Coming to Bluray and Digital from director Ric Roman Waugh and STX Films is the story of college sports and a different kind of win with NATIONAL CHAMPIONS.
A big college championship football game has come to town as the coaches, players and everyone involved spend a few days before preparing. Coach James Lazor (J.K. Simmons) is a coach who has been waiting for the day that his team wins the National Championship. His quarterback LeMarcus James (Stephan James) and Emmett Sunday (Alexander Ludwig) have other plans.
LeMarcus makes the announcement that he will not play until college athletes are fairly compensated for what they do. Upset that everyone off the field makes billions of dollars, LeMarcus, supported by Emmett, makes it clear there will be no run onto the field until it happens.
Coach Lazor learns from Richard Everly (David Koechner) that LeMarcus is not even in the hotel and is talking to other players to follow his lead. Mark Titus (Jeffrey Donovan) knows what must be done and brings in the big legal guns with Katherine Poe (Uzo Abuda). As LeMarcus continues on his mission, the press and social media catch on to what is happening, and it blows up.
As Titus tries to reign in the problem, Katherine begins digging into LeMarcus’ medical history and life bringing problems he could not imagine. Coaches’ wife Bailey (Kristin Chenoweth) picks now to inform her husband that she is leaving to ‘go find herself’, she does not tell him it is with Elliott Schmidt (Timothy Olyphant), a professor at their university.
Trying to bring the game back on track, sides are pushed, secrets are revealed, and decisions are made that are not because of money or fame.
Simmons as Coach Lazor is excited and believes he has a winning team to bring to the National Championship. What he does not know right away is that his star quarterback is about to bring dreams crashing down. Simmons plays a man that does not see a lot of things coming not only in his football life but personal life as well. Believing things would work themselves out as the game comes closer, it is not until he comes face to face with his player do the two men understand each other and not for the better.
James as LeMarcus is a young man who is tired of watching other people make a lot of money based on his performance. He may not have been prepared for those who went digging into his life, but he did participate in doing the same thing himself and it is who helps him that is shocking. When the fight gets dirtier and dirtier, LeMarcus must decide how far he is willing to go and what it will cost not himself, but others.
Abuda as Katherine is a woman who is all about her job and is going to do it well. Even though she has moments where she considers what is happening, it is the scene between Katherine, LaMarcus and Emmett that is startling, moving and painful to hear about. Abuda gives us the duality of her character and it is powerful.
Donovan as Titus is not about to play games with LeMarcus and does not have any problem with dredging up the past. It is the game and only the game that matters as Donovan gives us a cool and collected man who is laser focus the business of football. Koechner as Everly is trying to protect Coach, keep Titus happy and find out where LeMarcus is and what it will take to get him back on the field.
Chenoweth as Bailey is a football widow who has finally had enough. Not choosing the best time to decide what to do about her marriage, she makes a decision that is going to turn on her. Olyphant as Elliott is playing a dangerous game in many ways and I will leave it at that!
Other cast include Tim Nelson as Rodger Cummings, Andrew Bachelor as Taylor Sheridan and appearances by Russell Wilson, Malcolm Jenkins, Jemele Hill, Mike Greenberg, French Montana, Karl-Anthony Towns and Steve Levy.
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Bonus Features include Behind the Scenes, The Music and more!
NATIONAL CHAMPIONS is a film that takes on the issue of college sports and the money that is made off those who play sports without pay. There is a trifecta story happening here with the players, the coaches and those who make sure the money is made. LeMarcus wants to end the ‘no pay for play’ attitude for college athletes, the coaches just want to win at all costs and the money men want more and more to keep butts in the seats.
The story is so intense as LeMarcus tries to make everyone see that there is something wrong with the system believing that the only way to do that is to not play. Sometimes that is what has to happen to make those with money actually listen!
In the end – it is student athletes against billions of dollars!