Friday Night Lights

DVD Reviews | Mar 4th, 2005

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Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Tim Mcgraw, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez, Garrett Hedlund
Written By: Peter Berg, David Aaron Cohen
Directed By: Peter Berg
Studio: Universal Home Video
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The true story of a Texas high school football team, who have the job of trying to regain a winning legacy, at the same time living their dreams and fulfulling their destiny. The story takes place during the late eighties, and if you have never been to Texas, then you have no idea how serious they take their football down there. Not that I know either. It was a total shock to see how much of spectacle high school sports are down south. Action packed with excellent on-the-field camera work and interwined with the player’s stories, Friday Night Lights was a surprise to see and one of the better sports films out there.

Billy Bob Thornton plays Coach Gary Gaines, who has the duty of leading The Permian High Panthers of Odessa, Texas and help
them go on to glory as champions of the state of Texas. Thornton does a suberb job as Coach Gary Gaines and doesn’t make this
performance an “Oscar winner.” The point to his character is to blend in with the rest of his squad and not stand out as this grand standing “Best Actor.” Low key and more realistic, Thornton’s performance is more believable. Other actors that turn in great performances in this film are Tim Mcgraw, in a break-through performance as Charles Billingsley, an alcoholic father of Don Billingsley who plays for the Panthers. Mcgraw’s character was a former champion of the Permian High School team, and doesn’t take a second to remind his son that he won as a Panther and how come his son can’t. Every move he makes, Don Billingsley gets the brunt of his dad’s force whether it’s getting smacked and hit in front of his entire team at practice, or in his home in front of a naked girlfriend. You can obviously tell that the son does not want to play the game because his father has tortured him with it, and football is no longer fun for Don. You can also gather that from several other players who have this weight on their shoulders to exceed. The senior members of the squad have the inevitablity of moving on to college that means scholarships, and playing college ball. One such person is Boobie Miles, played by Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher,) who is the typical arrogant, and talented ass. He knows he can play and therefore is cocky and full of himself, big time. You really hate him during the movie. One reason why I don’t watch football to begin with because of atheletes like Boobie. Not until he suffers an injury, does he learn that all that skill and effort was just flushed down the toilet. Now, with no football, Boobie can’t get that big scholarship and probably doesn’t have a good education to fall back on. He learns real quick that football is everything. The other player that stood out as a troubled and torn athelete was Mike Winchell, played by Lucas Black. His heart is not totally in it, yet he is one of the captains and knows he has to play to get his mom and himself out of the Odessa. Forced to do the only thing he knows, Mike must keep on playing in hopes to get to college on a scholarship and also a degree.

The movie primarily revolves around the team’s struggles rather than winning and yes, there are a couple of typical sports
moments, like the tough local support and the abusive and involved parents, but Friday Night Lights is still a very interesting story. Paced well, the film deals more with the player’s life’s than the games themselves. Before you know it,
the season is almost over in the movie and on to the championships. The student’s that play, are treated like they would be professionals and that is in hopes to get them to that next level. To coach in the south, you may make more money than a principal which still amazes me. To make $60,000 dollars teaching high schooler’s a game, that is just unbelievable. Also featured in the movie, is a great soundtrack with a variety of music ranging from Public Enemy to Bad Company to Explosions in the Sky, who also helped score the film.

Friday Night Lights is an entertaining movie with great performances by Billy Bob Thorton, Tim McGraw and Derek Luke.
Football is a big sport down south and this movie helps show you the reality of it and how much people take the sport
seriously. To me, it’s just a game but for the folks down in Texas, this is their lives.

-Action Packed Deleted Scenes
-Tim McGraw: Off the Stage-The country music star’s transition to the silver screen.
-Player Cam: Experience first hand all the action that ensues when 40 actors/athletes live and work together for six wild weeks.
-The Story of the 1988 Permian Panthers Witness the real Friday Night Lights’ players and fans through the eyes of the cast and crew.

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
SPANISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo

Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)


Favorite Scenes: The one where Boobie gets injured…twice, practice, Boobie’s reaction in the Dr’s office, The final
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 117 minutes
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