The Winning Season (2010)

Rating: 12
Length: 1hr 44
Release: 3.9.2010 (No UK cinema release)
Dir: Jim Strouse
About: Bill Greaves, an alcoholic, gets a chance to bring his life back on track when a friend, Terry, offers him a job to coach a high school girls’ basketball team.

The Good

  • This is a funny film that doesn’t sugar coat anything while remaining a charming film about self improvement, family and team building. There’s nothing necessarily new here; it’s Mighty Ducks only it centres on female basketball. However, let me put it this way; it’s Mighty Ducks but the team is female, empowered and fronted by Emma Roberts and Mara Rooney.
  • The character of Bill is what makes this film for me. He’s essentially Sam from Glow; he’s an asshole, a self-confessed one at that, with a strong moral code under his frosty exterior. His relationships form the foundation of the film and its development. It’s through him that you become invested. You want an example of healthy masculinity, this asshole is the the one to do it.
  • It made a nice change to see Rob Corddry play something other than a larger than life douchebag. Really refreshing and he wears the proud principal well.
  • The film touches on everything that feels relevant to today; questioning the self, racism on and off the court (and It’s quite well handled), gender equality and teen pregnancy and the consequences of it.
  • Margo Martindale is always a wonderful addition to anything she’s in. She’s one of those people who you recognise, even if you can’t quite place her. She’s the sweetness to Rockwell’s harsh character.


  • There’s one part of Bill’s journey I wish we’d gotten was a proper resolution. It was hinted at that life didn’t go to plan for him because of the birth of his daughter. I would like to have seen perhaps suggestions of what would happen to his character once the credits started. I get the impression it was considered and filmed, but left on the cutting room floor.


  • The final act does run the risk of verging into uncomfortable territory. Having a grown man in Lycra, running around a school full of teen girls with police trying to arrest him doesn’t sound so great on paper and it is only because of the development of the character that sort of makes it okay. (Actually, I laughed my ass off at the absurdity of it, but I know if it was another actor it would have creeped me the fuck out)

Final Thoughts

Its such a charming film from start to finish and the biggest shame of it all is that I’d not heard about it sooner.