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Blue Chips

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Blue Chips

Starring: Nick Nolte, Shaquille O'Neal
Director: William Friedkin
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 107 Minutes
Release Date: February 1994
Genres: Sports, Drama

*Also starring: Mary McDonnell, J.T. Walsh, Alfre Woodard, Ed O'Neill, Bob Cousy, Larry Bird, Matt Nover, Anthony C. Hall, Robert Wuhl

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

BLUE CHIPS is the classic morality tale of the basically good character selling his soul to the devil when he gets down on his luck. In this case, the good guy is the college basketball coach played by Nick Nolte and the devil is the head of the alumni association played by J. T. Walsh. There is a throwaway roll of the coach's ex-wife played by Mary McDonnell who was once so wonderful in DANCES WITH WOLVES and GRAND CANYON. There are lots of basketball players in it, all about the size of small skyscrapers, who are either corrupt or stupid with the exception of the Shaquille O'Neal character.

Easily the best part of this movie is the ending. Wrapping up a morality play is tricky - this one does a really nice job of it. It also has a neat epilog that makes you think, incorrectly, for a few minutes, that maybe this was all a true story after all.

The movie was directed by William Friedkin. Friedkin did the highly imaginative and innovative FRENCH CONNECTION as well as TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA. I loved both of these shows. They are both full of energy and intelligence. There is little visible intelligence in any of the actors or characters in BLUE CHIPS however.

The story runs 1:47 and the time passes quickly. The problem with BLUE CHIPS is that watching it is like eating a pastry that has been whipped so that it is all air. You ate it, but there was nothing there. It is a very homogenized movie that never offends, yet never seems to be for real either. It gets a PG-13 rating for the typical bad language you hear in any locker room. Well, it does insult religion, but most Hollywood movies feel that is mandatory these days, so no surprise. There are a lot of good sports movies that have been made. For basketball, go rent HOOSIERS rather than see this one. I give the movie **, and do not recommend it.

Copyright 1995 Steve Rhodes

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