Philadelphia – the city of brotherly love and home to some of Hollywood’s most recognized cinematic sports figures: Rocky, Vince Papale, Pat Solitano…wait who?
That’s right Philly, there’s a new mentally unstable sheriff in town.
A hint of sports and a whiff of hilarity can be found at this year’s Oscars through the screenplay and flawless character development of David O. Russell’s, “Silver Linings Playbook”. We’ve seen sports films wow us at the Oscars before, but this movie just feels different. “Silver Linings Playbook” may be one of the more balanced films I have seen since “The Social Network”. Nominated in such categories as Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director, this well-rounded film displays the insanity of the diehard sports fan amidst a tumultuous NFL season. In this case, that sports fan is Pat Senior, played by Robert DeNiro (nominated for best supporting actor).
He rubs up on his lucky handkerchief, shifts things around the living room, and has Chris Tucker hold the TV remotes for good measure. I’d be lying if I said this doesn’t slightly remind me of myself during a Sunday NFC east showdown. DeNiro’s character embodies the passion found within fan bases across the country. Sure, he’s a bookie and has extreme OCD, but his love for the Philadelphia Eagles, football, and his family is something the majority of us diehards can surely relate to.
DeNiro’s son in the film, Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper – nominated for best actor), is returning home from a mental institution. While he still loves his Eagles, it’s apparent he no longer shares the commitment and/or mental capacity to enjoy a game with his father. Regardless, that doesn’t stop him from showing up to a dinner party wearing his favorite DeSean Jackson jersey – a power move at its finest. This sort of team passion seemingly follows the cast everywhere. At home, at the tailgate, even at therapy.
While I might be criticized in dubbing this a “sports film”, it offered a unique variety of athletic endorsement between the Solitano’s Eagles obsession and Tiffany’s (Jennifer Lawrence – nominated for best actress) dance competition.
After roping Bradley Cooper’s character into participating in the contest, we as the audience find ourselves jumping back and forth between the crammed, bustling environment of the Solitano football-infused living room and the quiet, open space of Tiffany’s dance studio. It becomes refreshing to see Pat remove himself from the potentially toxic atmosphere he finds at home. The appreciation behind Pat and Tiffany’s work is finally realized as you applaud their crazed performance at the dance competition.
A juggling act of two completely opposite ends of the athletic spectrum; “Silver Linings Playbook” has my vote in every category it is nominated for. Check out to see how the film holds up against its competition tonight on ABC at 7pm EST/4pm PAC.