The Best of Times Movie Review


The Best of Times Movie Review
Kurt Russell poses for Robin Williams in, The Best of Times

From Joe's Shelf

The Best of Times

A man who's regretful about dropping the ball at the big game during his high school years, manipulates his town into having a rematch with their long time rivals. Now this is a movie review that's more for myself than everybody else. I say that because this is not a great film by any means, yet it still pulls at my nostalgic heart strings. The story is fine and I like most of the characters, but there is something missing from this movie.

If I could put my finger on it, I would say that there is plenty more to these characters and to the importance of the subject matter, that we never fully see. Having said that, I still enjoy the hell out of it. From its introductory speech that builds up the town of Taft's (CA) history, to the end where the film ends almost as quickly as the game does, The Best of Times comforts and entertains me like many other 80's films do.

I think its also because of the simplicity of the time and place of which its set. Sure people were worried about Russia dropping nukes all over us, but we were more concerned about living the American dream and watching Monday Night Football. Family time was more important and the over-competitiveness of our business world wasn't as overwhelming as it is today. Movies like this make me want to stop and smell the roses.

In all of my opinionated rantings, I may have forgotten to say that this film is a comedy more than anything. The music is playful and there's always someone talking trash. Robin Williams (Jumanji) as the butt of the entire town's jokes, plays his part refreshingly straight as a nerdy banker. He's so caught up with dropping the damn ball, that he's missing the life that's going on around him. His "best friend" and former quarterback Kurt Russell (Escape from New York), has problems of his own, however he plays it cool unlike his neurotic wide receiver.

They both have wives and kids, but something keeps holding them back from enjoying what they have. It's that damn game! It put a dark cloud over the town and especially them. Williams' only leg up on Russell is that he seems to be the only one who's aware of it. When it comes to the reassembling of the team and their training montages, there's nothing really special involved. It's shown as more of a necessity than an actual treat.

But what is a treat, is the performance of Williams' boss and father-in-law, played by Donald Moffat (The Thing 1982). He is relentless at letting Williams know about how much of a failure he is on the field, and off. What makes it even worse, is that Moffat is also the coach of Taft's rivals from Bakersfield. I believe that his type of humorous asshole inspired Jerry Reed's similar turn in The Waterboy (1998). It's my review and I'm sticking to it.

Highs- The tiger mascot sabotage, Moffat's ribbings, the Caribou call, the make-up double date disaster, and the big game.

Lows- The overdubbing of the films F-words is obvious, and does any of this truly matter in the grand scheme of things.

The Best of Times is best suited for those who grew up in that period. For everyone else, it's a hit or a miss. See what I did there?!
Rating- 6.5 out of 10

The Best of Times (1986)
PG-13 | 1h 44min | Comedy, Drama, Sport | 31 January 1986 (USA)
A small-town loser determines to have one more shot at the big time by winning a football game.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Writer: Ron Shelton
Stars: Robin Williams, Kurt Russell, Pamela Reed