Friday Night Lights
In this football drama based on the book by H.G. Bissinger, Gary Gains (Billy Bob Thornton) is the coach of Odessa’s Permian High School Panthers, the most successful football team in Texas in the 1980s. In this town, football is not just a game. It’s a way of life. Parents’ hopes and dreams for their sons are that their team will make it to the state championship, giving them a shot at football scholarships. The pressure is so great for these young men to perform that they sometimes play when they’re hurt. Football coaches are forced to move when they do not produce a winning team. Every Friday night, the faithful fans fill the 20,000-seat Ratliff Stadium to cheer their team on to victory. But the pressure is too great for some of these young men, and they are pushed toward the breaking point.
Here is a film that could have been very family-friendly but it seems to have purposefully avoided it by injecting unnecessary vulgar language and sexual escapedes of high school age kids. The end message of the film was good. The writing was good. The acting was good. The photography direction was terrible. It seemed that the camera could not stay focused on a scene or shot for more than two or three seconds. The director relied on the staccato photography to set the pace, tone, and “excitement” of the film. It was very distracting, annoying and made the film difficult to focus on and to follow. The entire film seemed to be edited like a coming attraction or trailer. I don’t like those either.
The film was based on a true story in Texas where football rules. It was everything to this little town and they made sure the players and coaches knew it. It really was sad to see that for most of the town, winning was everything. The coach knew differently and tried to inject his philosophy into the players.
The big hype of comparing this film to the PG-rated film Remember the Titans is far fetched. I have seen Remember the Titans, and believe you me, Friday Night Lights is no Remember the Titans. It doesn’t even come close.