Crooked Arrows (2012)

Action, Drama, Sport
Crystal Allen, Gil Birmingham, Brandon Routh, Gracie Marie Bradley
Late in the movie, a white woman who knows little about the history of the sport asks, "When did Indians start playing lacrosse?"Although the audience does not necessarily get a precise answer to the question, the opening scenes depict the Haudenosaunee people playing what the narrator calls the "medicine game" approximately 800 years ago, according to the on-screen graphics. The game is played to entertain The Creator and there is no field as such, but the game is played in a large wooded area. An overhead shot shows what appears to be the field.Fast-forward to the present day, and Ben Logan is doing his best to coach the high school lacrosse team of the Sunaquot Nation, which based on the overhead shots appears to be playing on the same field from the opening scenes. But they are outmatched by Coventry, a prep school which wins the New York state championship nearly every year. They missed 1998 (more on that later). Helping her father coach is the very enthusiastic Nadie. Julie, a white teacher at the high school, serves as scorekeeper. Her son Toby is the only member of the team who is not Sunaquot. Toby is asked to take the field when a key player gets hurt, but he's not very good. There is an illegal hit and the player is badly hurt. With the mask removed, it turns out to be Nadie. Her ankle is broken and if it doesn't heal properly, she will never play again.At the nearby casino, which makes fun of Indians rather than respecting their heritage, Joe Logan is in charge and even wearing a feather, not realizing its true meaning (he will). Mr. Geyer is the developer who has big plans, but he needs permission from the Sunaquot to expand. Joe has avoided contact with his people for a long time. He is the son of Ben and a white woman who died when Nadie was very young. He went to high school at Coventry and was very good at lacrosse, but the rich kids looked down on him and only appreciated what he could do for them. The exception was Julie, who he dated for a while.Now Joe has to ask the Sunaquot to approve letting the casino use more of their land. The tribal council is willing, but Ben is not. Ben insists Joe learn the ways of his people, starting with coaching the terrible lacrosse team, the Jackpots. The tribal council agrees to the plan on the condition Joe complete his journey, and Joe asks Mr. Geyer to delay any action until after Memorial Day, at which time he is confident the team's season will be over.Joe goes through the motions and, naturally, the team doesn't get any better. His grandmother, as his spiritual leader, expects more of him. And Joe wants to restart a relationship with Julie, who won't accept unless Joe takes his journey seriously.One of the team's problems is that their balls get lost in the woods, and they don't have any more. They can't go search for the balls because of Sasquatch. More about him later.Tribal elder Crooked Arrow encourages Joe, and eventually Joe is convinced he should let Crooked Arrow give the team lessons about their heritage. Some of them don't even speak the Sunaquot language. At first, Joe saw the language as a way to communicate plays without the other team knowing what they were doing, but the cultural lessons become much more than that.Eventually, after Crooked Arrow tells the story of the significance of his name, the team gets new equipment and new uniforms with a new name--Crooked Arrows. And the team gets a new player after Maug comes out of the woods. He is willing to play but also has to be a student. And he seems quite civilized, even speaking English. Although he is large, he isn't the scary Sasquatch people thought he was, and in fact, he is vegan.At long last, the Crooked Arrows have a chance to win. Because Joe puts Toby in the game at a crucial time, they do not, but Joe is proud of their effort and at one of several dinners at a steak house, he gives a feather to each player who has made a valuable contribution. Now he knows what the feathers mean.The Crooked Arrows are not shown playing, but they do start winning games, mostly against prep schools. The Onondaga who are shown in the credits as having played a major role in making the movie appear to be on their list of opponents. On the final day of the season, they meet up with Coventry. Jimmy gets hurt and Nadie offers to go in, but Jimmy plays through the pain to keep Nadie from getting hurt so badly she will never play again. While they are good enough to win, and they give an amazing effort, it is Coventry that will go the playoffs. However, the Crooked Arrows are not out, because another team lost that was supposed to win.But the Senuquot have lost. Mr. Geyer's work crews have destroyed the honored lacrosse field. Joe goes to him demanding to know what happened. Mr. Geyer is not concerned about respecting the Senuqout and his plans are even bigger than before. Joe risks his job to stand up to Mr. Geyer, saying other developers would love to have a casino on Senuquot land. And so the lacrosse field is merely restored using the same grass the Yankees use. Grandma isn't happy because she hates the Yankees.And so this team of losers that has transformed itself is one of the biggest stories in sports. The Crooked Arrows keep on winning. ESPN is covering the state title game against ... Coventry. By this time, the audience is aware of just how many state titles Coventry has, and Joe has shown Nadie the video where he intentionally messed up the final goal in the 1998 title game because he was tired of the way he was being treated. Joe is about to spoil Coventry's season one more time.It is a hard fought game, and Coventry's coach believes in winning at all costs. He is a poor sport and doesn't care how the players get it done, saying if they don't he will find someone who will. Still, the Crooked Arrows persist and Toby makes the winning play. They are state champs in lacrosse. Coventry's #15, who objected to his team's poor sportsmanship, congratulates his opponents.
  • 2012-05-18 Released:
  • N/A DVD Release:
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  • Steve Rash Director:
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