12 Mighty Orphans is based on a true story set in 1930’s depression era Texas. It stars Luke Wilson as Rusty Russell, an orphan himself, who moves his wife and daughter to an orphanage to teach and coach football. His wife, Juanita (played by Vinessa Shaw), while not excited at first, quickly adapts to her new family of orphans.
Of course, things are far from perfect at the orphanage. The boys are all in fear of the print shop teacher, Frank Wynn (played by Wayne Knight, best known as Newman of Seinfeld) and for good reason. Mr. Wynn likes to use a wooden paddle on the boys any time he feels the urge.
Russell wants to get the boys out on the field from day one. The big obstacle of getting the team in the league however, is that the boys must be able to pass a written academic test. Russell and Juanita spend time getting the boys prepped to take the test. Only 12 boys pass the test and are allowed to form the team.
Despite all the struggles of forming the team and getting the league to allow them to join, the orphan team still has to overcome their own struggles with themselves and each other. In the end, the boys succeed despite their smaller size and learn to work together and become a family, the only one they have.
I very much enjoyed 12 Mighty Orphans. It is a period piece, which I love. It has the underdog that can be embraced and a heart warming story of courage, determination, hope, and positivity.
As always, Enjoy Movie Night!