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
Almost everything works in this portrait of the madness for and around high-school football in a small Texas town.
One of the best sports movies I've seen, largely because it's not really about the sport, or the big game, or winning and losing. It's about growing up, letting go of dreams, the pressure adults put on kids to fulfill their own dreams, losing perspective and gaining it. It seems to try and honestly look at both sides of high school football; how it helps young men grow, challenge themselves and bond, but at the same time how it subjects them to physical harm, an unrealistic set of expectations about life after being a local star, and being forced to carry a whole town on your shoulders when you're only 17.
Some terrific visuals, both in the quick cutting ferocity of the games, and in the long aerial views of the empty Texas plains.
It does cheat in a few moments, trying to have it's cake and eat it too a few plot lines are resolved a touch too easily or neatly, a few plot twists feel too familiar from other films. And I understand those that say the film displays a superior attitude towards these small town people. But I found those weaker moments fleeting in a film that surprised me with the strength of it's acting, writing, and filmmaking.
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