out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
Friday Night Lights
|*Also starring: ||Garrett Hedlund, Jay Hernandez, Lucas Black, Lee Thompson Young, Connie Britton, Tim McGraw, Lee Jackson, Josh Berry, Paul Wright, Dennis Hill, Kevin Page||
Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4
P> Based on what Sports Illustrated calls one of the top five sports
stories, this true tale chronicles an American subcultural phenomenon: the
obsession of local Friday Night football.
In 1988 in Ratliff Stadium in the economically depressed town of Odessa
in the West Texas desert, the perennial powerhouse, the Permian High School
Panthers, are determined to win their fifth state championship. For these
devoted young, multiracial athletes, their senior year is the pinnacle of their
lives - and each has a backstory - as does their embattled head coach Gary
Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton). There's the great running back Boobie Miles (Derek
Luke), troubled quarterback Mike Winchell (Lucas Black), Harvard-bound captain
Brian Chavez (Jay Hernandez), motivating middle linebacker Ivory Christian (Lee
Jackson), plucky third-stringer Chris Comer (Lee Thompson Young) and
fumble-prone tailback Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund), the tortured,
self-destructive son of a local legend (country singer Tim McGraw).
As the rabid adults live vicariously through their kids, the mania for
football can tear families apart or hold them together. Adapted by David Aaron
Cohen and Peter Berg from H.G. Bissinger's 1990 best-seller, and directed by
Peter Berg, "Friday Night Lights" not only captures the exhilaration of the
adrenaline-propelled gridiron action but also delineates how the intense
pressures of these communal rites and rituals affect the pivotal characters -
the obstacles to be overcome. Like "Hoosiers," "Miracle" and "Remember the
Titans." Even the Coach's compelling half-time speech, defining perfection,
rises above clichés. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Friday Night
Lights" is an impressive, inspirational 8 - focusing on honor and integrity.
Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger
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