Displayed on a television screen, Rich Porter is a tragic enigmatic quarterback, celebrated and loved by most—including the Miami Dolphins, who have just selected him as their first-round draft pick. Rich is suddenly all over the news, but where is he really? We quickly meet a less glamorous, less desirable Rich, drunkenly stumbling around his apartment in the Philippines. Rich divides his time between playing football for a local team, and desperately searching for his mother, all while drowning himself in alcohol and a dead-end relationship. His intentions are noble, but his execution is poor. When things start to unravel for Rich, his plans and problems are abruptly put on hold. Now he must battle an unexpected illness and face his issues. This is a multi-layered story, with a multifaceted protagonist who also just so happens to be the antagonist.
At first, Rich is a pretty unlikable guy. He’s rude to his teammates, emotionally distant, careless, destructive and selfish, just to name a few. But when the onion is peeled, we find a guy who is just worried about his mom, living with shame and guilt, trying to figure things out—a lot like some of us. A relentless fellow who is trying so hard to scrape by, with only regret and frustration as fuel, brought down by an illness and forced to slow down and examine his life. What’s more, his new roommate, the ever-adorable, ever-optimistic young cancer patient Darrell, begins to scratch away his hard exterior a bit at a time. Playing what Darrell calls “100 Yards: The Magical Game that Heals”, Rich starts to open up, soften up, and develop genuine compassion for others. In the process, he finds his physical, spiritual, and emotional health improving.
This isn’t a ‘two-act’ sort of faith-based film, and that’s great. By that I mean that it’s not just part one, Rich is a meanie and part two, he’s a Christian now and everything’s fine. Viewers really get to witness the ups and downs of Rich’s journey, and at the end he’s still not perfect, but he is transformed. Playing the game with Darryl challenges him to be better, to be more thoughtful, careful, and intentional about the way he lives.
The characters, although they seem a bit convoluted or predictable at times, are more true to life, they’re realistic. A heartbroken nurse afraid to love again, a selfish party boy numbing his pain, a scared single mom scamming to get ahead, a foul-mouthed coach with a heart of gold—they’re not model citizens at all. What the film manages to do is display the good, bad and ugly; but instead of just writing the person off, it explores how the character got that way, why they made the choices they did, and how they ended up in those circumstances. Perhaps the best scene is when Rich extends grace to a person who hurt him. I think that’s the perfect encapsulation for the whole film: grace. Imperfect people getting second chances—to continue to play the game of life, continue to better themselves, and pursue God more diligently—a chance to go the full 100 yards.
The Dove Take: 100 Yards takes familiar parts and creates a new story of second chances. Filled with flawed characters, drama, and transformation, the film is a watch fit for entertainment and self examination. It’s not a film that writes people off; its a piece that sees individuals, flaws and beyond. The film reminds us that each day is a chance to make a new play, change something, do better—and eventually, run the full 100 yards.
100 Yards has been awarded the Dove-Approved Seal For Ages 18+ .