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Varsity Blues

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Varsity Blues

Starring: James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight
Director: Brian Robbins
Rated: R
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: January 1999
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Sports





Review by MrBrown
1 star out of 4

Anyone who misses the heyday of the afterschool special will certainly enjoy this banal tale of self-fulfillment, juiced up with enough alcohol and sleaze to earn an R rating. James Van Der Beek, he of _Dawson's_Creek_ fame, plays John "Mox" Moxon, a benchwarming high school football player in West Canaan, Texas who becomes a reluctant star after the star quarterback (Paul Walker) is sidelined with an injury. But Mox doesn't want to be a star; in fact, he doesn't really want to be a football player, either, reading novels instead of playbooks, which draws the evil eye of the maniacal coach, Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight), who will stop at nothing to secure another division championship.

Watching _Varsity_Blues_, I was reminded of the Mariah Carey song "Hero," one of whose passages goes, "When you feel like hope is gone/Look inside you and be strong/Then you'll finally see the truth/That a hero lies in you." That's exactly the arc Mox goes through, as he overcomes a threat to his dream of attending Brown University by looking inside himself and finding his heroic nature. If that weren't cornball enough, there's everything else that surrounds the main story. Most ridiculously, there's the town's obsession with high school football; it seems that everyone's life--male, female, young, old, all points in between--revolves around the doings of the team. The one possible exception is Mox's younger brother, who, in the film's lamest subplot, is constantly trying on new religions. The film's most insulting subplot revolves Mox's fellow player Wendell (Eliel Swinton). Apparently, he's the only African-American in the entire lily-white town, which can only mean one thing--yep, a token racism thread, used to make the already blatantly bad Coach Kilmer appear even worse.

This is Van Der Beek's first film role after achieving stardom as Dawson, and the most I can say for his work in this film is that his shorter, darker hairdo makes his head appear less box-shaped. Still, that's more than I can say for everyone else in the accent-challenged cast or the crew.

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