Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Film #53: One on One

This is one of those "Saturday Afternoon" movies I like so much--sort of funny, sort of dramatic, a little romantic, not too demanding but not totally stupid either. Just real breezy and simple. Star Robby Benson co-wrote this likable story of a pampered high school basketball star who gets a scholarship to play with UCLA, but finds himself overwhelmed by a backbreaking practice regimen, a full class load, and the insults from the school's hard-assed coach (played with muscle by G.D. Spradlin). I like that the movie has a lot the say about the general overreaction to the talents of sports stars (though it throws in the towel and gets behind our boy Benson in the end). And I think this is the sort of movie role that made Benson a star in the 1970s--he's an innocent, but he's not totally stupid (at least, not by the final reel).

Annette O'Toole, having been a guest star on numerous television shows for ten years, got her first big movie role here as Benson's anti-jock tutor who agrees against her better judgement to help Benson with
the books. Her red hair, blue eyes and saucy spirit are enough to make One on One a movie worth watching. Spradlin, too, is a big draw (most may remember him as the general who gives Martin Sheen the orders to terminate Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now or as the crooked senator in The Godfather Part II). His coach is a mean ol' cuss, that's for sure. '70s songsters Seals and Crofts had a Top 40 hit with "My Fair Share" and warble the title tune as well. One on One is directed by Lamont Johnson, who'd won a Emmy a few years earlier for directing the downbeat Execution of Private Slovik. Both that and this charming sports drama should be released on DVD as soon as possible. Here's a great scene with G.D. Spradlin trying to make Benson's life very difficult.

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