, the experience is buffered rather than amplified as it would be with a full audience in attendance. As human beings, we feed off of one another’s vibes and emotions. And so, let’s face it, the energy is just different. Different nights, different audiences, and different experiences, for any and every film we ever see. So given all of that here is my review:

Firstly, the best thing about this movie was definitely the casting (followed by the story). Each and every one of the “Homie[s] with extra chromie[s]”, as Iannucci’s character Johnny introduces himself as, played their parts to perfection while allowing themselves to be open and vulnerable to the cameras gifting this film with a gem of a cast!

I am fairly certain that the producers and director Bobby Farrelly went into making this American version of the Spanish film Campeones knowing full well that its success or failure would ride on the backs of the actors, their chemistry with one another, and how their characters are portrayed. It seems to me that this little sweetheart of a film about friendship, growth, and redemption would never have made it off the ground without the right talent at its center.

I am equally sure that it was no easy task finding the right talents, with their charming and distinctive uniquenesses, abilities, and quirks to pull from and enrich the film and then mashing those wonderful souls to hit the right note of chemistry between the Friends for the story to ring of believability that these were truly bonded friends with a shared dream of going to the Special Olympics. Casting had to be everything as it would have to have been an all-or-nothing gamble. I imagine the process was not unlike the creation of Ryan Murphy’s Glee cast, finding the personalities and then writing to them… Boom, magic in a bottle!

In the empty theater after a warm day, I did catch myself yawning a time or two, feeling a little sleepy as the story did seem to drag just a little bit in the middle. However, that being said, I don’t think any scenes should have been cut out though either! So I cannot say whether that was a biological me-thing or the film.

Overall, I caught myself smiling quite a bit and a smattering of laughter escaping our lips from time to time. When the story was over I felt I’d watched a sweet, even charming, heartwarming film that had uplifted my feelings about being a person and reminded me of our capacity to change for the better!

As a parent of a special Olympian myself, I really appreciated many things about this movie. Thank you Woody Harrelson for doing such a great job and being the executive producer of this heartwarming and realistic movie. Not only at my parent of a special Olympian. I also am a job coach for adults with developmental disabilities. Watching this movie was like watching my life. I felt it had an educational aspect with regard to intellectual disabilities.

janetfjeldstad (IMDB)

Shout out to Actors:

KEVIN IANNUCCI for stealing our hearts, and making us feel and care about the characters’ experiences and journeys.

MADISON TEVLIN not only excelled as the unspoken team captain but was absolutely delightful to watch!

And, scene-stealing KAITLIN OLSEN who immediately grabbed our attention in the opening scenes and kept our interest in her character’s personal journey of growth. Kudos to each of you!

As someone who coaches individuals with disabilities football I appreciated the movies messages about how independent these individuals really are, the hardships that they face and the courage that they possess.

aodhanmulholland14 (IMDB)

This is not Hoosiers, and it is not White Men Can’t Jump, but if you’re still not convinced just ask yourself this:

Do you love movies about:



Team Spirit?


Do you like movies that warm your heart or leave you feeling uplifted about the human race and our capacity for growth, and caring for others beyond ourselves?

If you said yes to any of the above then put Champions on your To-See list!

So, any thoughts?

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