Plots: A book-smart teenager joins his school’s wrestling team as a way to reunite his surviving family members, who split apart after the death of his father, a college wrestling legend, 10 years ago (IMDB)
Credits: Director: Mel Damski; Writer: John Posey; Stars: Devon Graye, John Cena, Patricia Clarkson, Danny Glover, Madeleine Martin, Tyler Posey, John Posey, Teo Olivares, Chris Whetstone (IMDB)
Film Review: “…The drama centers on Cal (Devon Graye of “Dexter”), a high school outsider tormented by an unconvincing bully (Tyler Posey). He’s also grappling with the estrangement between his mother and older brother, Mike (Cena), a one-time champion of the mat, and with the wrestling glories of his deceased father (a handy collection of newspaper clippings provides the backstory essentials). Seeing Cal’s academic potential, the last thing mom Sharon wants is for him to become consumed by the sport. He’s got plenty of incentive, though: his beanpole physique, the flirtatious enthusiasm of lifelong friend Luli (Madeleine Martin, in a Southern-eccentric variation on her precocious daughter in “Californication”) and the need to reach out to his brother and reunite his family. Director Mel Damski and production designer Raymond Pumilia effectively use Louisiana locations to anchor the story in a working-class Oklahoma milieu. Not all of the film’s elements mesh, however. The script emphasizes the sport’s character-building aspects while acknowledging a darker side, but Damski inexplicably turns nearly every wrestling sequence into a rock-track-driven scene with little action impact. The script by John Posey — who appears in the small role of Cal’s coach — abounds in affection for its characters but also in on-the-nose dialogue. Every dramatic hurdle is cleared nearly as soon as it arises. Rather than pushing the familial tension, the story reaches for anemic “insights” from an intuitive strange (Danny Glover), who appears whenever Cal most needs him, providing folksy pep talks (and occasional voice-over narration). The final-act disclosure of his identity, however contrived, provokes the most affecting moment in Cena’s performance…” (Hollywood Reporter – Review: Empty)
Devon Graye (born March 8, 1987; Mountain View, California) is an American actor. He is best known for his role as Teenage Dexter in the American television drama series Dexter airing on Showtime and the lead role Scott in After Dark Original’s Husk. and as the role of Marco in the movie adaption of Meg Cabot’s Avalon High (Wikipedia).
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