A new movie came out in theaters last Friday, but due to our lofty social standing in the DFW area, my friend Mary Deal and I were invited to a special press pre-screening of the film on Wednesday.
The opportunity to sit in “reserved” seats (we like to think of ourselves as the “Full Court” Press) and be admitted to the movies free of charge really served to get our spirits into excitement mode, yet with all this glitz and glamour, Mary and I still felt dubious about the cinematic adventure upon which we were about to embark. The title of the film: “The Mighty Macs.” Its premise: A tiny all-girls Catholic college has a basketball team that does surprisingly well in the ‘70s. The tag line: “She dared to dream. They dared to believe.” All these elements combined to give us critical elites low expectations, elevated slightly by the themes of Catholicism, femininity and an enjoyment of basketball.
The story follows the campaign of Cathy Rush, a young newlywed who moves to the Philadelphia area and takes a job as head basketball coach at Immaculata College. She has no experience, no gym and no support, either from the administration or from her husband at home. Rush creates a slapdash practice gym, organizes a motley crew of players, and bonds with and inspires an initially indifferent team, all while struggling to gain recognition and support from the school’s Mother Superior.
The friendship that forms between Rush and her assistant coach, Sister Sunday, is predicable but amusing. In typical movie fashion, Mother Superior is excessively severe and uncomfortable with the unorthodox methods of Rush, whose familiarity with Catholic practices is similar to the ignorance found in many Hollywood productions. Here and there we found that the film’s character development, depth of plot and conflict intensity left something to be desired.
Despite coming in as skeptics, Mary and I found ourselves absorbed in the quest of the Mighty Macs right down to that final game of revenge. It is not my intent to spoil the ending of the film, so I will close by saying that “The Mighty Macs” was filled with cheesy one-line quotes of encouragement, some exaggerated scenes of extreme physical conditioning and everything people love about these films.
Guess what? Mary Deal and I loved it too.