Michael Ritchie, USA, 1977, 35mm, 107m

One of New American Cinema’s great satirists, Michael Ritchie elaborates on the theme of winning explored in The Candidate and Smile in this unlikeliest of romantic comedies: a send-up of the self-improvement “human potential movement” set in the world of professional football, adapted from Dan Jenkins’s 1972 novel by veteran screenwriter Walter Bernstein. NFL stars Billy Clyde (Burt Reynolds) and Shake Tiller (Kris Kristofferson) find their friendship increasingly complicated when their team manager Big Ed (Robert Preston) forces them to accept his independent daughter Barbara Jane (Jill Clayburgh) as their new roommate. While Billy Clyde is all macho, Shake is exploring his sensitive side through a new self-realization therapy, but when Shake and Barbara Jane get together, will three be a crowd? Featuring a pre-10 Brian Dennehy and a post-Rocky Carl Weathers.

Followed by:

The Longest Yard
Robert Aldrich, USA, 1974, 35mm, 122m

Sentenced to one year in a Florida State Prison for drunk driving, former NFL star Crewe (Burt Reynolds) is blackmailed by the warden (Eddie Albert) to help train the guards’ football team who are intent on winning an upcoming semi-professional championship. Crewe organizes a team of hulking convicts to give the guards’ team a warm-up match that’s more than they bargained for. One of ex-college-football player and self-professed football nut Robert Aldrich’s personal favorites, this bone-crunching machismo blowout is comedy at its toughest and down and dirtiest, a kind of exuberant behind-bars redo of The Dirty Dozen with all director’s trademark anti-authoritarianism front and center. Featuring Ed Lauter, Michael Conrad—and Bernadette Peters as the warden’s secretary!