Rated PG; 3.5 stars
Based-on-fact inspirational sports story, set in the late '50s/early '60s, focusing on Ernie Davis, the first black player to win college football's coveted Heisman Trophy. Rob Brown (Finding Forrester
) plays Davis as a grown-up and does a good job conveying the character's cheerful, but fiercely determined approach to sports/life. His struggle is mostly against overwhelming and overt racism and the manner in which he deals with it is part of why the film works. He also must deal with coach Ben Schwartzwalder (Dennis Quaid, in an excellent minimalist performance), a cranky son of a bitch. The Express
doesn't transcend its genre, but it works well within it. 129 minutes.