FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
If you want to see a great, feel-good movie that just happens to be about football, rent Remember the Titans. If you want to see a great movie that is football go see Friday Night Lights. It shows the relentless pressure to be perfect that is put on the high school players and coach by everybody in Odessa, Texas in 1988 ... and no doubt to the present day. I don't know how this director captured both the essence of football from the inside and the essence of small town mentality but that is what you experience when watching. It is gritty and at times unpleasant but drives home basic truths that are delivered by fabulous acting and editing.
Billy Bob Thornton was great as usual, playing the coach in an understated fashion that was very effective. We were really impressed by Tim McGraw's performance as a distinctly unsympathetic character and, not being country music fans, didn't recognize him as anything but an actor until the end credits rolled. My friend, Angie Bolling, was recognizable (to us anyway) as a booster wife sitting at the end of the table next to the coach (Billy Bob Thornton). She only had a couple of lines but it was fun to see her on the big screen. Most interesting of all was the fact that when it came to the "big game" ... and every movie like this comes down to the big game, doesn't it ... I had no clue who was going to win. That was something we all had in common. None of us had a clue which way the game would go. We were on the edge of our seats during the last part of the movie and you don't expect that from the typical sports movie.
I'm not sure I'll watch this movie again. Gritty, edgy movies aren't my preferred fare and I have to be "tricked" into watching by something like having a friend in them. However, it was well worth watching, provided a lot of conversation between all of us, and even generated a couple of catch phrases that may wind up permanently in our family repetoire. I highly recommend it.