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Starring: Zachary Levi, Anna Paquin, ennis Quaid, Cindy Hogan, Ser’Darius Blain, Adam Baldwin, Bruce McGill, Danny Vinson, Chance Kelly, Hayden Zaller, Cora Kate Wilkerson, Nic Harris
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Sports bio-drama directed by Andrew and Jon Erwin. American Underdog (2021) centers on the true story of Kurt Warner (Zachary Levi), who went from a stockboy at a grocery store to a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Hall of Fame quarterback. It follows Warner and his years of challenges and setbacks that could have derailed his dreams of becoming an NFL player, but just when it seemed all but out of reach, with the support of his wife, Brenda (Anna Paquin) and the encouragement of his family, coaches, and teammates, Warner perseveres and finds the strength to show the world the champion that he already is.
Our Favorite Quotes:'Sometimes you got to do what you got to do, until you can do what you want to do.' - Kurt Warner (American Underdog) Click To Tweet
Kurt Warner: Now this might seem like a failure. A mistake. But of all the characteristics needed to be an all-pro quarterback, this one is rarely talked about. The ability to stay in the pocket. To stay calm and collected as a wall of humanity collapses around you. The courage to stand your ground and take the hit. And then have the will to get back up, and do it all over again. Drop back, settle, deliver the perfect throw.
Kurt Warner: Ever since I saw Joe Montana become the MVP of that Super Bowl, and break his
all-time pass record, I knew I wanted to be that guy. Over a million athletes play high school football every year in America. Each with a dream of their own. Only about five percent of them make it to college ball. And only one percent of those get drafted to the NFL. Most don’t stay in the league for more than three years. Most are not quarterbacks. Only a select few will ever play in the Super Bowl. And each year, there is only one MVP of that game. So, by all accounts, my dream, my story is impossible. That’s just the kind of story this is.
Mike Hudnutt: How you going to make a highlight reel with no highlights, huh? You only started two games. Just saying.
Kurt Warner: I have highlights.
Mike Hudnutt: And who you going to send that to?
Kurt Warner: Scouts. Agents.
Mike Hudnutt: You really are delusional, huh? Look, the NFL’s not going to draft some dude who’s been sitting on the bench for four years at a one double AA school in Iowa. It’s madness.
Kurt Warner: I need you to teach me how to dance.
Mike Hudnutt: What, like dance, like line dance?
Kurt Warner: Like line dancing, and barn dancing, and all the dancing.
Mike Hudnutt: Oh, man, this is going to be great. This about that girl, ain’t it?
Kurt Warner: That’s none of your business.
Kurt Warner: You move real good on that dance floor.
Brenda Meoni: Well, that makes one of us.
Kurt Warner: [to Brenda] As long as I have a ball in my hands, then I feel like everything’s going to be alright.
Kurt Warner: You know, I normally hate country music, but I kind of like this song.
Brenda Meoni: Well, I hate sports, so guess it’ll never work between us.
Kurt Warner: Why wouldn’t I want your number?
Brenda Meoni: Look, there’s a few things you need to know about me. I’m divorced, and I got two kids. So, if I never see you again, I totally understand.
Brenda Meoni: [after she gives Kurt her number] Where’s your car?
Kurt Warner: I walked.
Brenda Meoni: From UNI? That’s like three miles.
Kurt Warner: Oh, yeah. Totally worth it.
Kurt Warner: What is your problem with me, Coach?
Coach Allen: You want me to sum it up for you, why you are such a tragedy? You don’t stay in the pocket.
Kurt Warner: What?
Coach Allen: You got the talent, loads of it. But when things get hard, you bail. You run from adversity. You don’t trust your team, or my playbook. You don’t deserve to play in the game.
Kurt Warner: Coach, ten more games, and my dream is gone. I’ve been working my whole life for this. Please.
Coach Allen: You need to start thinking about life after football, son.
Kurt Warner: Respectfully, you are wrong, Coach. I’m not going to quit, because that’s not what leaders do. I just need to know how to get on that field.
Coach Allen: [to Kurt] You could throw. But you cannot leave the pocket. You want your shot? You take the pain.
Kurt Warner: How many more times we going to do this, Coach?
Coach Allen: As many times as I say. Who else wants to kill Kurt?
Mike Hudnutt: I do!
'Life is not about what you can achieve, it's about what you can become. It's a journey. It's not an event.' - Larry (American Underdog) Click To Tweet
Brenda Meoni: When I was maybe twelve, after church, this woman comes up to me, and says, “There’s something special about you, Brenda. God is going to do something great with you.” And I had the audacity to believe her. So, I had this dream of being a Marine, and marrying a Marine, and having little Marine children, and God, country, and Corps all the way.
Brenda Meoni: [referring to Zach] I remember praying, and praying, and begging God to just save my baby boy. So, the doctor told me he’d never walk, and yet… That he’d never talk, and now, I can’t get him to stop.
Kurt Warner: That he’d never be a black truck driver.
Brenda Meoni: He keeps finding a way to prove everyone wrong. He’s my miracle.
Kurt Warner: And that lady who came up and talked to you at church all those years ago, you still believe her?
Brenda Meoni: I’m trying. I’m a work in progress.
Brenda Meoni: Okay, I’m trying to imagine a scenario where any of this works.
Kurt Warner: What, exactly?
Brenda Meoni: You know, us.
Kurt Warner: Oh, we’re an “us” now. That’s good news.
Brenda Meoni: This is crazy. This isn’t going to work.
Kurt Warner: You keep saying that.
Kurt Warner: How does it feel to make out with a future professional athlete?
Brenda Meoni: It was better before you said that.
Sue Warner: You sure that’s a good idea?
Kurt Warner: What?
Sue Warner: [referring to Brenda] Single mom, two kids. That’s no joke. I would know. Is that really the life you want?
Kurt Warner: I’m just wondering why God would give me a dream that’s probably never going to come true. Because I just feel like that’s cruel, you know?
Kurt Warner: I just want my shot. I just, I want one chance, so I can prove…
Brenda Meoni: Prove what?
Kurt Warner: Prove that I’m good enough, that’s what.
Brenda Meoni: I don’t think a football game is ever going to do that. It doesn’t have to define you. If this is your dream, you have to go fight for it.
Kurt Warner: You ever feel like your whole life was just leading up to one moment?
Brenda Meoni: Then go make the most of it.
Kurt Warner: [as he’s been let go] Coach, please. I have been working for this my entire life.
Steve ‘Mooch’ Mariucci: Stop it. Come on. Don’t do that. If it were true, you would’ve been ready to go on the field. You’re not.
'Destiny. It belongs to the underdogs.' - Dick Vermeil (American Underdog) Click To Tweet
Kurt Warner: I just don’t know what to do, Brenda. I’ve called every team in the NFL, and no one’s interested. I want to go on, I do. But, I mean, look at me. I’m unemployed. I’m homeless.
Zack: [as they’re watching the game on TV] Football.
Kurt Warner: That’s right, Z-Man. You like it?
Zack: You play.
Kurt Warner: Yeah, I’d really like to, bud, but they didn’t pick me.
Zack: I pick you.
Kurt Warner: I pick you too, bud.
Kurt Warner: You know what they say. “Sometimes you got to do what you got to do, until you can do what you want to do,” you know?
Brenda Meoni: Don’t give up.
Marshall: [as Kurt stares at the picture of a football player on the cereal box] Think you’d be that guy?
Kurt Warner: Yeah, I do.
Marshall: What are you doing here? Get it done.
Kurt Warner: Yeah, because it’s that easy.
Jim Foster: Look, elephant in the room, I am sorry about the draft, and the Packers. But you got it all, kid. The whole package. The world just needs more time to see it.
Kurt Warner: Well, thank you. See, this guy gets it.
Jim Foster: Yes, I get it. And what if I told you, starting tomorrow, you have a job playing the game you love?