'Leatherheads' pays homage to the '20s

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By Quninn McCulloch

My score: 3/5kernels

It’s hard to believe that there was a time when football was not the grandiose all-American sport that it is today. What was once a game dominated by college athletes has grown into an entire industry worth billions of dollars. It is said that the Super Bowl is the most watched event on TV in the U.S.“Leatherheads” is story about a fictitious group of people that were involved in making football not only a professional sport, but one of the biggest powerhouses in sports in American history.The movie takes place in 1925. George Clooney plays a fast-talking opportunist, named Dodge Connolly, who, despite his age and lack of money, is a football player determined to take the sport of American football into a realm of professionalism. However because of a lack of game oversight and the withdrawal of his sponsors, Dodge’s plans fall flat on their face.When all hope seems lost, Dodge schemes up a way to use Carter Rutherford, a famous college football player and American war hero, to draw attention to the game like he always dreamed. The big difference here is that Carter is to be paid $10,000 per game, a new idea at the time. At last Dodge’s persistence seems to have paid off as interest in the team skyrockets and the dollars start to roll in.The only glitch is that a hot-shot newspaper reporter named Lexie Littleton (played by Rene Zellweger), has learned that Carter’s war-hero story is perhaps not as heroic as the country was lead to believe. What ensues is a mix of ’20s style slapstick comedy, a romance and a sports story all rolled into one.Interestingly, Clooney et al. made a train trip/campaign across the country to showcase “Leatherheads.” This type of advertisement is historical and in the same fashion of motion pictures from the early 1900s. The movie retains the feeling that it could have been made in that time period, and the actors seemed to have fun in their roles. Despite having such a clever advertising scheme and such big-name actors, the movie sometimes felt a bit scattered; I had a hard time deciding if it was a satirical period film, or simply a comedy.Clooney played a similar fast-talking role in the movie “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou,” and the directors in “Leatherheads” did not do quite as seamless a job in bringing a period piece to life as in that memorable film. Despite these drawbacks, this was a fun, entertaining movie that had the audience laughing throughout and maybe wishing that they were back in the glamorous, roaring ’20s.