Starring: Finn Wittrock, Sarah Bolger, Aaron Eckhart
I will admit right upfront, I am a sucker for football movies. Any Given Sunday, Remember the Titans, Rudy, Friday Night Lights,Varsity Blues, The Blind Side….loved them all. I knew, within a fair degree of certainty, that I would enjoy this movie well before the opening credits even began. Freddie Steinmark, is an underdog aspiring football star, going to High School in Colorado. His father pushes him to do his best in a style that rivals the most ardent fathers living vicariously through their offspring. What Freddie lacks in size he makes up for in tenacity. He embodies the phrase, even a small individual can cast a large shadow. As a real life Bobby Boucher(Waterboy ala Adam Sandler), Freddie earns the interest of legendary Texas football coach, Darrell Royal (Aaron Eckhart).
Freddie heads to Austin, with his girlfriend, Linda (Sarah Bulger), and dreams to make an impact and head to the pros. His old teammate and friend, Bobby Mitchell (Rett Terrell), along with new friend, gunslinging QB, James Street (Juston Street), rise through the ranks to make an impact on the new revolutionary wishbone offense.
This, however, is not a movie about an evil protagonist in the form of a rival team that gets overcome in the end. In fact, there is no anthropomorphic antagonist at all. At every turn, where I thought the movie was going to go into a standard convention, it made a right turn. Dad was hard on him, but Freddie embraced it. Freddie had the best attitude of any person I have ever seen. His girlfriend, Linda, is perfect and serves to show how in tune with life this young man was. Their chemistry was great. Even the star QB that gets displaced by Street does not become an enemy, he switches positions willingly.
Of course, all of this goodwill and pleasantness serves to set you up for the turn in the movie. I won’t go into spoilers but the heart-strings do get a few tugs in this one.
I enjoyed this movie because I knew nothing about the real life story and I found it refreshing that it didn’t play out in any of the classic conventions I assumed it would. I can’t comment on how true every aspect of the narrative was, but I can say without reservation, I really enjoyed this movie.