Despite being one of the best actors of his generation, Sam Rockwell can't catch a break. The latest indignity to befall his career is "The Winning Season," in which he plays a basketball coach turned dishwasher who's given a second chance to mold a team.
In addition to Rockwell, the cast features a few on-the-rise names: Rob Corddry ("Hot Tub Time Machine") as the high school principal who hires Rockwell, and Emma Roberts ("It's Kind of a Funny Story") and Rooney Mara ("The Social Network") as two of Rockwell's players.
The trailer for "The Winning Season" season has arrived in concert with the announcement that it's coming Sept. 3. The trailer is just kind of a bummer, ith nobody really bringing the goods and the story appearing to be a classic paint-by-numbers tale of a coach who learns a little something about life from his players.
What makes the whole affair even more puzzling is that the film was written and directed by James Strouse, the man behind both "Grace Is Gone" and "Lonesome Jim." What possessed him to go in this direction?
Shareeka Epps, who was so good opposite Ryan Gosling in "Half Nelson," is another of Rockwell's cagers. It's great she's working, but like everyone else in this film, she deserves better.
Seeing as "Winning" was shown at Sundance in 2009, our guess is that all parties involved saw they had a dud on their hands, but when Mara, Roberts and Corddry all neared stardom, someone said , "Hey -- let's throw it out there!"
Rockwell can next be seen in "Conviction," opposite Hillary Swank as a man wrongly convicted of murder whose sister dedicates her life to seeing justice be done,
All that said, we do like Rockwell's maxim in the film: "It's not whether you win or lose, it's who's afraid to play you next time."
Maybe we're wrong about this movie, we'd love to be.