longshotsbluHaving seen the trailers for ‘The Longshots’ over the summer before the films theatrical release I was a bit skeptical. I have seen my fair share of good films and duds over the past year. At first glance this film comes off as yet another pick me up story. I found this story to be much more than just your typical inspirational story. The film brought in $11.5 million dollars domestically at the box office. That is not bad considering that this film did not have that big of a budget.

The biggest surprise for me came at the end of the film when the director’s name came on during the credits. We learn that the director is Fred Durst, the lead singer of the band Limp Bizkit. I was rather surprised that he would direct a rather fun film, yet this being his second film that he has directed. It was a rather wise choice to wait till the end to show his name in the credits. Fred Durst is not Mr. Popular due to his days with Limp Bizkit.

Jasmine (Keke Palmer) lives with her mother Claire Plummer (Tasha Smith) in the small town Minden. Jasmine has had issues at the school with the other kids as they treat her like the outcast. Some of the children even go as far as playing tricks on her by acting to be friendly, only to turn around being hurtful. She is having a very hard time trying to fit in with the other kids in the school. One day her mother tells Jasmine that she needs to start partaking in more after school activities due to her work schedule. Jasmine attempts yet again to make friends at the school, but things go sour.

Claire has a talk with her brother-in-law Curtis (Ice Cube) to help out by spending time with Jasmine. At first her Uncle Curtis is very apprehensive taking care of her. They have a relationship which is very touch and go as Jasmine is more interested in girl like activities, while Uncle Curtis is overly bored by all this. After hurting her feelings, Uncle Curtis decides to make things up to her. One day he notices what an excellent throwing arm that Jasmine has.

Curtis begins throwing the football around with Jasmine in the front yard. Curtis gets Jasmine signed up at a local Pop Warner football team. Things again don’t go right for Jasmine as the team and coaches are against bringing her on the team. With a lukewarm response, Curtis comes up with a plan during one of the scrimmages. He takes Jasmine to the side as they toss the football around until the coach’s notice that she has a very good throwing arm. She is benched at first as Curtis begins to push for her to get a chance as the QB. She starts to rack up wins which brings attention to the team and the town.

‘The Longshots’ is a fun little family film that plays out the Cinderella story very well. Jasmine goes from zero to hero in this local town. This is a very inspirational film that will pull you in from start to finish. It works so well because it is not one of those inspirational films where it turns out our hero is showing up those that wronged her. This is a very feel good film as we watch Jasmine go from the school’s loser to the town hero. What is also rather interesting is that ‘The Longshots’ is based on a true story.

The acting all around is very good in this film. Both Keke Palmer and Ice Cube have great chemistry with each other. This is the second film that they have worked on together, with ‘The Barbershop 2’ being their first. Both Palmer and Cube due a good job in displaying their emotions throughout the film.
Movie Content: 4/5

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Print/Audio Quality
The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The film is very colorful throughout. Colors are vibrant carrying a more natural color palette. Blacks are also very strong and deep. With strong colors and deep blacks, it brings out the fine details. Details are very good. Fleshtones also look very natural. The print is as clean as a whistle with a very pristine look. There is some noise in the background, but nothing distracting. Weinstein continues to use that yellowish tint throughout the film like they have in their past releases. Except the tint this time is nowhere overpowering on the print. This is yet another great transfer from Weinstein.
Video Quality: 4/5

Audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix which is mainly a dialogue driven film. Dialogue through the center channel is very clean and crisp. The music on this soundtrack is what mainly pushed the audio in the soundfield. The rears would mainly get some action when music would play or the use of any effects.
Audio Quality: 4/5

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Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes [SD] (19:24) – thirteen deleted scenes total.
  • Making The Longshots [SD] (8:06) – making of featurette with Keke Palmer, Ice Cube, Tasha Smith and rest of the cast.
  • A Conversation With Ice Cube [SD] (5:30) – Ice Cube discussing how he ended up joining the cast and how the film is based on a true story. The reasons why they selected a town that was once industry heavy.
  • A Conversation With Director Fred Durst [SD] (7:27) – Fred discusses that the true story on Jasmine Plummer was very inspirational to him. He came from a similar background being adopted having to grow up through rough times. We learn why Durst chose Cube to play the role of Uncle Curtis.
  • Jasmine Plummer: The Real Longshot [SD] (6:45) – The cast talking about the real Jasmine Plummer. Interviews from Jasmine and her Uncle Fred Johnson.
  • Theatrical Trailer [HD]

The special features are presented in standard definition with only the Theatrical Trailer in high definition. There is an abundant amount of special features for ‘The Longshots’ with a lot of information on the background of the film and what it took to get this film made. Just by viewing these ‘Making of’ and ‘Conversation’ pieces showed the enthusiasm and joy that the cast had in making this film.
Special Features: 3.5/5

Final Thoughts:
‘The Longshots’ is a great inspirational film geared more towards the younger crowd. I would recommend this as a film that the whole family can enjoy. The performances from Cube and Palmer are great coupled with a very good presentation on Blu-ray. While there is a plethora of special features which is high in my book, the score is brought down a tad due to all the extras being in standard definition.
Overall Rating: 3.5 (Rental)