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... See full summary »
James Van Der Beek,
Odessa, Texas, is a small, town in Texas. Racially divided and economically dying, there is one night that gives the town something to live for: Friday Night. The Permian Panthers have a big winning tradition in Texas high school football, led by QB Mike Winchell and superstar tailback Boobie Miles, but all is not well, as Boobie suffers a career-ending injury in the first game of the season. Hope is lost among citizens in Odessa, and for the team, but Coach Gary Gaines, who believes that "Perfection is being able to look your friends in the eye and know you did everything you could not to let them down", is somehow able to help the team rise up from the ashes and make a huge season comeback. Now on their way to state, the Panthers must go out and be perfect, because they may never matter this much for the rest of their lives. Written by
Frustrated with the authenticity of some actors playing assistant coaches, director Peter Berg turned to actual Permian High School coaches to deliver some lines during game sequences. See more »
The first round playoff game was against Dallas Jesuit, which was a TAPPS team until 2003 and would not be participating in a UIL tournament. In the 88/89 season Carter defeated Permian in the semi-finals and then went on to best Judson for the state title. See more »
Coach Gary Gaines:
I've seen you fight. I've seen you not quit. Can you give me a great effort and just a little bit more. Can you be perfect?
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This is the most human sports movie I've ever seen. Most sports movies follow a very basic formula of being either inspirational or comedic. Some try to be dramatic, but most fail because unless a person is playing a sport they often don't feel the tension, the struggle, the pain, or the elation. Where most others fail, Friday Night Lights soars.
Peter Berg does a wonderful job using the shaky-cam technique to create a documentary type of feel to the movie. We see the characters in their daily lives as if we are walking side by side with them. This is especially effective considering the plight many of those people feel. They all want to escape. Through football they can. Berg captures this.
The acting is extremely balanced. Even Tim McGraw surprises. Derek Luke is exceptional tackling(no pun intended) a tragic superstar. Everyone shines.
For anyone who loves sports and remembers when nothing else mattered when you played, this is a beautiful parallel.
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