National Champions

Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Year Released: 2021
Rating: 1.5

Days before the National Championship game in college football, Heisman Trophy winner LeMarcus James (Stephan James) - who's slated to go #1 in the NFL Draft - decides to protest the game because he feels student athletes should be paid for what they do; his coach (J.K. Simmons) tries to talk him out of it ... as well as other players following James' lead.  While it does bring up a very relevant topic and has some interesting points along the way from both "sides" - it's mentioned that the football program "pays" for other less popular sports, for example - the movie might have made a stronger case if James' character was a little more morally upstanding (he has an iffy history: he's a COVID super-spreader, he blinded a kid, his knee is bad and he never told anyone, etc.) and it would have been nice if this didn't turn into sanctimonious soap-box ranting (and, inevitably, an ugly comparison to slavery that is way too complex for it to handle).  I'm sorry, but there's absolutely no way a lot of these prominent athletes don't get "perks" from boosters and other wealthy affiliated individuals ... because I've been told they do.