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"The Replacements"

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The Replacements deserves a historical footnote for being the most blatantly anti-union movie in memory. A pro-football strike necessitates the hiring of a bunch of lovably goony, ragtag players, headed by quarterback Keanu Reeves, to replace the spoiled-rotten zillionaire professionals looking for another notch in their bank account. The substitute coach for the Washington Sentinels, played by Gene Hackman in a performance that can most charitably be termed minimalist, sides with the scabs because they, unlike their overpaid counterparts, still have a hunger for the sport. Since Hollywood is riven with current and impending labor strikes these days, you have to wonder how this sort of thing will play in Burbank, not to mention Peoria. Obviously somebody decided the time was ripe to cash in on fan resentment of star salaries and star egos, but there's still something a bit bloodcurdling about this nudnick celebration of strike-breaking in which not a single pro player is portrayed as anything more than pond scum. If The Replacements turns out to be a commercial success, can we next expect a Reagan-righteous movie about the glory days of the air controllers' strike?


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