Untimely Reviews: “Friday Night Lights”

    This is a feature of my "blog" I call "Untimely Reviews".  The hype for movies come and go but the movies sit on shelves forever.  In my case, the movie "Friday Night Lights" appeared on cable, where it will no doubt be rerun until no one cares about it anymore.  So "Friday Night Lights" was a 2005 movie and now that it is the summer of 2006, The word on the street about this movie is said and done.  The word on the Internet, however, is still talking. 

    By now the filter of time may have separated this movie from rest of the movie (about football).  Last year, when I hadn't seen "Friday Night Lights", the movie was about the tough world of high school football in Texas and the greatness of the game.  Now,  "Friday Night Lights" is about how crappy high school football is in Texas.  The film is not crap, just the way Texans worship high school football.

    The film starts pre-season at some crappy town in the crappy part of west Texas.  We see how the townspeople, albeit regular folk, obsess over their high school football team.  The players get free food and lots of heavy handed encouragement to "win state".  I wonder what they think of junior high sports?  The town is a hot, barron, wasteland.  For one, the school sucks; all the money went to pay for an enormous football stadium.  For another, there is apparently no other draw to the town; all the highschool players yearn for a way out of town.  (Why doesn't anyone in these small town movies just move?  I grew up in a small town and all I had to do was pack some of my things in a mini-van and, voila, I was outta' there.)   So these players having nothing to live for except football and even that fills their lives with stress as everyone is on their asses about winning.

    The big event that stirs up the real story in this movie is the career ending injury of the star player, "Boobie".  When I say injury, I mean a few players from the opposing team double team "Boobie" and tear his ACL.  (ACL stands for "A Crappy Ligament".) 

ACL

The team has to continue without "Boobie" and "Boobie" has to continue without his dream of leaving crappy old west Texas.  Somehow, the team struggles to get to the state championship game.  "Boobie" is still screwed.

    In between scenes of character development there are the football games.  Realistic fun, right?  I hope not.  I didn't play high school football and have the ACL to prove it, but these games seem way too rough.  The scenes are full of blood, violence, bad sportsmanship, assault and battery, more blood, and terrible hurting.  Maybe if I were bigger and had less regard for others, then ripping ACLs would be fun.  This movie makes football look like a tense sport played only for the sake of getting college scholarships. 

    In truth, I did play a "friendly" game of football with some friends during college.  I tackled my upperclassman roommate, laid my foot on his prone body, and held the football like a trophy.  Turns out he had a broken ankle from the fall, something I was reminded of by his crutches for months.  Oh yeah, there was that other time when some guy tried to pick a fight with me during one of these "friendly" matches.  He was eyeing my ACL the entire game.  I learned my lesson and switched to intramural volleyball, which was tons more fun. 
   
    The moral of the story of  "Friday Night Lights" ?  Football sucks.  Don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys and don't let them play football, especially not in Texas.  Raise them to be volleyball players or swimmers and such.

"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing" – Vince Lombardi

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