Go Tigers! (2001) Poster

(2001)

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good documentary - NOT rah rah!
dhyatt29 January 2004
I'm a little taken aback by how many of these other reviewers didn't "get it".

"A good documentary, but it left me a little sad." "Great depiction of my town's enthusiastic pride." "Great for sports fans." etc. etc.

Come on, people, this was a vicious, vicious documentary about an inane town with priorities completely out of whack! Or am I too much of a big-city east coast cynic?

Presenting everything as it happened, warts and all, is a strength of the movie. Reviewers who comment that "I could have done without the party seen [sic]" are totally and completely missing the point. These kids are treated like Gods on earth and it's a Bad Thing. GET IT?!?!

I wish the film spent less time showing football games and more time exploring some of the other aspects of the subject - like, what are cheerleader tryouts like? Let's interview 12 year old girls and find out about their aspirations. Let's get some time with Coach Paterno and find out if he's really serious at all about recruiting any of these kids. The interviews with kids not on the football team were far too brief; I wanted to see what they were doing during game time. (Playing Dungeons and Dragons? Reading? Homework?)

Watching with my "elitist snob" hat on, I enjoyed how the movie still made it hard to look down on the entire high school football institution - clearly it's keeping kids on track and out of jail, keeping local economies pumping, etc. Despite what I said above, this is not a vicious one-sided depiction at all. It just feels that way for long passages. At times it feels like a Christopher Guest movie, except the characters are very real.

Highly recommended for elitist snobs and football fans alike.
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10/10
Tells the true story!
bright_n_sunny28 January 2005
Having lived in Massillon, OH for 25 years and raised my kids there, I can say that this movie captures the way it REALLY is. Football is a way of life there! When I first moved there I was amazed that a high school stadium could pack in 15,000 to 20,000+ (in a town of 35,000 population) people every weekend for a high school football game. In 1976, when I went to purchase tickets for myself and my kids to attend, I was shocked to have to pay $4.00 each for tickets. I never had to pay that much for my college football games. Little did I know at that time the significance of the infamous Massillon-McKinley game. I have never ever seen anything like it anywhere else!!! Many think that they overdo it...and I suppose they do...but there is nothing like the spirit & excitement at one of the games. It's something that I will NEVER forget!!! If you love sports...especially football... this is a film you must see!
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7/10
Rather disturbing
Mattchoo13 January 2003
After watching this film, it just didn't sit right with me. I admire the passion that Massillon displays for their football team, but it just seems the school and the town have their priorities in the wrong place.

Just one look at their stadium and it's no wonder the school is bankrupt, 15,000+ seating, a huge electronic scoreboard, a real live tiger roaming the sidelines, fireworks after the team scores. And yet, the school is threatening to make cut-backs if a tax levy does not pass. Where will the cut-backs come from? Why, not the precious football program of course. I'm sure teachers will lose their jobs before the tiger handler does.

Massillon has a convicted rapist on the team, deals with allegations of recruiting violations, has players "red-shirted"--held back in school a year so they'll be more mature for football--and yet the school administrators claim that education is the school's priority. Yeah right. The players are the kings of the town because they can pass a football, but yet can barely pass their ACTs. This is not what high school should be like.

This is a really well done documentary, but just made me sad.
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8/10
all too true
jonathan_david0219 December 2009
I wonder how many of those kids, and that's what they were at the time, got a minor for drinking and partying after the games---my guess is none. I love how you all come on here to support your town, that's super. You have a multi-million dollar football complex. You have a live tiger as a mascot. You get $5+ a head for admission for games not to mention the profits from concessions. Yet you need to tax your citizens to keep the school out of debt? As one player commented "They wont pass it because we had a losing record" Holding back a CHILD so they can be bigger and stronger for a game is a shame and the parents of those CHILDREN should be publicly humiliated for their complete lack of respect for education. While it may seem harsh of me to be saying these things it's all too true in many small towns across America. I think that was the point this doc was trying get across and it did a wonderful job. PS--I love the shot of the big jock puking up a beer bong then asking for another beer.
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10/10
Great film!
jloudiana25 May 2001
Being a Massillon, Ohio native this was a great film. It shows community spirit and pride. The filming and presentation were very well done. I saw it at Sundance Film Festival and it is now showing at the Seattle Film Festival.

If you like football or are from a sports passionate town, it is a great movie to see.
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An obsession
adrift9819 February 2005
I finally got to see this documentary, and have to agree with one of the reviewers below... I too am thinking people are not "getting" this film. It's a great documentary about a horrifying town's obsession with it's school's football team. I didn't come away from this film thinking the director was intending to show school pride, but instead the negative and destructive impact a GAME has on small town folk who have nothing better to do on a Friday night. This film shows how this obsession has breed hatred, greed, and dishonesty, and through their naiveté, how the adults of the town have become the sad role models for the youth. It also shows how, in small towns, it's hard for people to make a distinction between Jesus, America, and Football. I applaud this film for being able to highlight some of the inane pressure that politicians, school administration, and parents are putting on their children in the name of school tradition, but i find it unfortunate that this film doesn't have the ability to show us that there are surely darker themes behind some of these pressures. Again, I have to agree with many of the other posters that more time should have been spent on those students who were not sports centric. Finally, having gone to high school in Lima Ohio (one of the towns that the Tigers play in this film), I have to say that I understand why people are not getting this film. I think when people grow up in these kinds of communities home pride makes it hard for them to stand back and use rational judgement.
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A look how high school football rules a small midwest town
robj981681 March 2004
Go Tigers! is a look how high school football rules a small midwest town. The people of Masillon live, eat, drink and breath High School football, and this movie looks at the team, people of the town, the coaches whose everyday lives are affected by the high school team. The people of Masillon go beyond the term of fans. They are fanatics. It also shows some of the darksides of high school sports. A possible "drafting" of an in-eligible player is one highlight. The "mischeif" between two high schools before the big game. It even goes into how a succesfull season affects the school levy. I found this all very interesting, if not somewhat disturbing. All in all it made for some riveting watching.
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3/10
What a dull, listless documentary!
Agent102 April 2003
While everyone praises this film for the fact it documented a town full of crazy nutballs, this was nothing more than a dull and lifeless film that glorified the conformity and stupidity of an entire city. This film was completely one-sided, never taking any issue with the wasteful spending the school placed on the football program or the "redshirting" (they didn't even call it intentionally holding someone back) many of the players participated in. All this film did was show how great it was to be a football player in Masillon and they could easily get away with anything they wanted while being glorified as heroes and political footballs (pardon the pun). I love football, and I love film, which is why I was expecting more out of this standardized film school, cineme- verite wannabe of a film. With little coming from the opposite spectrum of the debate, this is nothing more than a PR video for Masillon football.
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8/10
Realistic take on my hometown
J D21 May 2014
I found this doc to be a pretty realistic portrayal of life in Massillon, which I'm sure is not unique, as far as small, mid-western towns are concerned. I was one of those kids who was not a football player (though not an Insane Clown Posse type of person, either), and I was amazed at the social and career possibilities that I found to exist in the world beyond Massillon. Those of us who didn't believe that our high school years would be "the best years of our lives" (as our teachers at Washington High told us) left town and found the opposite to be true. I imagine that, for those who never left (and who condemn those who would criticize Massillon, based on the impression left by this documentary), those high school years actually were the best years of their lives.

I remember the steroid-using football players who, when they weren't busy trying to disrupt our classes, were being hand-held and coddled through the most basic of tests by the coach teachers. I also remember these same thugs showing up at parties and drunkenly, severely brutalizing any smaller guys that they could get their hands on (they would often lock a smaller guy in a room and take turns beating him for hours while someone else guarded the door - true story). They were never punished, ever (except by life itself, thank goodness).

Many (but not all) of the teachers at Washington High were primarily coaches who were given teaching jobs by the ex-coach administrators. They were generally terrible at their jobs, paid very little attention to students who were neither athletes nor pretty girls, and had little knowledge and no wisdom or life experiences to impart.

Teaching students core math and science skills was definitely not a priority at Washington High. Despite my interest in learning, I walked away from that place with a pretty terrible public school education. Most kids graduating from Washington High lack the competitive edge needed to make a living outside of a small Ohio town. One major lesson that I learned from attending public schools in Massillon is that if you want your kids to be able to compete with kids from the east or west coasts, you must never let them attend public schools.

I suppose that the best thing that one can say about Massillon is that it is such a soul- crushing, depressing place to spend one's childhood that it virtually drives away anyone with the remotest amount of ambition, as soon as they are old enough to escape.

It is nearly impossible to have any hometown pride for a place whose local culture has such sound disdain for education, knowledge and investing in itself (beyond sports). Unfortunately for Ohio, most (but not all) of the state suffers from this same, backward mindset.
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7/10
Football is the new everything
Rudan26 February 2011
Frightening and very consistently tense documentary about a town's cult like obsession of a team and football above everything else where it doesn't matter what kind of kid you are if you aren't a kid who plays football. The town literally breeds kids for football and kids not playing football talk about leaving the town because they haven't been successfully bred to create football. The pressure on these kids is tremendous, which inevitably means the team is inflicted by sexual assault charges and injuries that could break them psychologically. The fusion of religion and sports is a tremendously jarring visual as parents and teams pray and cry if teams fail. Watching kids close their eyes and pray with tremendous apparent intensity before the game reminds one of "Jesus Camp" except Christianity is replaced by football. The visual is equally disturbing as it was in that documentary. Winning the game is so far beyond in importance to the kids. Football replaces not only religion, but many kids talk about finding a new family. Football literally replaces education as star players are held back to remain eligible to be in the team. As the movie progresses it become darker and more apparent that the town needs a sea change in priority. Excellent documentary, although it might have had a stronger impact in its message if the children excluded from the cult of football had more of a say. And an even stronger impact if girls excluded from the cult of football cheer-leading had more of a say.
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8/10
The Truth
frezno7108726 November 2007
I have lived in Massillon My whole life. I am not a big football follower but it is something to be proud of when you are from this school. There are many other things the school is equally good at. The one thing the movie left out that its not just football, its traditions. We follow all of our traditions and it brings our school and our town together. Some hate it but not everyone is behind it. Its about the community and how much we care about it. I never believed in the politics that involved the football team but generally its a good thing to have some traditions where you can relate to most people in the town even if you take to opposite people who don't get alone.
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9/10
Great documentary
paulie_guccieri23 November 2004
This is one of the most engaging documentaries I have ever seen (and I have watched hundreds). One reason I enjoyed it so much is the absence of narration. Carlson assembled interviews, footage, and newsreels in a manner that clearly explains the issues and events. Thus, it was just like watching a feature film, only with actual characters and events.

I also recommend the DVD for the bonus features. The interview with former Massilon star Chris Spielman was informative. The segment about the Wheaties campaign was cut out of the film but definitely worth watching. Plus for entertainment value those who can still appreciate teenage antics will enjoy the extra pep rally footage and my personal favorite, Big Cunn and the Village Idiots.
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9/10
I Liked this one but, it is mostly one-sided, as it was meant to be.
bingeboi18 October 2003
I grew up in Massillon, and this movie captured exactly what it is like to live in this football crazy town. Anyone who downs it for being one-sided is missing the point. The director did show in a couple of scenes that there is a dark side to Massillon, but what town or city doesn't? Over all it was a (One-sided) but true and real look at a town in Ohio.
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10/10
HS Football: Life, Death, and everything in between...
colslax15 September 2003
Go Tigers is a fantastic documentary. I feel that the showcasing of just how into the team Massillon, is both inspiring and disturbing. High School football is cemented in the town history....they had Paul Brown as a coach at one point. While Massillon may be far to connected to its football team, it's not at all hard to understand how they've reached that point.

Go Tigers does a great job of showing a town where football is life, death, and everything in between.
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7/10
Documentary of one Football Crazy town
Havan_IronOak24 September 2001
Middle America is crazy about football. There is nothing quite so American as a small town turning out on Friday night to support its high school football team. Each year the faces change although the names are recycled as brothers and sons and cousins fill jerseys that their relatives wore in earlier years. To some degree this is normal for mid-America but Masslin Ohio takes it to another level entirely.

Go Tigers! is a documentary about this town and its overpowering passion for high school football. The portraits are honest and accurate and as one who grew up in a small midwestern town, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these folks, so much like the folks in the town where I grew up.

The film gives you a brief historical perspective and an introduction to a few of the town's more colorful characters before introducing you to this year's three co-captains and then traces one season from the practices before the opening game to the game with the archrivals across the county. Thrown into the mix of football and high school personalities is a budgetary problem and the very doubtful passage of the next school budget levy.
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10/10
Exciting football film
krispieco20 February 2001
Go Tigers! is an exciting documentary about high school football in Massillon, Ohio. The film covers the 1999 season at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Main characters are Dave Irwin, Ellery Moore, and Danny Studer, co-captains of the team. Being a native of Massillon, I loved the film when I saw it at the Sundance Film Festival. Director Kenneth Carlson has painted an accurate and colorful picture of the local spirit and Tiger pride. Great soundtrack. If you love football, this film is a MUST. If you don't like football, there are plenty of other subplots to get you thinking. Not suitable for the below age 13 crowd because of profanity.
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i liked this movie, it was a very well done documentary
coronablurr18 October 2002
After watching the movie, Go Tigers! I began to think about the impact of sports on people's every day lives a little differently. Go Tigers! is a documentary about the mid-west American town, Massillon, that has a very strong high school football heritage. Though this is a common thing in American towns, Massillon takes it to new heights. From birth, the children are raised to play football. In fact, the town is so emotionally dependant on their football team, that the team's win record decides the outcome of a school tax vote. I think this documentary did a very good job of portraying the feelings of the town. It got many different points of view across the town, including those who were not large football fans to some degree. Although the film did a good job of portraying the town's feelings, it mainly focused on the team its self, especially the captains. I think the documentary showed both the glory of winning and the pressure put on these boys to win very well. It was by no means a film about the glory of football, but as a documentary showed the actual life behind the team. Another thing the movie did very well was capture the lifestyle of a high school athlete. Often times in football movies the difficulty behind being an athlete is not shown. I liked how the captains each got to talk about the ways football has hurt them as well as how it has benefited them. But where I feel the film failed was in fully representing the anti-football population. Although they did show a few kids who were not into football, they did not give them much time and didn't go into the difficulty of growing up in such a sports focused town. As far as acting is concerned, it was a documentary, so you cannot really judge real people. From a more artistic standpoint, the cinematography was very well done and it was overall a very professional documentary. I would recommend that anyone who likes good documentaries, or just good movies go out and see it.
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9/10
Pleasant Surprise
tvdave16 April 2002
My original motivation behind seeing `Go Tigers' was the allure of finally seeing some Hi-def video blown up, and projected to 35mm. It had the fortunate added benefit of being an excellent film.

The film follows the Tigers, a football team of football-obsessed Massillon, Ohio through their 1999 season. The film honestly presents a town where life is football, both past and future.

Not a football fan, I really enjoyed the film. The honesty of the obsessed people of the town of Massillon was both amusing, and somewhat awe-inspiring. Well directed, the film had a great combination of humor as well as unexpected drama.

If you have a chance, see this film. My only disappointment is the limited distribution – I feel all audiences alike would enjoy this film.
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10/10
Not Just A Football Film.
davidgoodall4 October 2001
"Go Tigers." A film that follows the lives of three high school football players through an eventful season. Although there is an exciting football story line, the main focus is on the people in the town of Massillon. Director Kenneth Carlson does an excellent job of showing us the true meaning of "small town" America. Massillon is a town that is consumed by football, and it is made obvious to the film-goer with the shots of the town covered in "Tiger" signs and banners. There are many memorable scenes including the Tiger Lady and the soon-to-be-classic Bulldog Scene. The cinematography in "Go Tigers" was great. The soundtrack of "Go Tigers" included a subtle underscore and the gripping music of Moby. During the final credits, the song "Friday Nights" by Katrina Carlson was a fitting end to a great documentation of Friday night football. "Go Tigers" is a perfect blend of hard hitting sports documentation and gripping human interest. Whether you've heard of the Massillon Tigers or not, you'll enjoy this film. The players will grow on you and you will root for them to succeed. I highly recommend this film and the people in the town of Massillon should be proud of this film. DG
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9/10
You Don't Get It if you don't go there
you_wish_you_were_kylie23 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
My brother plays football for Massillon and to see people take shots at the school for one very bad coach is awful. If you did not go to Massillon you don't get the movie. Coach Sheepis was the worst coach he was the reason our football team had such a bad rep. but now that Coach Stacy is coaching the team it is so much better we had good GPA's and we went to state so to all the people who said bad stuff you need to reconsider what you said.

P.S. The town is not just about football our choir which i am in has gone to state every year and has gotten a medal. Also the town is not crazy we are just supportive and going to the football games are very fun you get to hang out with friends and have team spirit too.

Kylie
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10/10
Well done!
Flamio3 February 2003
Massillon Football is legendary here in Ohio. I've reviewed many a films here on IMDB, and for a low budget local film, this blows Hoop Dreams out of the water! Ken Carlson does an excellent job following the team through their season, the locals input, the frenzy, etc...but most of all, he makes non-actors so comfortable in front of a camera it still amazes me! That's right, none of these people were actors and they do a better job than the entire cast of Friends whom you believe are acting. Yep, Jennifer and Lisa could take a few acting lessons from these folks. Anyway, the last 10+ years or so St. Ignatious has ruled Ohio Football, but when I was in school in the 70's and 80's it was Canton Mckinley, Massillon, and Cincinnati Moeller. Period. No city is as nuts as Massillon though. Don't believe me? Watch this documentary! I live in Ohio, I know. I had a party over here a few months ago and a guy from Massillon Perry was over here. He still talked as if he was playing High School football and how much he hated Massillon, and he's an '82 grad! Twenty plus years of seething hatred! Bizarre. You'll see in this film how much the town is into the games. I haven't seen that kind of support for my old school since the 70's. On a side note, has anyone but me noticed how much the head coach of Massillon looks like that evil Indian from "The Last of The Mohicans"? Wow! Good coach. That has to be a stressful job in that city. I'm sure his phone never stops ringing from Alumni, parents, etc. I hope he has an answering machine. I was amazed at the training facilities the team has, a strength coach, equipment, etc. That stuff definitely gets kids ready way more than any local school I've seen! Some quick notes: Coaches, don't pray then use the F-word. You need Jesus not Mary! I could've done w/o the partying seen, which really showed local fools and not players. I don't care about watching some guy puking after drinking a beer bong. That old lady fan is a character. She reminded me a lot of that old woman at the trading post in "The Outlaw Josey Wales". A real nut. I love her old husband just sitting in the corner. You don't even know he's there until the camera pans the room and he answers a question of hers! I love that nerdy kid with the Insane Clown Possy shirt that talks about how he hates the school, the town, and how he's leaving when he's 18. I wonder if he got his butt kicked after people saw this flick? Hey kid; I give you a medal though for courage to get on camera and say that stuff. You should've played ball! I've met ICP fans like you before and you're all the same, so don't think you're being an individual. If this town is a true "Harvest Home" (see the flick if you're clueless), then I'm sure those ignorant hicks voting against the levy got their butts kicked too. A message to people living in Massillon and anyone considering moving there: Massillon is a Football town, and it's small. If you don't like it, move. I love football and wouldn't live there, it's too much. It's not going to change for a long time and you'll be miserable! FLAMIO
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7/10
Good, but troubling docu
hohumdedum216 November 2004
I think it's great that a town like Massillion has such a passion for football. The problem is that everything else seems to take a back seat, and that is no good. The way this film depicts Massillion, nothing else matters if you're not in football. I honestly feel sorry for those who are not in football in this little town, they must feel miserable. Also, another troubling aspect is prayer in public school. Yes, it's not IN a public school, but in a public domain. Not to say that there's something wrong with prayer, but I am a staunch believer in separation of church and state. Overall though, entertaining for this football fan. I'm just glad I wasn't born and raised and Massillion. 7 out of 10.
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