Director: Peter Landesman
Year Released: 2015
Nigerian-born coroner Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) - working out of Pittsburgh, PA (booo!) - discovers something peculiar in the brain tissue of deceased former football player Mike Webster (David Morse): a disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) that came as a result of playing center in the National Football League (NFL) - when Omalu (with the assistance of Cyril Wecht and Steven DeKosky) publishes the findings, the NFL seeks to discredit him (as if you didn't need another reason to despise Roger Goodell and Paul Tagliabue). It's slightly below-average as a Message Movie, taking it relatively easy on The League and turning the football players affected with brain trauma into possessed monsters, with the plot a little too neatly pieced together for what is actually a messy and ethically questionable situation (Sports Talk Radio regularly discusses whether or not it's proper for parents to allow their kids to play football). Despite the movie's failings, I do think it made The League pay attention, since during the 2016-2017 NFL season (I'm a fan - go Raiders!) there was a lot of talk from the broadcasters about player safety (instead of just celebrating crushing tackles) ... though how much this newfound attention-to-health will protect today's athletes and future players is yet to be decided. My favorite insult from a sports nut to Dr. Omalu: "You want to vaginize this country?" Actually ... yes, that would be lovely.