Leatherheads: Starring George Clooney and Renee Zellweger
The primary cast further included (in order given by credits):
Malcolm Goodwin (Bakes), Matt Bushell (Curly), Tommy Hinkley (Hardleg), Tim Griffin (Ralph), Robert Baker (Stump), Nick Paonessa (Zoom), Wayne Duvall (Duluth Bulldogs team Coach Frank Ferguson), Nicholas Bourdages (Bug, the water-boy for the Bulldogs), Bill Roberson (Mr. Dunn), Hi Bedford-Roberson (Mrs. Dunn), Stephen Root (Sports Reporter for the Duluth Bulldogs), Mark Teich (Joe), Christian Stolte (Pete), Jack Thompson (Harvey), Max Casella (Lieutenant Mac Steiner, who snitched his version of the truth to the Chicago Tribune regarding Rutherford's War Hero status and served with Charles Rutherford in "The Great War"), Keith Loneker (Big Gus Schiller, largest player for the Bulldogs), J.D. Cullum (Leonard), Randy Farmer (Foreman), Mike O'Malley (Mickey), Ryan Shively (Corporal Jack), Mert Hatfield (Duluth's Mayor), Peter Gerety (Football Commissioner Pete Harkin), Jeremy Ratchford (Eddie), Grant Heslov (Saul Keller), Zack Kay (Bulldogs #13 jersey player) and Jim Keisler (Duluth Bulldogs Trainer).
Leatherheads directed and produced by George Clooney is loosely based on the real-life 1920's NFL Duluth Eskimo team. The NFL would not allow the usage of the actual NFL team name and mascot for Duluth. Cooperatively, the scriptwriters used the Duluth Bulldogs with a bulldog mascot. Another set of facts Leatherheads was based upon was the story of George Halas in 1925 signing up Harold 'Red' Grange, a football star for the University of Illinois, for the Chicago Bears. Granted much was changed for the sake of plot, length of film, and what permission they were given regarding people's names and facts. For example, Princeton's name was used instead of the University of Illinois's due to Princeton's willingness to grant permission for its university's name to be used in the film.
Leatherheads begins with the Duluth Bulldogs professional football team being underdogs and very poor; can only afford one football. They lose a game due to a minor technicality of only having one ball and when it is lost the referee decides they have to forfeit the game due to "the rules of football" since they are the home team. This costs them their sponsor and ability to continue as a pro-football team.
Fortunately their team captain Jimmy 'Dodge' Connelly (George Clooney) being unable to find work figures away to monetarily save the Duluth Bulldogs team. It is very conniving and involves the signing up of a Princeton college football star Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski, renowned for his role in "The Office" television series) who happens to be a World War I hero. It further means agreeing to what Carter Rutherford's unscrupulous manager C.C. Frazier (Jonathan Pryce) demands for his percentage and Carter Rutherford's wages. Once agreement is established, Dodge Connelly contacts his team and coach who immediately drop everything to return to the game they love.
The rest of the movie is about how football in 1925 became recognized as a legitimate American sport and grew in popularity. It also has the popular American theme of the underdog team rising above and winning. As a subplot, there is the love triangle between the gorgeous Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger) who is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune who fakes being a sports reporter to get the dirty scoop on Carter Rutherford regarding his questionable War Hero status, Jimmy 'Dodge' Connelly who is an aging faithful to professional football as well as his team plus is an all-American football team captain type of a guy, and Carter Rutherford who blindly youthfully follows the advice of his manager in order to make tons of dough instead of doing the "right or loyal things".
Leatherheads does tie up all aspects of its story lines neatly and perfectly. Loved the pictures at the end that filled one in with what happened next for some of the characters and the Bulldog mascot (a real male bulldog). Truly awesome! Hats off to all involved in creating this loosely historical-based movie.
Leatherheads props and costumes were as 1920's as they could make or fake it. There was a music piece used that was from 1927, but sounded like the type of music played in 1925. Those involved with props, musical scores and costuming did their best for authenticity. What I noticed was great effort and commend them for the pains these hard working experts took in order to re-create circa 1925. Job well done!
Leatherheads , released in 2007, is worth the 1 hour and 54 minutes it takes to view. The PG-13 rating was due to cursing, heavy alcoholic drinking plus smoking, and very adult innuendos. It did show a minor smoking a cigarette. I felt the boy smoking scenes were in poor taste and inappropriate to display in any movie. My personal recommendation is for adults only to view this movie.
My husband found it a little slow of pace, but admitted he liked Leatherheads . I am not a football fan, yet enjoyed the historical aspects, subplot and plot. It was a good people story with a realistic ending. Leatherheads is a "must see" if an American football, George Clooney, John Krasinski, Jonathan Pryce or Renee Zellweger fan!