Everybody's All-American (1988) Poster

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More than just a sports movie
tj_mower11 November 2005
This movie is more than just a football movie, or a character study of an athlete that can't hang up his shoes. It's a movie about friendship, glory, and how you can't hang on and stop time. It's a theme that's echoed in the civil rights back story as well. Wonderfully acted, this movie always makes me a little sad for Gavin and the gang. No matter how hard they try, they just can't recapture the good times and glory of yesteryear. Whether those good times are scoring on the field, or in love. Tim Hutton, Jessica Lange, and Dennis Quaid all give great performances. This movie is often underrated and overlooked in lists of great sports movies.
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Well Done!
bball1dad21 July 2003
My favorite line in the movie is a colloquy towards the end between Cake's (the academic)girlfriend and Gavin. She offhandedly, and almost sarcastically, remarks to Gavin that he can't "let the old team down". With profound seriousness he responds "Honey,I never did". For those of us who have starred on the athletic field, this sentiment often drove us. For me, this movie realistically captured the experience of being an athletic hero. As I tell my young atheletes who I now coach, no matter what tribulations and setbacks may befall you; no one can ever take away from them what they have achieved on the field. I recommend the movie.
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Thoroughly underrated
brusty116 November 2004
Even though I do not watch sports anymore, I used to watch them quite a lot and will still watch this movie whenever it's on TV. Definitely one of the best sports films of all time, realistic and superbly acted, this film follows a quarterback hero and his "trophy" wife from college to well beyond retirement. Topics of love, friendship, fidelity, aging and loyalty are all dealt with in profound ways. Dennis Quaid and Jessica Lange give probably their best performances ever and the supporting cast does not disappoint. It is melodramatic, but it comes from a place of integrity instilled in the writing and direction of the film. If you're a guy and in the mood to watch something both you and your girl can enjoy, I would highly recommend renting this. It's too bad that so many below average sports movies get more praise than they deserve and lesser known films like this one fall by the wayside. 9/10
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A movie that speaks of life.
curtclevenger9 March 2000
This film tells the story of anyone who has looked back on their life with fondness, embarrassment, nostalgia, sorrow, joy, and any other emotion you can think of. Dennis Quaid does some of his finest work as an All American college football player who is a superstar in spite of himself. While he enjoys the spotlight and all that goes with it to a certain extent, he just wants everyone to accept him for who he is. Jessica Lange does her usual stand out job portraying a prototype southern debutante who starts out happy to be her man's woman, but as time goes on discovers herself. Timothy Hutton plays the cousin to Quaid's character and finds himself woven into the lives of the born to be together couple. John Goodman turns in a great performance as a friend and teammate to the "Grey Ghost" that coincides with the beginning of his long running role as the quintessential suburban husband to Roseanne. While this film is entertaining to the sports fan, it also appeals to anyone who wishes they might have done things differently. If the ending doesn't grab you just a little, you're not human.
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one of THE greatest films I have seen
ophelia-101 April 1999
I started to watch this movie on HBO non commitedly but soon found myself engrossed. Nothing else was on so I kept watching. I was struck by the brilliant performance of Dennis Quaid and my heart broke for his character Gavin. I have rarely felt this kind of emotion when viewing a film and was overwhelmed with it. I had never before thought of Dennis Quaid as anything other than the funny guy from Undercover Blues and I was taken aback at his acting. I wept at the end and I felt every kind of emotion it is possible to feel. I cannot even express in words how I was blown away by this superb film and all of the actors involved in it.
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The Good & Bad Of 'Everybody's All-American'
ccthemovieman-124 August 2007
I like football. I like most of the cast in this film. Does that mean I enjoyed the movie? No, this modern-day soaper was filled with mostly unlikable characters and an appealing story for my tastes, even though it had some very good points.

In a nutshell, it's about an ex-college football star who doesn't know what to do when his playing days are over and nobody is cheering him anymore.

To me, on the negative side were the melodramatic clichés of the typical (for movies) unhappy marriage (a Louisiana State University football star and its Homecoming Queen ), the standard (for movies) adulterous affairs, the normal (for movies) lectures about race and in particular, the South; the tale of real and not-so-real friends, the predictable getting-back together routine, blah, blah, blah. Add in some fake Southern accents, too.

On the more positive side, Dennis Quaid plays "Gavin Grey" of the title role. The story concentrates mostly on the downside of his life, picking up 20 years later when he's not so famous anymore and a life of gridiron fame never materialized after a promising start. The sad thing is, there are real-life stories like this, probably more than we know. So, I am not knocking the film for its story. Many college and professional athletes go into "the real world" unprepared, just as many beautiful Homecoming Queens are unprepared for life because their fabulous looks - not their personality or character - opened a lot doors for them.

"Grey" winding up telling old sports glory stories to drunks at a restaurant is the same as Jake LaMotta doing it in "Raging Bull" and "Rocky Balboa" doing the same in Sylvester Stallone's recent role.

Jessica Lange plays the ditzy Homecoming queen who bears four kids and then becomes a good businesswomen. She isn't the most faithful, loving wife. And, at 39 years of age when she made the film, a little too old to be playing a college kid.

Quaid and Lange, though, are fine in their performances, but supporting actors John Goodman and Timothy Hutton were the most interesting, in my humble opinion.

Overall, so-so as a sports-soap opera. It's not a film I have ever been interested in viewing a second time.
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Among the most underrated movies --
p36mohawk3 September 2001
As I recall this movie was panned by the critics and was a box office

bomb when it was released in '88 but I consider it one of the best films in recent years and one of the best sports movies of all time.

Gavin Grey is a '50s LSU football star who has few interests or talents off the field. He's seen as a shallow. but basiclly decent, product of the 1950s south. He's under no illusion about the fleeting nature of his fame, and the movie avoided the usual cliche of protraying him as a bigoted simpleton or a sanctimonious do-gooder. It takes you through his pro career with the Redskins, a humiliating stint with the Denver Broncos when he's way past his prime, and the final heartbreaking episode with his 1955 teammates at LSU Tiger stadium. In the meantime wife Jessica Lange has found unknown talents as a businesswoman, adding to the pathos of Grey's status as a has-been. Dennis Quaid is superb as Grey, especially when showing him as a middle-aged ex-jock.

Everybdy's All American? Everybody connected with this project should be congratulated. I'd like to think that, someday, this film will get the credit it deserves.
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Everybody's All-American
Coxer9910 August 1999
Superbly acted film about a rocky relationship between a Sugar Bowl all-american (Quaid) and the Magnolia Queen (Lange). The story takes us through over 25 years of triumph and tragedy with great support from Hutton and an especially good performance from John Goodman. Look for "Seinfeld's" Wayne Knight here.
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A thoughtful treatment of stardom and tragedy.
dosware14 May 2017
Along with other reviewers I consider this movie a now-forgotten gem and under-rated. It's biggest liability is an honest but overly dramatic approach to racism in the US during the 1950's and 60's. It is an emotional exploration of the personal evolution of a college and pro football star during that era- from success to near tragedy. Quaid. Lange, Hutton, and Goodman, and the supporting cast all excel in their roles. This is an engaging film and in my opinion one of Taylor Hackford's best directorial efforts.
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After 25 years, I finally got to see Everybody's All-American which was shot in my current hometown
tavm16 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
After about 25 years of reading about this movie shot in my long-time hometown of Baton Rouge, I finally watched Everybody's All-American with my mom on Netflix disc. From the parade at the State Capitol to shots at Airline Highway near the end, I recognized many of the landmarks that were depicted in the film. Oh, and the shots at LSU Tiger Stadium (otherwise known as Death Valley) were glorious! It follows Dennis Quaid and Jessica Lange as football hero and homecoming queen as they go through the trails and tribulations of falling in love, getting married, making a family, and the ups-and-downs-of career and marriage. There's also nice supporting turns by John Goodman-as a fellow player who has some personal problems, Timothy Hutton-as Quaid's cousin who becomes a writer, and Carl Lumbly-another former football star who thrives when the civil rights era passes. If there's some disappointment concerning the narrative, it's near the end when there seems to be some scenes missing which was confirmed when I looked at the deleted scenes section of the DVD and found a whole sequence concerning Quaid's affair with another woman in it. With that, it might have been a much better movie. Still, I enjoyed what I saw and was glad to watch this. So on that note, I recommend Everybody's All-American. P.S. I recognized singer (and New Orleans native) Aaron Neville as the man with a track pistol in the Spanish Town sequence and Patricia Clarkson (fellow N.O. native) as Hutton's fiancée. I also loved seeing Mike the Tiger when he was shown!
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A Wonderful "Sports" Movie
pengreval24 March 2000
This movie has it all. The jock (Dennis Quaid), the high school princess (Jessica Lange), the academic (Timothy Hutton), the party guy (John Goodman), and a great plot that realistically portrays how stars fade from greatness. Along the way the film chronicles important periods in America, like racial segregation.

Jessica Lange's performance is unparalleled (as usual). I would recommend this film to everyone.
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a man has his day and then must pay the piper
helpless_dancer12 April 1999
Spanning 25 years, this film chronicles the life of 4 students at a Louisiana university. One, a football hero, must come to grips with his life after the glory years are over. His wife becomes unhappy with the way her marriage is going as her husband ignores her more and more. Tragedy follows one of the other students, while the last is the most successful of the four. Good performances were given by all, however, I felt the story could have been presented better in some places.
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You have to fall down in order to get back up.
Michael O'Keefe11 September 2004
A very watchable impression of Frank DeFord's novel. The bigger they come the harder they fall. This story follows most of the life of Louisiana football legend Gavin Grey(Dennis Quaid). The "Grey Ghost" lived big with a life sustained by adoring football fans for his exploits on and off the football field. He married his number one fan and cheerleader Babs(Jessica Lange)who shared his glory, heartaches and tragedies. His brother Donnie(Timothy Hutton)and best friend Lawrence(John Goodman)tried to keep Grey grounded and at the same time kept him high on admiration. Carl Lumbly plays Narvel Blue who's competitive nature like Grey's built a strong friendship. As years passed, so did the glory wane...the football hero just had trouble realizing it. Like Elvis Presley once said "The image is one thing and the man is another. It's often hard for the man to live up to the image."

I've always liked Dennis Quaid and thought his cockiness made the role of a self-centered football player come easy. Impressing is the fact he did some of his own stunts and separated a collar bone taking a solid hit on the field. He looked like a natural. For the stunning Lange, she seemed flawless as the cheerleader with only one thing on her mind...her idol the "Grey Ghost". Marriage matured her, but at fault lived sharing the glory surrounding a Louisiana favorite son. Goodman deserves more credit than he usually gets. How can you not like his bosom buddy character? Retired pro, semi-pro and top college athletes provided the realism on the playing field. You don't have to be a football fan to enjoy EVERYBODY'S ALL-American.
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Not really my all-American
smatysia5 December 2007
First off, this is an OK film, no more, no less. I've never been much of a fan of Dennis Quaid, even though we hail from the same town. His essential cockiness, though, seems made for this part. Jessica Lange was, as always, very beautiful, even though she exhibits a bit of hard-edged brittleness. John Goodman turned in a very good performance. All three seemed a bit too old to pass for college kids, but hey, what're you gonna do when your film spans 25-plus years? The central themes were old, familiar, and a bit tired. In general, it seems that football movies are a lot harder to make than baseball movies, for obvious reasons. The action sequences were mostly done pretty well. Overall, this one is probably worth a Netflix rental, but don't spend any money on it.
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Not just another jock movie...
moviedude113 August 2003
Quaid & Goodman do a very good job as jocks who try to survive life after college football, one going to the pros, the other to business management. More importantly, the movie focuses also on the relationship between Quaid & Lange, and the film projects that focus more directly when Hutton asks Lange what her major is and she replies, "Me & Gavin (Quaid)."

Going from the team's star player's girlfriend in college to a player's wife in the pros has an impact that I would not have imagined in this movie. I went to it the first time in the theaters expecting a jock movie. My significant other enjoyed it more than I did because it turned out to be as "chick-flick," (although this has become one of my favorites of all time).
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A well done jock and jill story
goya-411 April 2001
Dennis Quaid and Jessica Lange are the college football star and cheerleader sweethearts who marry and join the world of the NFL. They experience the ups and downs of football world and the high expectations expected.

A very well done drama that depicts the other side of football and how injury and the passing of time have their affect. On a scale of one to ten.. 8
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Tacky melodrama.
George Parker17 April 2001
"Everybody's All American" tells of a college football hero's trek through life. This film is fraught with over-acting, terrible southern accents, obvious ploys to push viewer's emotional buttons, and a wandering story lacking in cohesion and integrity...to name but a few of the many flaws. A directorial disaster. Pass on this dog...or punt.
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Far Above Average
Rick Blaine1 July 2001
This movie is far above average, in no small part due to the performances of the principals. It is not a big movie, but as lesser movies go is a fantastic ride. You might forget it by tomorrow, but the memory of what a great job everyone did in it will linger in your mind. But for a few cosmetic errors it might have been a classic.

Quaid doesn't really seem to be on his way to impressing in the beginning; Lange is stunning as always; we don't really know what to make of Hutton; and Goodman comes across immediately as that loose cannon on deck he was to play so well in The Great Lebowsky, albeit with more irony.

As time goes on these characters gain a third dimension and the actors behind them show their quality. Lange shines brighter and brighter, Hutton surprises as well, and what really amazes is how Mr. Meg Ryan can act! All of which points to there being a good director behind it all. That it is Taylor Hackford comes therefore as no surprise. Hats off to a great collaboration between the screen writers and the cast as well. How they made certain hard-to-play scenes work is magnificent.

Towards the end you begin to see what this movie is all about. Ebert says we never know if the movie is about Gavin or Babs. What a dumb comment from such a seasoned movie lover. No movie need be about one person, and this one is about a whole slew of people if anything, and ultimately is not about people at all. As the Russian choreographer was to have said, "Honey, if I could tell you that I wouldn't have had to write the ballet!"

Aside from the ending which seems a bit contrived ("we gotta end this thing!"), there are no cheap shots in this movie. If this had been a made-for-TV flick it would have been very bad. But it was not. Everyone both in front and behind the cameras gave their all to make a great movie.
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A Film That Both Genders Can Relate To
eric2620034 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"Everybody's All-American" brought forth a movie that can be seen as both a chick flick in terms of the steaming romantic chemistry between the two leading stars (Dennis Quaid and Jessica Lange) and plenty of football action for the guys to enjoy. The main character of the movie is centered around Gavin "The Gray Ghost" Grey (Dennis Quaid). "Everybody's All-American" succeeds in that the ideas featured had potential to be an extraordinary film, but Hollywood had to water it down immensely. The film scores high points in entertainment, but their welcome goes on too long.

Based on a novel by Frank DeFord, the die-hard football fan can see through that this film is based loosely on the life of Billy Cannon. Both Grey and Cannon's stories both seem eerily similar to each other. The film center around Gavin Grey, who plays for the LSU Tigers, leading their team to the 1956 Sugar Bowl Championship. Even though not once, LSU was ever mentioned, but Cannon played for that team at the time.

What makes this film enjoyable to watch is that the characters portrayed are both likable and well developed. Quaid shines as the star football running the "Gray Ghost" Gavin Grey. Lange is just adorable as Southern gal Babs. Timothy Hutton was at his very best as history professor Cake, John Goodman is believable as a football player who turns his life to gambling and Carl Lumbly puts in his performance as black football player who later becomes a business tycoon. It's always a great feeling deep inside to see such well developed characters and at the same time each and every one of them have a certain likeness that truly captures the spirit of this movie. By setting this film in the state of Louisiana, we realize that the South really loves their football. The look of the 1950's South captures a feel of nostalgia, though it's questionable if it was entirely accurate.

The biggest problem I had with "Everybody's All-American" was that the two best characters were not the leading stars (though they did well), but Prof. Cake (Hutton) and Lawrence (Goodman) were the best of the ensemble, but were sadly underused and I wanted to see more of them. And even though Ghost and Babs have good chemistry between each other, there are several holes between them that make for a gripping relationship. For instance, what does Babs really see in the Gray Ghost and vice versa? We are left clueless as to how and why they are attracted to one another. However, the romantic angle is still a joy to watch.

The fine ensemble cast carries the film splendidly, but falls short in terms of comprehension to what they're saying at times which could be due to the overdone technicalities of director Taylor Hackford.

Hackford's direction is the weakest link in this film. He's trying to hard to make this movie ultra serious but at the same time, the characters are also clichéd. With newsreels and archive footages they aren't put to good use and is taken way too seriously. You can clearly point out which of the scenes are staged and which ones are actual highlights making it all seem out of place. Even the die-hard football fan will be taken off by this sloppy mess Hackford made.

Overall in spite of it's flaws it is still an enjoyable film filled with plenty of football action and romance outside the gridiron.
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Excellent Pure football movie.
nshafe6 March 2007
The story of Gavin Grey, while fiction, sums up the pure aspect of football. Before multi-million dollar contracts and big endorsements. There were athletes who just loved to play football. This movie shows the ride. Thats what you are on when you are the best. People treat you differently, want to be with you and everyone knows who you are. If you ever wondered what its like to be the star or captain of the football team watch this movie. It brought back so many memories that I would rewind parts to get a familiar feeling again. The movie smoothly moves through different parts of his life and was well directed. Footage is of high quality and action sequences are well done. This movie is an emotional roller coaster. And will appeal to men and women alike.

One of my favorites.
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Vanishing Baton Rouge
superbeefinder30 October 2006
Every city should have a movie filmed in it every 10-15 years. So much of Baton Rouge that was caught on film in this movie has changed. When Gavin runs out of the stadium and is standing by Mike the Tigers cage for instance. The cage has been replaced by a virtual palace, and Mike the IV is now Mike the V. The west side upper deck in tiger stadium, completely demolished and replaced, and an east side upper deck added. The man emceeing the Magnolia Queen contest has also since passed.

Bonus Points: When Cake is standing on "Hallowed Ground" (then an empty lot, now a blockbuster)the sign behind him shows a construction project being planned for that spot. The building on the signs looks an awful lot like the Hilton (now Marriot) in Baton Rouge.
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musicman126819 September 2006
I noticed that during his comeback

with the Broncos

they showed a clip of getting knocked out of bounds

by a Seattle Seahawk. Not quite sure but I believe that if he were to be knocked out of bounds

by a Seahawk he would have had to have a 21 year N.F.L.

career.Please correct me if i am wrong.

All in all though I like the scenes from all the football clips

they showed and that most of the players they showed were the real names of the players
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A cultural perspective
jsmedley767 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I read Walter Shaw's rather scathing review of the film. As an expatriated American, I have a different take on it. Don't get me wrong, I gave it a 6 (ie nothing special). What got my attention is the way this film draws a caricature of our culture.

It contains the following elements of American culture: football and the heroism bestowed on great athletes, a homecoming queen who lived only for her man saving herself for marriage(it was Louisana in the 60s), capitalism, the empowerment of blacks from the 60s through the 80s, the career woman becoming the head of the family (not typical of every American family, but a trend that was taking off in the 80s). Furthermore, it contains elements typical of American film: mass appeal and a plot which is rather simple, a happy cheesy ending, rekindled love, athlete's friendship/loyalty to one another, nauseating predictability, persevering the trials of marriage (marriages everywhere have trials and athletes have loyal friends everywhere, they are just the subject of American films a lot more often). In short, even its shortcomings are typically American.

I don't really know if the creative team that realized "Everybody's All-American" (even the title is Americana to an extreme) intended to make an intelligent film that takes elements unique to our culture to a near absurd extreme, or if I interpret the film this way because I pay closer attention to everything "American" than I used to. The beginning of the film is so cliché I can't help wonder if it is intentional: the homecoming game, the hero, his beautiful blonde girlfriend, his nerdy relative who has a crush on the girlfriend. There are two possibilities: either the creators of this film intended the film to be a reflection of American culture to be studied critically, or they produced a film that would have mass appeal because it contained all the elements that would attract an American audience.

The US is the single-most talked about/written about nation in the world. For me this film declares itself to be the quintessence of American culture in its title, and the storyline is right out of Norman Rockwell. I recommend this film not for its entertainment value, but for food for thought and analysis.
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Football saga.
yenlo21 September 1999
The saga of a football player is the basis of this film based on a Frank Deford novel. The story covers twenty-five years as the lead character played well by Dennis Quaid goes from absolute Mr. Touchdown USA in college to the pro ranks with a last place team. The game of football is now a business and his profession. Jessica Lange is his sweetheart who marries her gridiron hero and quickly learns being the homecoming queen means little after the magical college days are gone. Although the central part of the film concerns Football this film is much more as it highlights various events of the late 50's into the 60's always keeping tabs on Quaids gridiron exploits. Good support from John Goodman as Quaids devoted college teammate and eventual business partner. Carl Lumbly as Blue a Football player as talented as Quaids character who could have gone for the brass ring in the pro game but opted instead to make things better for his race and achieve something more for himself than scoring touchdowns and hearing cheering crowds. Timothy Hutton is cast as Quaids cousin. An individual who possesses academic skills equal to that of Quaids athletic skills. In the end who has achieved the greater success? A great character study set during a time when the game produced heroes people really believed in even though their idols private lives were not always perfect like they may have imagined.
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