Is Champions Going to Offend Anyone?

Champions' Trailer: Woody Harrelson Stars in Bobby Farrelly Film | IndieWire

credit: Champions

Sad to say, that question does need to be asked at times when it comes to the entertainment industry since plenty of people tend to find anything and everything to be offended about. The reason it needs to be asked about this movie is that, yes, Woody Harrelson will be coaching a team of individuals who have severe learning and/or mental disabilities after his character is kicked out of a high-level coaching job. To be sure, this almost feels like another version of the movie Rebound with Martin Lawrence, only the athletes are older and are special needs instead of being elementary school children that had no chance in hell of getting better unless they had a skilled coach as their mentor. Or it could be likened to The Ringer with Johnny Knoxville, in which Knoxville portrays a mentally handicapped individual in order to fix the Special Olympics, which is a heinous idea until one realizes what he was trying to accomplish, which was to help out a coworker that had been grievously injured. In any case, it does feel as though people might have something to say about this, which would be irritating as well as confusing given that the trailer makes it appear that this is bound to be a feel-good movie that might stay within the lines as much as possible. 

The trailer makes it clear that there will be crude humor in this movie, which is good to hear. 

Too many people have been down on crude humor over the years, and to be honest, it’s a point of frustration since, when it comes to comedy, the idea of good and bad taste is something that is up to the individual when it comes to deciding if they like it or not. Some of the funniest movies in cinematic history have had some of the crudest humor, while some of the biggest blockbusters have been kind of lacking in humor by staying away from the low-brow comedy that a lot of people tend to like. Taking a look at this trailer, it definitely feels as though the laughs are going to come from some of the more risque jokes and moments that people tend to enjoy watching since, well, laughing is a great deal of fun. 

Using actors with real handicaps might keep people from commenting as much. 

It’s been noted over the years that actors who do have mental deficiencies and might not be considered ‘normal’ in some circles are still very capable actors that can be worked with and directed if they’re treated like regular human beings. Not every movie that’s featured those with mental disabilities has gone on to be a blockbuster, but the main point here is that these individuals are easily gifted enough to take on a role and make it work. For too long, a lot of people that have one disability or another weren’t considered to be worth putting in a movie since people had the misconception that they couldn’t be directed. It’s true that some folks with serious behavioral issues and other various disabilities might be too much of a risk, but making movies is about taking calculated risks, so it’s nice to see that this movie went ahead and kept the representation far more realistic. 

Champions (2023) - IMDb

credit: Champions

These types of movies are a lot of fun since they are a lot more inclusive. 

Without needing to gush over how utilizing people with disabilities in a movie role, it’s fair to say that the beliefs of the past that said people would be unable to act in this capacity aren’t gone, but they have evolved in a big way. It’s true that actors without disabilities still take on such roles when they’re called upon to do so, but as long as the actor pays some sort of respect and comes to understand the lifestyle that such people lead, then it shouldn’t be an issue. But being inclusive and taking whatever measures are needed to bring the best representation possible into a movie is a big up for any given feature since it shows that the movie isn’t being made to pander to people. Instead, it shows that, yes, people with disabilities of one type or another are still fully capable of taking part in a movie or TV show. 

The general attitude of the athletes appears to make the movie easier to watch. 

Let’s put it plainly: people with mental disabilities aren’t stupid. A good number of folks that have one disability or another have done whatever it takes to make their way into the movies, and it’s worked more often than folks appear to realize. Being offended by anything in this movie is bound to happen since there are simply too many people out there who feel the need to find offense in just about anything. But perhaps this movie will be allowed to move ahead without anyone opening their big mouth. We’ll see. 

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