If you ever wondered what became of Ben Affleck's Good Will Hunting character after Matt Damon went to see about a girl, it appears he followed his buddy to the coast and became a high school basketball coach.
Looking almost unrecognizable in a Just for Men-perfect beard, Affleck plays Jack Cunningham, a former high school basketball star who has spent the rest of his life trying to drown his demons in alcohol. As fate would have it, the head coaching job happens to open at his alma mater after the previous coach suffers a heart attack (echoes the Hoosiers plot) and Cunningham reluctantly takes the job.
Cunningham discovers the Bishop Hayes basketball program to be in equal disrepair as his personal life, and immediately splashes his new team in the face with the cold water of reality. As the film progresses, Cunningham teaches Bishop Hayes how to play as a team, leading the players to discover something in themselves they didn't know they had -- and, wouldn't you know it, ol' Jack finds something in himself, too.
The "down-on-his-luck coach turns around a losing team" story is as old as sports movies themselves, done expertly by Hoosiers, Bad News Bears and Mighty Ducks. We've also seen A-list actors take on the hardscrabble coach role, like Gene Hackman in the aforementioned Hoosiers, Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans and Samuel L. Jackson in Coach Carter.
But never before have we seen a bearded Ben Affleck try his hand at this material.
So, what do we think -- thumbs up or thumbs down?