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Review: Friday Night Lights

October 16, 2004 at 12:22 PM
Friday Night Lights

Christina and I went to see "Friday Night Lights" last night, it was entertaining and pissed me off at the same time. The H.G. Bissinger book the movie is based on is easily one of my all-time favorites, I read it several times while I was in middle school and high school. The book does an amazing job telling the story of the Permian High School football team and it's players, but it's just as much a story about the city of Odessa, Texas.

So I went into the movie with very high expectations and a good knowledge of the story. The movie failed on both accounts. It was a good movie and if you're interested you should still see it, but if you've read the book you might go ahead and pass.

The movie focuses on almost completely on the football side of things, while also doing a good job of developing the relationships and emotions of the individual kids. The interaction between Don Billingsley and his father (actually played very well by Tim McGraw) is one of the best parts of the movie. The sad story of Boobie Miles doesn't do justice to the gut-wrenching truth of the boy's life.

For some odd reason, the movie screwed up a lot of facts for no apparent reason. Stuff that should happen midseason, happens in the very first game. The team's season ends differently but in the same way. The story of the actual game was pretty similar, but it was a different game. Damn, it's hard to explain without spoiling the movie.

Rating: 3.5/5

Buy the book!

But as usual the biggest thing that pisses me off about every sports movie rears it's ugly head again late into "Friday Night Lights." For some odd reason, sports movies almost always fail to actually consult any actual freaking athletes before they release the movie. I have feeling that they have people involved early in the process, but then in the editing room morons screw everything up when they cut and reorder things. Well this movie manages the football aspects of things for almost the entire time, no random-ass trick plays that are blatantly impossible or illegal and no 380 pound linemen getting the ball. But in the final game, they seem to forget basic logic. On an incomplete pass, the clock is running. On a run up the middle, the clock is stopped. Some plays take literally zero time off the clock. And I'll go ahead and mention that despite there being less than a minute to go in the game, they repeatedly run the ball. Unbelievable and no reason for it at all. They could have easily used correct clock management and had the story and game unfold the exact same way.

That should be my new profession. Sports movie screener. Make your movie and before you release this on the unsuspecting public, I get to watch it and tell you how you repeatedly screwed up. Or I can just punch the people responsible for this crap in the face. Either way works.

If you like football or are from Texas you should definitely go see "Friday Night Lights." It was enjoyable but not overly accurate. It missed a chance to be great, but it's certainly a serviceable film.

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