The Longest Yard 2005

Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
Standard, but no more uninteresting than the cover of the DVD for the original movie. I can’t say much, it’s a comedy with some hard truths mixed in, what kind of cover do you splash on that? Sandler’s face is good enough for me this time around. Since Punch Drunk Love’s cover was soooo cool, I’ll let this humdrum one slip by. The menus are in keeping with the football theme, but nothing there that’s terribly exciting. Functional if not very pretty to look at.

Features: 8/10

  • First Down and 25-to-Life – A documentary that goes behind the scenes at the making of the movie. It’s not too deep or involved, but it’s a good look at the cast and how the film came together including Reynolds and the conditions under which he agreed to do the film.
  • The Care and Feeding of Pro Athletes – How do you feed pro footballers? Very well is the answer you get when you watch this little blurb about the catering on set.
  • Lights, Camera, Action – Getting the football just right was a big deal for everyone on this movie. This takes us closer to how they pulled off teaching actors how to play and players how to act. Not to mention how they kept REAL football players from killing the little actor dudes during the tackle scenes.
  • Extra Points – Director Peter Segal briefly, very briefly, explains some of the hidden special effects in the movie. You may be surprised.
  • Deleted and Extended scenes – We all know what these are. They didn’t make it to the final cut of the film, so they stuck ‘em on the DVD.
  • Errtime – Music video by Nelly
  • Here Comes the Boom –Highlights from the movie set to the song, um, “Here comes the boom.” clever.
  • Fumbles and Stumbles – Outtakes by Sandler, Reynolds, Rock and more.

The Movie: 6/10:
There is something about 70’s movies that really turns me on. I’m not sure if it’s the dull film stock, the gritty reality, the dramatics, the stories about how the little guy gets shafted by “the man” all the time, or if it’s the cool actors like Burt Reynolds and Adam Sandler. Sandler? Wait, he’s a big fancy movie star comedian from the 90’s and 21st century, not the 70’s. What’s he doing in The Longest Yard?

Can anyone say “remake”? I’m not a big fan of making the same movie twice, or more if the celluloid fits, but sometimes you get a pleasant surprise. I loved the original flick. It had an excellent cast, even Eddie Albert with his over dramatics. The story is a great one, fallen hero stuck in with a bunch of criminals forced to once again either do what’s right or what’s very very wrong just to benefit himself.

I’m always completely convinced that Reynolds as Paul Crewe is a selfish creep who cares only about having a good time and getting away with being a has been football hero. With all that I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to see a remake of any sort, let alone with Adam Sandler. I love Sandler, don’t get me wrong. Punch Drunk Love is one of my favorite films. I just had a bad feeling that somewhere down the line a suit in an office in some movie company was going to rip the old classic to shreds to make room for some slap stick comedy flick.

I wasn’t entirely wrong. The movie holds up for sure, but with a lot more one liners and that more modern comedy edge that only Chris Rock and Sandler could give it, I suppose. I appreciate them wanting to pay homage to such a cool movie and to be honest, it wasn’t too darn bad.

The story holds up. Sandler plays Crewe who, like the original has been down and out since he shaved points off a football game he happened to be playing in. He steals a car from a wretched woman, both versions refer to him as if he were a toy, a collectible. He’s had enough, snaps, and ends up in prison. Hard core prison, not sissy prison.

It doesn’t take long to get to the prison part in either version of the story. But it seems particularly quick in the newest incarnation. Before you need a drink or a bite of popcorn Sandler is in the pen and we are on our way down memory lane with all the racism, violence, and solitary confinement any current day film could hold. I admire the director, Sandler, and everyone involved for keeping the most uncomfortable scenes, n-word and all. I hate it, but it shows they wanted to stay true to keeping the idea that while the inmates are bad, the jerk guards are just as bad, if not worse.

Sandler is funny but not over the top. He does a good job of keeping Crewe semi-toned down, while Rock brings the old Caretaker role to life with his own brand of humor. It’s fun to watch, if you look past the beatings, name calling, and homicide factor.

I’m not sure why Bernadette Peters didn’t come back as the loveable (and I mean that literally) warden’s secretary. Instead she is replaced by Cloris Leachman who is hysterically funny if not a bit disturbing as Sandler’s only real female love interest..haha You have to see to believe.

The warden is a jerk, his chief officer is a jerk, the guards are jerks, and the poor murders and thieves in the prison are at their mercy. You see, that’s why it’s a great story. Even though you know the cons are all bad. They deserve to be in prison and all that, but you do want them to have this one moment when they stir things up and take back some of their pride, whether they deserve it individually or not.

Nelly makes a star appearance as a running back, barefoot and fast. He does a good job of the little acting thing, so that was cool. We also get the fine treat of seeing many retired mega football players doing the movie scene. Since I know nothing about football that was pretty much lost on me, but some of you out there will appreciate it.

Over all I really enjoyed this version of The Longest Yard. I wouldn’t say it’s as good as the first one, but then again, I don’t get the feeling they were trying to make it better. I would like to think they just loved the story and the characters so much that they wanted to bring an updated version to new audiences…sounds good to me.

The Longest Yard 2005 has a lot of excellent music, slow motion, split screens, great football playing, Burt Reynolds getting tackled, and so much more good movie watching fun.

Value: 9/10
I would say this is one for your DVD shelf. I know the movie may not live up to you nerd-a-zoids’ expectations out there..but come on. It’s funny and serious. It has a lot of great camera work and a top notch story that can be told over and over if you ask me. If you are shopping both versions are quite cheap at around $16 each. If you loved the original and just have to have the set, go for it. With a good (if not great, but who’s counting) movie and a lot of really good extras it’s worth it. I would say for anyone who is not in love with 70’s movies and thinks Sandler is supposed to always have a speech impediment and be a dork, rent it and hope for the best.

Overall Score 7/10