Friday Night Lights

Oct 102004
Authors: Andrew Nuth

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

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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