Yesterday, Jeff and I watched the original Longest Yard. This is one of Jeff's favorite movies. It was a first time viewing for me. Or, at least, I think it was. There were certain parts of the film that seemed familiar so who knows? Maybe I've got bits and pieces of it over the years. But I'm pretty sure that this is the first time that I've ever sat down and watched it from beginning to end. I wanted to see it because 1) Jeff has sat through a lot of movies over the years just because I liked them and 2) The Offer ended with Al Ruddy turning down a chance to produce The Godfather Part II because The Longest Yard was apparently his passion project.

The Longest Yard wasn't bad at all. It was very much a guy film, of course. And it was very much a film of the early 70s. Burt Reynolds played a former pro quarterback who got tossed in prison and was pressured to start an all-convicts football team. The film ended with a 45-minute sequence in which Burt had to decide whether to stay loyal to his team or to betray them and get some time cut off from his sentence. Normally, it would be safe to assume that Burt would do the right thing but, since this film was made in 1974, there was always a chance that Burt would sell everyone out. Films in the early 70s had a tendency to go dark.

And The Longest Yard had its dark moments. It went from broad comedy to violent tragedy very quickly. The football game, itself, was surprisingly brutal. But, in the end, Burt stuck it to the man and stood up for his team. The film went from being a prison/sports comedy to being a celebration of the human spirit and individuality.

Not a bad film at all.