Entertaining Myself (Part Five).
Once again we depart from the usual drivel of me writing about Beijing (and fondling statues), and instead turn to meek, poorly worded film reviews for a little section I call Entertaining Myself. And this week, ladies and gentleman, we have a barnburner – Peter Berg’s Friday Night Lights.
I first saw this film when it came out about a decade ago, and time has not hurt it one little bit – but it is interesting to catch up with the non-fiction Mojo Panthers of Odessa, Texas after becoming addicted to the fictitious Dillon Panthers from the TV series of the same name.
The film focuses on the true story of the 1988 Odessa Panthers, a high school American football team full of talented young men in a Texas town dangerously obsessed with the sport. We watch the pressure these high school kids face from a town that demands nothing but the best (a state championship): the coach who’s entire livelihood changes on a week-to-week basis, the crazed former champion who lives his (alcoholic, violent) life through his son (an at times underperforming Panther), and the super talented Bubbie Miles, whose overconfidence masks a deeper concern: by putting all your eggs in the sporting basket, what happens if you get broken?
I loved this film when I saw it the first time, and nothing has changed. The acting is excellent (although I like the coach in the TV series far more that Billy Bob Thornton); the cinematography is truly spectacular, perfectly complimented by the soundtrack from musical geniuses Explosions in the Sky (who feature prominently in the TV series as well). The Pulitzer Prize book by H.G. Bissinger is well worth a read, the TV show (though different) is equally entertaining and moving, and the whole thing just crackles with energy.
5 Snapped ACL Ligaments out of a possible 5.