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War Eagle, Arkansas (DVD Review)

9 Nov, 2011 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Box Office $0.12 million
$24.95 DVD
Rated ‘PG-13’ for language and sexual references.
Stars Brian Dennehy, Mary Kay Place, Mare Winningham, Luke Grimes, Dan McCabe.

Many people who grow up in small, rural towns feel confined by what little is in store for them, so much so that they’ll take the first opportunity that arises to get out of Dodge.

Enoch Cass (Luke Grimes) isn’t one of those people. A high school senior with a bright future, he can’t fathom life outside of the Ozark Mountain community where he was born and raised. Not even the promise of a full-ride baseball scholarship to Tennessee South University is reason enough to leave. Enoch’s mother (Mare Winningham) and grandpa (Brian Dennehy) are stuck in the same place and wish that he would be the one to break the cycle.

Though a star pitcher, Enoch talks with a stammer and only has one friend, Wheels (Dan McCabe), his quick-witted, wheelchair-bound sidekick. Interestingly enough, Wheels is the more charismatic personality who does most of the talking. Most of Enoch’s trepidation to branch out stems from his concern for Wheels and what it would be like for him without a go-to pal around the corner. When Enoch gets a girlfriend (Misti Traya), Wheels understandably gets jealous. At that point, the disparity between the two is clearer than ever.

Given the context, I imagined that the characters of War Eagle, Arkansas would exhibit some intense emotions. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see enough of that, even in cases where it’s warranted. I wanted to be moved but, alas, was not.

Seeing the real-life men on whom the story is based, however, was a nice supplement to the film. The bonus material includes a quick featurette, “The Real Enoch and Wheels,” showcasing home video footage of the pair. It’s heartwarming to see that their friendship has remained rock solid all these years later, in spite of their differences.

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