When The Game Stands Tall

Starring: James Caveziel, Michael Chiklis, Laura Dern, Alexander Ludwig, Clancy Brown, Matthew Daddario
Directed By: Thomas Carter

It’s not a full on Jesus drama. I know it might look like it, and feel like it. On the DVD, I was treated to a lengthy promo for “Affirm Films”. It’s just the least interesting football drama I’ve seen in a long time. I miss the good football dramas like Varsity Blues, The Express, Rudy, Remember The Titans, and Friday Night Lights. this is nowhere near that. As a matter of fact, they don’t even lose the big game until the movie is over halfway over. There’s so much plot and getting to know people that we lose the big point of the film and we lose a lot of football.

I don’t like being preached to, especially through films. There’s a scene where Jim Caveziel lights up a cigarette, his first in the movie, and in the next scene has a heart attack. I get it. Smoking is bad for you. You don’t have to be heavy handed in delivering the message.

The other reason why this doesn’t work is because the film spends too much time on the adults, and the kids become background characters. A lot of them (especially Alexander Ludwig) are underdeveloped as a result. This is a high school football drama, and you need to focus on the players a lot more. We find out far too late into the film that Ludwig’s father is an asshole.

It’s one of the slowest football dramas I’ve ever seen. It is definitely guilty of being slow, uninspired, and basically pointless as a film. It never delivers on the promise of exploring what it’s like to bounce back from a devastating loss. The film isn’t about that at all. It’s about values and being a good person. It’s preachy. I don’t like preachy.

FINAL GRADE: D+

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