By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/16/12
The first mainstream lacrosse movie – “CROOKED ARROWS” – debuted Tuesday night in Philly at a special premiere showing at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute to rave reviews.
The movie, in fact, is much more than a lacrosse movie.
It is a movie about history, a movie about respect for a forgotten and often unknown Native American culture. It is a movie about honor to one’s self and to one’s team. It is a movie about the underdog, that “corny” Mighty Ducks-type story that we love so much and never seems to get old.
It is a movie about owning up to past mistakes and making amends.
It’s a movie about faith.
Yes, CROOKED ARROWS is about the journey of an arrow and how it takes many turns before reaching its final destination. But it is also about the journey of a team and a man. It hits home – for lacrosse players, and those who never have picked up a stick or watched the sport even once.
CROOKED ARROWS opens in theaters around the Philly region and other select cities on Friday. It opens nationally June 1. It’s the ideal movie for a lacrosse team to see together because it’s about teamwork and how far you can go when you work as a unit and put your own needs behind the team goal.
Two of the actors in the movie attended the premiere Tuesday – the CROOKED ARROWS goalie, Michael Hudson (Reed) and Crystal Allen (Dr. Julie Gifford), the love interest of the movie’s top star, Brandon Routh.
In the film, Routh plays Joe Logan, a mixed-blood Native American trying to find his spirit and prove himself to his father, Ben Logan, a traditionalist Tribal Chairman. Joe Logan accepts the job of coaching a rag-tag reservation lacrosse team of the Sunaquot, the fictional seventh tribe of the Haudenosaunee.
That journey is the focus of the movie, but also touches many other journeys. All are connected to the sport of lacrosse.
Also on stage Tuesday were Director Steve Rash, and co-producers J. Todd Harris and Mitchell Peck.
Hudson (who plays Reed), a Bensalem native and resident of Central Pennsylvania, must learn to deal with his fears of playing goalie in the movie. Like all the actors except Allen (Dr. Gifford), he is Native American. He did play lacrosse for several years, though he was a midfielder and never played in the goal.
“The move is a man’s journey in finding himself,” said Hudson. “It shows what lacrosse means to the Native American people, spiritually and emotionally.
“It shows what it means to our culture. There are several storylines. It shows how lacrosse brings your strengths out through different ways.”
Hudson, who began his professional career as a model, calls his character a “pretty boy” in the movie.
“He’s a pretty boy who is a little bit afraid of hurting himself,” he said. “He has this journey of becoming a good lacrosse goalie through different ways of motivation.”
Allen, of Calgary, plays a history teacher on the reservation where Routh is coaching. She teaches many of his players and at first she and Logan clash, but she helps Logan rediscover his faith and honor to the reservation and the sport of lacrosse after seeing his initial intentions of making money for his people by building casinos.
Interestingly, Allen is the only non-Native American actor in the movie. Her passion for Native American culture, though, is integral.
“Throughout the time he is teaching the kids lacrosse he comes back to his roots,” she said of Logan’s journey. “I basically challenge him. The Native American heritage has always been important to (my character).
“It’s quite a spiritual film. He gets down on himself. But he grows. I think the women in the film – his sister, played by Chelsea Ricketts – and my character push him in a way to make him see there is more to life than making money in casinos.
“He grows and has this awareness. The heart of it is these kids and the game of lacrosse. Joe realizes that’s what is in (his) heart and in (his) blood.”
The event Tuesday was hosted by the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association and sponsored by ThunderBay.
Take the team, take the family, see the movie. It is well done, well written, funny and heartwarming. It is good for the sport and we could all use a reminder of its lessons.