HOPE COMES ALIVE.
In 1988, the small town of Odessa, Georgia worships at the altar of the Church of Football as the local high school team faces big hurdles. Peter Berg got his breakthrough as director with this beautifully produced, heartbreakingly realistic (and reality-based) portrayal of the young men and the coach who feel the pressure of an entire community on their shoulders as they prepare for the upcoming games. The balance between what’s positive and negative about this is intelligently and passionately presented by the filmmakers. Billy Bob Thornton delivers a solid performance and he’s surrounded by many fine, young talents.
2004-U.S. 117 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Brian Grazer. Directed by Peter Berg. Screenplay: Peter Berg, David Aaron Cohen. Novel: H.G. Bissinger. Cast: Billy Bob Thornton (Gary Gaines), Derek Luke (Boobie Miles), Jay Hernandez (Brian Chavez), Lucas Black, Garrett Hedlund, Tim McGraw.
Trivia: Alan J. Pakula was allegedly set to direct the film, but died before production started. Followed by a TV series, Friday Night Lights (2006-2011).
Last word: “You really don’t [have to be a football fan] because at the end of the day, the movie is about people’s hopes and dreams becoming obsession and so narrow, that you have no future if something happens to that, which I think is a pretty universal theme. Also I think sports’ movies inherently are made for cinema, because you have built in drama, a ticking clock of some sort, and to see a sporting event as a backdrop to a movie, you’re seeing two things because you’re seeing the sporting event and movie at the same time, just when you go see a football game, it’s almost like you’re watching a movie. So I think those 2 are a pretty good marriage, which is why I think sports’ movies tend to do ok.” (Thornton, Dark Horizons)