Disability in Pop Culture: Movie Champions is a Winner!

Disability in Pop Culture: Movie Champions is a Winner!

Written By: Lisa Kort, Easterseals Marketing and Communications Project Manager

As a mother of a son who is on the autism spectrum, the movie Champions captured my heart. I saw many aspects of my son’s personality in several of the movie’s characters. These young adults are depicted as leading fulfilling lives, sometimes less than tactful, but at the same time very honest, loving, and wonderfully unique. It also reflects Easterseals’ commitment to changing the way people see disability, with an authentic cast of actors who have various disabilities.

Champions: A Movie that Celebrates Uniqueness

Starring Woody Harrelson and directed by Bobby Farrelly, the movie is set in Iowa and tells the story of a basketball coach, Marcus, played by Harrelson. At the beginning of the movie, Marcus is egotistical and a less than stand-up guy who has trouble listening, collaborating, and connecting to colleagues, players, and friends.

Marcus is fired from his coaching job and then goes to a bar where he has too many drinks. After leaving the bar, Marcus is arrested and receives a DUI. The judge on his case issues him a fine and community service to manage a team of players with intellectual disabilities.

When Marcus first meets his team, “The Friends,” he doubts that he can have any impact as a coach and help them become winners. However, as he spends time with the players, he learns more about them as individuals and their lives off the court.

For instance, team member Johnny volunteers at an animal shelter and rescues any animal that may be put down. Benny works at a restaurant and is unable to play games because he works for a boss who will not adjust his schedule. Darius, who had a promising career as a basketball player, suffered a brain injury in a car accident while in high school.  These are just a few of the team members, each of whom has a backstory about their individual lives.

The movie does a great job conveying that champions come in many forms and winning can be seen and captured through a variety of enduring ways.

Is there a movie about people with disabilities that resonated with you? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author:

Lisa Kort has enjoyed working at Easterseals SoCal as the Marketing Communications Project Manager since July 2022. Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience as a communications specialist, previously working for Kaiser Permanente and Health Net. When not working, she enjoys watching her two sons perform in musical theater productions, spending time with her husband, and cheering for the Dodgers.

One Comment

  1. Bonnie Saavedra April 3, 2023 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Atypical and the good doctor are series based on young men who are on the spectrum, both found on Netflix. These series are both beautifully written and actors who played characters on the spectrum were outstanding.

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