In small-town Texas, high school football is a religion. The head coach is deified, as long as the team is winning and 17-year-old schoolboys carry the hopes of an entire community onto the gridiron every Friday night. In his 35th year as head coach, Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight) is trying to lead his West Canaan Coyotes to their 23rd division title. When star quarterback Lance Harbor (Paul Walker) suffers an injury, the Coyotes are forced to regroup under the questionable leadership of John Moxon (James Van Der Beek), a second-string quarterback with a slightly irreverent approach to the game. "Varsity Blues" explores our obsession with sports and how teenage athletes respond to the extraordinary pressures places on them. Written by
Steven Chea <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Mox confronts Billy Bob after the lost game, Billy Bob is shooting his trophies with a shotgun. When we first see Billy Bob shoot the shotgun, there is no recoil. Every subsequent gunshot produces a visible recoil. See more »
If someone checks out the trailer, one might think, "Another MTV-produced teen flick. I think I'll pass on that." Well, I went into the theater not thinking it was going to be bad, but I expected more of an amusing film that isn't really high on ingenuity. True, "Varsity Blues" has those standard teen elements like wild drinking parties, the school slut, etc. But it never overuses those elements. It's more of a compelling comedy-drama about football that delivers a fine message about sportsmanship. You have a pretty good idea how it's going to end up, but it's the way it's executed that makes it special. Jon Voight is absolutely terrific as the no-nonsense coach. He's the kind of character you want to stab in the chest every minute he's on screen, and Voight was a perfect choice. The film dabbles with elements of the sport that probably hit home to some high school football players. Voight's character has only one goal: winning. And he doesn't care how he gets to that goal. If he has to shoot drugs into every one of his players, he's going to arrive at that goal. And I'm sure there are coaches out there who have that selfish goal. Then James Van Der Beek comes along, and his character is not really concerned with winning or playing football in the first place. But he likes football, has fun with it and simply wants to play a good, honest game. If the team wins, good. If it doesn't, so what. He has a good locker room speech at the end of the movie.
"Varsity Blues" is funny, moving and wonderfully acted. It might appeal more to teens and young adults, more than the older ones, but I still suggest everyone check it out.
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