The Best Eagles Movie Debate Part 1: Invincible – Philly Sports

NFL franchises aren’t commonly featured in Hollywood movies, but the Philadelphia Eagles have gotten more big-screen exposure than almost any of their opponents. Of Invincible at Silver Linings Playbook and even this weirdly worded Tony Danze movie The Trash Pickup Land Kicking Phenomenon of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia fans got more than 15 minutes of fame.

What’s the best big Hollywood movie to portray the Eagles? Philly Sports Network will advocate for both Invincible and Silver Linings Playbook. Make your voice heard on our Twitter poll.

Invincible: Good

The Disney Movie Invincible is the film most easily associated with the Eagles. It tells the story of Vince Papale, a local underdog who overcame the odds to play his first game in the NFL at the age of 30. Mainstream actor Mark Wahlberg brought the film huge exposure when it was released in 2006.

Invincible portrays Philadelphia in the mid-1970s as an economically struggling city whose residents look to the Eagles as a beacon during tough times. Papale’s underdog mantra develops when he is fired from his job as a teacher and abandoned by his wife. His fearless attitude of perseverance in the face of adversity on and off the football field well personifies the city of Philadelphia in the film’s historical context, no matter how skeptically the shot has been received in modern times.

Greg Kinnear is putting in a terrific showing as former Eagles head coach and recently elected Hall of Famer Dick Vermeil. While the film was about Papale, Vermeil’s role as a supporting character helped establish the film’s authenticity.

When the older generation of Eagles fans think back to the 1970s, they mostly remember dismal teams falling at the feet of the superior Dallas Cowboys. They view Philadelphia’s victory over Dallas in the NFC Championship Game after the 1980 season as the reward for years of failure.

A depiction of Vermeil’s shaky first season as head coach invokes a sense of pride for what it took him to bring a traditionally underperforming franchise to the game’s biggest stage in Super Bowl XV.

Some good local references can be found throughout the film. Tony Luke provides comic relief by playing an average, upgraded Joe with a cheesesteak in his hand before the tryout scene. He delivered well on his “two years, high school football, college!” a liner that was later ripped off without proper news credit during an Eagles tailgate in 2019.

Lighthearted banter occurs throughout the film between the Philadelphia-centric characters and the character of Elizabeth Banks, who is Papale’s love interest and, coincidentally, a New York Giants fan. Eagles fans still appreciate the heckling of Giants fans, even in the days of Nick Sirianni.

InvincibleThe best live music scene pays homage to local rock legend Jim Croce. Croce was born in South Philadelphia and attended Upper Darby High School in Delaware County.

Invincible: The bad

Casting Wahlberg as a part-time South Philly bartender in the shadow of the Veterans Stadium might have played well in Hollywood, but the real Vince Papale grew up in Delaware County and attended Interboro High School.

While the vet is well featured at certain points in the film, the bleacher seats visible in any scene inside the stadium don’t quite match memories of the beloved former concrete clunker that Philadelphia used to call her home.

Any sports narrative “based on a true story” is bound to have its fair share of over-dramatized moments. The climax of the film occurs when Papale drops the ball from a punt returner into opposing territory and recovers for the scoop and the score. Despite forcing a key fumble early in his rookie season, he didn’t score on the play. The film’s camera angles aren’t exactly up to modern NFL replay standards, but the groping could not have advanced if the turner did not possess it cleanly.

The verdict: B-

Eagles fans should be happy that their team made it to the big screen, even if it wasn’t in an ideal way. Invincible isn’t exactly going to endear itself to Philadelphians like the movie they watch before every Eagles game, but it had enough local flavor to earn a place in the inner circle of its setting.

Fans should also be thrilled for Papale himself. The former NFL wide receiver beat cancer after his playing career and became a successful motivational speaker. The exhibition after the film greatly increased the scope of his work.

Do Invincible High Silver Linings Playbook in the head?

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire

Comments are closed.