ⓘ The Longest Yard (2005 film)
The Longest Yard is a 2005 American sports comedy film directed by Peter Segal and written by Sheldon Turner. A remake of 1974s The Longest Yard, it stars Adam Sandler as a washed-up former professional quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers who, in exchange for freedom, is forced to assemble a football team to play against the guards. The film co-stars Chris Rock, James Cromwell, Nelly, William Fichtner and Burt Reynolds, who played Sandlers role in the original. The film was released on May 27, 2005.
Paul Crewe is a former NFL quarterback who was accused of shaving points, though it was never proven. One night he gets drunk during a party and goes joyriding in the Bentley of his girlfriend, Lena, causing a chase with the police and crashing the car. He is sentenced to 18 months in prison as a result.
In prison, Warden Rudolph Hazen, an avid football fan, wishes to use his personal football team composed of his prison guards to boost his reputation for future elections as State Governor. Using a week in a hot box to coerce him, Crewe recommends that the Guards, lead by head guard Captain Knauer, play a tune-up game, a game between the Guards and a team that they easily slaughter to boost morale. Hazen tasks Crewe with forming a team composed of the prison inmates, believing that he will be unable to unite the unruly prisoners, thus not only achieving his goals, but also exerting his power over the inmates.
Crewe befriends Caretaker, who helps organize tryouts but finds a mostly inept roster due to Crewes legacy. Seeing the team forming attracts former college football star Nate Scarborough, who decides to help coach the team by gathering several intimidating inmates, most of whom join in order to exact revenge against the abusive guards, bolstering his defense. Caretaker implores Crewe to seek out assistance from the black inmates to gain some much needed offensive strength. Crewe challenges their leader, Deacon Moss, to a one-on-one basketball game but refuses to call any fouls on Deacon. Deacon wins and refuses to offer help, but Earl Megget is impressed by Crewes resilience and joins as his Running back.
As the team gains strength, Hazen and the guards hinder Crewes team in several ways, such as taunting Megget into attacking a guard by verbally harassing him at the library with ethnic slurs; Megget, however, does not retaliate. Deacon and the other black inmates witness this and decide to join Crewes team to exact revenge. Meanwhile, inmate Unger spies on the activities of the inmates for the guards and is implored to use his "talents" to weaken their team. Unger rigs an incendiary explosive into the radio in Crewes cell, which Caretaker accidentally sets off and is sealed within Crewes cell by Unger, preventing anyone from rescuing him.
On game day, the inmates are revitalized in the wake of Caretakers murder when Caretaker uses his connections to his cousin at Reebok to supply the inmates with quality uniforms and gear as well as giving them the team name Mean Machines. Crewe deals with some difficulty getting the inmates to focus on winning the game during opening play, stating that a loss to them would be a far bigger mark of shame to the guards than any physical brutality they could inflict on them. Though the guards take an early lead, even having the referees call bogus fouls on them which Crewe quickly amends, by the end of the first half, the Mean Machines tie the game at 14-all.
Hazen corners Crewe during half-time, informing him that if the Guards do not win by a two touchdown lead, he will pin Caretakers murder on him. Crewe reluctantly agrees and Hazen orders Knauer to "inflict as much damage as possible" on the inmates once they have a two touchdown lead. During the opening of the second half, Crewe intentionally performs poorly and eventually self-removes him from the field. The Mean Machines catch on and desperately try to maintain an even foothold, but without Crewe, they falter once more in scoring. After earning a two touchdown lead on the Mean Machines, the Guards begin to brutally injure the inmates, spurring Crewe to reenter the field. The inmates initially refuse to help him, allowing him to be sacked twice, but on 4th Down and long, Crewe completes a 1st Down on his own. Crewe calls a time out and admits to his point shaving in both this game and his previous accusations. Informing the team of Hazens threats, he declares that he would rather stay with the inmates than betray Caretakers memory. The Mean Machines rally behind Crewe once more and with a decisive Two-point conversion, ends the game on 36-35 for the Mean Machines.
Knauer, having newfound respect for Crewe, congratulates him for the win and informs Crewe that he is aware that he had nothing to do with Caretakers murder and would defend him. Hazen admonishes Knauer for losing a fixed game and notices that Crewe is heading towards the exit. Eagerly implying Crewe is trying to escape, Hazen orders that Crewe be shot for attempting to escape. Knauer hesitates and at the last moment realizes, and scornfully informs Hazen, that Crewe is only picking up the game football. Crewe returns it to Hazen, telling him to "stick it in trophy case".
The movie was filmed at the New Mexico State Penitentiary on Route 14, Santa Fe, New Mexico. The football game at the end of the film was filmed at Murdock Stadium at the El Camino College in Torrance, California. The car chase scene was filmed whereabouts in Long Beach, California. Other parts of the film were filmed in Los Angeles and New Mexico. The golf course scene was filmed at Lost Canyons Golf Club in Simi Valley, California.
The film was released on the same day as DreamWorks Animation’s family friendly comedy film Madagascar, both films starred Chris Rock. Whereas Madagascar is a family friendly movie, this film is a teen comedy. Rock was the voice of Marty in Madagascar and Caretaker in the film.
It was released on 27 May 2005 in US and 9 September in the UK.
4.1. Reception Box office
The film did well at the box office. Its $47.6 million opening weekend was the largest of Sandlers career and only second to The Day After Tomorrow as the largest opening by a movie that was not #1. The film would go on to gross $158.1 million in the United States and Canada and $190 million worldwide. It was the highest-grossing film produced by MTV Films, until it was surpassed by Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Despite the large number of remakes released at the theaters, its worth noting that The Longest Yard is the highest grossing comedy remake of the modern box office era from 1980 on.
4.2. Reception Critical response
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 31% based on 166 reviews, with an average rating of 4.78/10. The websites critical consensus reads, "This Yard has some laughs but missing from this remake is the edginess of the original." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". According to CinemaScore, audiences gave the film a grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert, in the critical minority with this title, gave it a "Thumbs Up", defending it later in his Chicago Sun-Times review as a film that ".more or less achieves what most of the people attending it will expect." In the print review, Ebert beseeches his readers to ".seek out a movie you could have an interesting conversation about", citing films not in wide release such as Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist and Kontroll, until finally encouraging his readers to "drop any thought of seeing anything else instead" if they can see Crash.
The film earned Chris Rock a BET Comedy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Theatrical Film.
Burt Reynolds earned a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actor for his performance in the film.
The official soundtrack, which consisted entirely of hip-hop music, was released on May 24, 2005 by Derrty Ent. Records and Universal Records. It peaked at #11 on the Billboard 200 and #10 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
The film itself contains a mixture of hip-hop and rock music, featuring music by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Norman Greenbaum, and AC/DC, among others.