Director: Thomas Carter
Writers: Scott Marshall Smith and David Zelon
Cast: Jim Caviezel, Alexander Ludwig, Laura Dern, Michael Chiklis, Clancy Brown
Studio: SONY

“When The Game Stands Tall” wants you to believe in the commitment that a group of young boys can have under the command of an older man. The legendary De La Salle football team has achieved a 151 game win streak. For those that don’t follow sports, that hasn’t ever been accomplished in NCAA (college) or NFL (pro) history. Before you can yell Four Touchdowns in a Single Game, this movie heads into preachy territory. What it has to say isn’t bad and I hold a lot of the values close to my own life. It’s just…really?

Football in sports movies is always a metaphor for something bigger than yourself. Unfortunately, most of these movies bumble the subtext and spend the film hammering it over your head. You’re left with visions of “Rudy” and “Brian’s Song”, but ultimately you’re watching a copy of a copy of a copy. Sports can teach us many things about ourselves, but when did it become the end-all definition of Americana? That’s overlooking the push by the fundamentalists to claim this film as supporting their teachings.

I’ve been having a rough time with the inspired by true story films that SONY has been dropping for the last couple of quarters. While the facts presented here can be backed up with far more information than the last couple of similar SONY releases, I’m left far more troubled by the narrative. It’s a pandering effort to capture masculine attention at the start of Football Season by turning their beloved past time into a vehicle for their religious views. You go to many places on Sunday and there’s no reason to merge them all together for one stop convenience. This film will find an audience, I’m sure of that. I’m just not a part of it.


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