Program, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2 1/2

The E.S.U. football program hasn't been a Top Ten bowl contender in three years. Coach Sam Winters (James Caan) has been pressured by the school, the alumni and the public to produce a winning team this year. The football program attracts the finest players in the country from a variety of backgrounds. Joe Kane (Craig Sheffer), star quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful, has a drinking problem, a very poor self-image and an alcoholic father who has never seen him play. Freshman tailback Darnell Jefferson (Omar Epps) comes from a very poor family and has severe academic problems. Coach Winters must use harsh discipline dealing with Joe, who takes life-threatening risks off the field, and another player caught taking steroids. In a dual role of inspirational father figure or cruel dictator, Coach pushes his team to the max. The final championship game is heartbreaking for some and thrilling for others. With plenty of action, pathos and humor, THE PROGRAM has all the characteristics of good entertainment.

This inside look at how college football programs operate, the pressures to perform well, to make passing grades and to uphold a positive image on campus will make TV football more meaningful for most "couch potatoes" this fall. During play, both teams spew out obscenities and profanities as they face one another on the field and fight off-field. The player on steroids becomes violent when a girl refuses to have sex with him, and he attempts to rape her. He also smashes car windows with his head after a game. His attempts to get off steroids are unsuccessful. Kane's constant battle with alcoholism almost destroys his dreams and chances for happiness with the girl he loves. Many positive messages of overcoming adversity, trust, and team spirit shine through the heap of obscenities and profanities which prevent a positive acceptability rating.

Preview Reviewer: Jane Evans
Buena Vista Distribution, 3900 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91521

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (19) times - Moderate 8, Mild 11

Obscene Language: Many (43) times (f-word 20, s-word 19, other 4)

Profanity: Several (9) times - Regular 8, Exclamatory 1

Violence: Several - Moderate and Severe (barroom fights, football injuries, one attempted rape; smashing windows and bloody head cuts

Sex: None

Nudity: Near nudity (player bares part of buttocks for injection)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Few times (steroid use, alcohol drinking, drunkenness)

Other: Players accept bribes from alumni; attitude that winning is more important that fair play

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