The Story of a Winner

230px-One_on_one1977Warner Brothers Entertainment has done something revolutionary with DVD technology, allowing 150 of their catalog films to be purchased on DVD at your special request. This series is called “The Warner Archive Collection.”

While there are no special features on these DVDs, a pristine widescreen picture is all a film really needs, right?

“One on One” [1977] is one of the select films that Warner chose to release.

You don’t have to be a sports fan to love “One on One,” but you have to understand what it is to crave something with all your heart.

Robby Benson (“Ice Castles”) gives a marvelous performance as Henry Steele.

Steele is a talented young basketball player that accepts a scholarship at Western University.

He soon discovers that being a jock comes with many perks, including do-nothing jobs around campus for absorbent amounts of cash. Despite the fact that he is serious about his studies, he doesn’t have to attend classes when it interferes with practice.

Enter, his tutor, Janet Hays, played by Annette O’Toole (“It”). She feels that he is just another dumb jock trying to score easy answers. O’Toole and Benson create a believable love/hate relationship, offering another pleasant dimension for the film.

After being introduced to this fascinating world and these characters through the first half of the film, the second half is where Steele’s love of basketball is put on the line. After a few bad games, his sadistic coach, played by G.D. Spradlin (“Nick of Time”), asks him to renounce his scholarship.

His refusal causes his life to become a living hell.

The coach tries to break him every chance he gets, never giving Steele a fair shot in practice. He endures, however, creating a character that is reminiscent of Rocky Balboa, but is younger, far more intelligent and forced to prove himself against even more insurmountable odds than the “Italian Stallion.”

Regardless of what obstacle stands in his way, Steele refuses to be broken- that gives the film many awe-inspiring moments.

This is a hero worth rooting for.

That also makes “One on One” a real treat.

Spradlin’s performance also concocts one of the greatest on-screen villains and gives the film the air of brevity and depth it needs to thrive.

A well done soundtrack by Seals and Croft also creates a heartfelt and warm ambiance to the film that never loses sight of the story.

While “One on One” is far from perfect, as a few scenes give you the distinction of the 70s, with leisure suits and part scenes sprinkled throughout, the bulk of the movie is about our young hero Steele and his journey for glory.

Because of that, one thing is for sure- this is a winner.

About Anthony Benedetto 1 Article
I have always had a tremendous passion for the cinema. For me, movies provide a great escape. When done right, the characters and stories are something that I am instantly drawn into. Over the years, I’ve unintentionally become a movie encyclopedia that I often find myself the recipient of late night phone calls from my friends while at Blockbuster [One such conversation between the Editor of this site and the film “Redbelt” immediately comes to mind.] As far as my preferences go however, I love both the cult cinema and the classics. My love of film ranges from features such as “Amadeus” to “Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl-A- Rama.” I have a long range of film heroes as well that include, Michael J. Fox, Lloyd Kaufman, Robby Benson, Michael Caine and Jeff Bridges. On this site, I hope to teach people about cult cinema and have them rent films that they normally would not, turning you into the monster that I have become. Someday, I hope to be the star and director of my cult film, employing the old stop motion techniques used in films like “Flesh Gordon.”

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