Here is yet another underdog sports’ story, this time with the
surprisingly clean-mouthed Billy Bob Thornton as the coach. “Friday
Night Lights” is based on the true story of the Permian Panthers
from Odessa, Texas, and their 1988 season.
In a city where everyone eats, breathes and sleeps football, the
Panthers are the pride of the town. Shops close on Fridays so
everyone can watch the game and their whole world revolves around
football, and winning football games. Coach Gary Gaines, played by
Thornton, is heavily pressured and criticized by the
football-crazed men and women of the town to have the best high
school football team in Texas.
Many of the townspeople are unlike-able because they base so
much of their lives on the high school football team, and take all
their aggression for losses out on the coach. Coach Gaines is
surprisingly likable, Gaines is tough, fair, inspirational and most
surprisingly: well mannered.
Despite Thornton’s out-of-character performance, which was
impressive, “Friday Night Lights” is a stereotypical sports movie.
The star of the team gets hurt, and the team has to pull together
to make it through the season without him.
The town of Odessa typifies the small-town American attitude
toward football. There are many towns around the country where
people are completely wrapped up in the achievements of the high
school football team. Those not used to this lifestyle may find
“Friday Night Lights” shocking.
At times, “Friday Night Lights” seemed like it was turning into
a documentary. While this wasn’t a bad thing, as it helped to
develop the characters, it didn’t fit in with the rest of the film.
Often, it caused the movie to be choppy and not flow from one scene
to the next. The football games were filmed as if it was an action
movie, but when there was dialogue outside of the games it moved
slowly as if the actors were explaining to the camera. The two
styles didn’t mesh.
While the story of the Permian Panthers is a good one, it
doesn’t make that exciting of a movie. Don’t expect to see much
different than every other sport-themed, hidden life message
Two out of four rams