"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.