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12 Mighty Orphans (theater)

Inspired by the true story of Harvey “Rusty” Russell and the Masonic Home of Ft. Worth, TX football team.

I’m not a polished movie reviewer like [mention]The Rube[/mention] , so I’ll just hit the main points.

Luke Wilson plays Russell, a WWI vet who is hired to teach Math/Science, and coach football at the Masonic Home for Orphans in depression-era Texas. He convinces a group of boys (who don’t know the first thing about football) that it would be better to play football than work (“you can work in the field, or you can play in the field.”) Outnumbered and outsized, Russell resorts to innovative offensive schemes (Wing T and the spread offense) to counter his opponents’ size advantage. The culmination of these efforts result in their appearance in the Texas State Championship game – I won’t reveal the outcome.

It’s definitely a “feel-good” movie, and I did have an issue with some of the artistic license taken by the writers (while it makes for a good story line, Russell is NOT an orphan). That said, my wife and I both enjoyed the movie. One of the most inspiring parts of the entire movie was during the credits, where they displayed biographical footnotes outlining Russell’s and the players’ accomplishments.