Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Our Tribute to Great High School Football Movies

The weather is changing and you can really feel autumn in the air. The regular season is fast drawing to it's end. The post-season is fast approaching. THIS is high school football. Nothing can trump it this time of year.

D1 Football realizes the deep love of this great sport in all of the fans, players and coaches here in northeast Ohio. Our passion for the game, we believe, is unrivaled anywhere in the country. We all go back and forth about which teams are better. Who beat who and which teams will or won't make the playoffs, etc. As much as we all may disagree on issues, as we all have our own favorite teams and programs that we cheer for and support, WE ALL HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON AND IT IS THE UNDYING APPRECIATION OF HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL.

Hollywood has made several movies about high school football and we are all truly fans of these. We picked 5 of the most common that we want to salute for the part they play in the true fabric of America.

"Friday Night Lights"

is the 2004 movie that documents the coach and players of a high school football team and the Texas city of Odessa that supports and is obsessed with them. The book on which it was based, Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, was authored by H. G. Bissinger and follows the story of the 1988 Permian High School Panthers football team as they made a run towards the state championship. A television series inspired by the movie — also called Friday Night Lights — premiered on October 3, 2006 on NBC. This movie ranked number 37 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies

"Remember the Titans"

is a 2000 American sports drama based on true events and takes place in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1971, at brand new desegregated T.C. Williams High School. Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) is hired as head coach for the school's football team, taking the place promised to former head coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton). Yoast at first refuses Boone's offer of a position as assistant head coach, but then changes his mind. The black and white members of the football team clash in racially-motivated conflicts on a few occasions throughout their time at football camp, but after forceful coaxing and team building efforts by Coach Boone, the team manages to achieve some form of unity, as well as success.

The main conflict is taken to a personal level by the portrayal of the conflict between Gerry Bertier (Ryan Hurst) and Julius Campbell (Wood Harris), two players of equally outstanding athletic ability, but different ethnic backgrounds, who at first can't stand one another but eventually become sworn brothers (the turning point of their relationship becomes a focal point for the team in its racially divided ways giving way to true unity). Upon return from camp to school, the team runs through its regular season competition undefeated while battling the racial prejudice that was then typical of, though not exclusive to, the American South.

All American player Gerry Bertier is paralyzed in an automobile accident while celebrating one of the later team's victories. Although Bertier is no longer able to play, the team goes on to win the championship, setting an example for the town in the process. The football team wins the AAA State championship game in Roanoke, and is first runner up in the national championship. Bertier later goes on to win a gold medal in the shotput event at the Paralympic Games. Ten years later, the team reunites at the end of the film to attend Bertier's funeral, after he was killed in another auto accident.

"Varsity Blues"

is a 1999 film that follows a small-town high school football team and their focused coach through a tumultuous season. The players must deal with the pressures of adolescence and their football obsessed community while having their hard coach on their back constantly. In the small town of West Canaan, Texas, football is a way of life, and losing is not an option.

Varsity Blues drew a domestic box office gross of $53 million. Its budget was estimated at $16 million.


is a 1986 motion picture starring Goldie Hawn and costarring Jan Hooks and Swoosie Kurtz. It also features LL Cool J and is the first film to feature Wesley Snipes & Woody Harrelson. They also appeared together in White Men Can't Jump and Money Train.

Molly (Goldie Hawn), is the daughter of a famed football coach who's dying to head her own team. When her wish is finally granted, Molly leaves her job coaching girl's track at an affluent junior high to take over a football team at an inner-city high school (Central High School)--the kind of place where guard dogs are needed to patrol the campus. At first the new coach’s idealism and optimism are suffocated with racial and gender prejudice, but eventually her overriding spirit begins to whip her unruly team into shape. At the same time, she must also struggle to win a battle for the custody of her two young daughters.


"All the Right Moves"

is a 1983 drama/romance film directed by Michael Chapman and starring Tom Cruise, Craig T. Nelson, Lea Thompson, Chris Penn, and Gary Graham. It was filmed entirely on location during WPIAL football season in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and Pittsburgh. It joins Slap Shot as another sports film classic filmed in both locales.

He has everything at stake - He can't afford to lose - He's got to make all the right moves.

Tom Cruise's character, Steffen "Stef" Djordjevic, is a high school defensive back seeking a college football scholarship to escape an economically depressed small Pennsylvania town

Most of the film takes place after the big football game against undefeated Walnut Heights High School. Ampipe appears headed to win the game, when a fumbled handoff in the closing seconds leads to a Walnut Heights victory.

Following the game Coach Nickerson (Craig T. Nelson) lambastes the fumbler in the locker room, telling him he "quit". When Stef (Tom Cruise) retorts that the coach himself quit, the coach kicks him off the team. In the immediate aftermath of the game disgruntled Ampipe fans vandalize Coach Nickerson's home/yard. Stef is present and is a reluctant participant but is nonetheless seen by Coach Nickerson as the vandals flee. From there, Stef deals with personal battles, including dealing with the coach blacklisting him among colleges because of his attitude and participation in the desecration of Coach Nickerson's yard.

Meanwhile, Stef's teammates deal with personal battles as well, including one who decides to marry his pregnant girlfriend, and another arrested for armed robbery.

Later, Stef frustrated by what Nickerson did, angrily confronts his former coach. In the end, Nickerson realizes he was wrong for blacklisting Stef, and informs him that he's accepted a coaching position at Cal Poly. He also offers Stef a full scholarship in engineering.

These are some of our favorites and we pay them tribute for being part of the tradition that is high school football in America.

Give us your feedback if you have a favorite by responding to this post with your own comments below. We'd love to hear of other movies we may have missed.

To all of the teams in Northeast Ohio that will complete their regular seasons this weekend, thank you for another great season. To those teams that will move on into the post-season, Play hard, give 110% on the field for YOUR teams, schools, coaches and fans, but more importantly give 110% for yourselves gentlemen.

Good luck to all of you!


Anonymous said...

wildcats? that is the gayest football movie ever

D1 Football said...

Back then it had its moments!! LOL