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Varsity Blues (1999)

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A back-up quarterback is chosen to lead a Texas football team to victory after the star quarterback is injured.

Director:

Brian Robbins

Writer:

W. Peter Iliff
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3,693 ( 901)
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Van Der Beek ... Mox
Jon Voight ... Coach Kilmer
Paul Walker ... Lance Harbor
Ron Lester ... Billy Bob
Scott Caan ... Tweeter
Richard Lineback ... Joe Harbor
Tiffany C. Love Tiffany C. Love ... Collette Harbor
Amy Smart ... Julie Harbor
Eliel Swinton ... Wendell
Thomas F. Duffy ... Sam Moxon (as Thomas Duffy)
Jill Parker-Jones Jill Parker-Jones ... Mo Moxon (as Jill Parker Jones)
Joe Pichler Joe Pichler ... Kyle Moxon
Mark Walters Mark Walters ... Chet McNurty
Brady Coleman ... Sheriff Bigelow
James N. Harrell James N. Harrell ... Murray (as James Harrell)
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Storyline

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 <schea@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It takes a hero to know what's worth winning. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language throughout, sexuality and nudity, and some substance abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 January 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Varsity Blues See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,515,723, 17 January 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$52,885,587, 18 April 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ron Lester's character "Billy Bob" has no apparent last name. He is only referred to as Billy Bob or William Robert by all other characters in the movie, and he is the only player on the Coyotes' team to have no last name on the nameplate of either his youth football jersey or his varsity high school jersey. In both cases, the name on his back is simply "Billy Bob". See more »

Goofs

When the Coyotes are playing Wanesboro Broncos, visible in the background is a sign in the fence stating "Go Wildcats" which is the mascot of Elgin, Texas, where most of the movie was filmed. See more »

Quotes

Charlie Tweeder: Say I'm stupid and I'm about to get hit in the nuts.
Billy Bob: That's funny.
Charlie Tweeder: Ain't it funny? That's what I mean. See they need to change the name of the show to America's funniest shots in the nuts.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Wayward Wind
Written by Herb Newman and Stanley Lebowsky
Performed by Tex Ritter
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User Reviews

 
Varsity Blues tells the story of a high school in a small town in Texas, where football is king.
19 June 2002 | by chrisbrown6453See all my reviews

I'm sure we've all known of, or at least heard of places, where nothing is bigger than high school football. The starting quarterback runs the town, the coach is considered a God (as long as he's winning), and the parents all live vicariously through their children. And most of the time, the kids actually playing football love the game too. But in the small town of West Caanan, the kids are running rampant, and the coach (Jon Voight) doesn't care.

James Van Der Beek stars as Jonathon Moxon (Mox), the backup quarterback of the high school football team. And he's happy with his situation. He gets to sit on the sidelines and read, hang out with the cool kids, and basically just wait until he can get out of this one horse town and head off to Brown University. But one day he sees the coach injecting pain killers into the knee of the starting quarterback. Then one of his best friends, Billy Bob, seems to have a concussion, but the coach makes him play. When the starting QB goes down, Mox is handed the team and is forced to decide whether to be the King of West Caanan, or to live his life the way he wants it to be lived.

I guess it wasn't a bad movie. The football scenes were done extremely well, and I generally liked the people I was supposed to like, and didn't like the people I wasn't supposed to like. But the movie lacked a certain focus. There were too many other things going on that didn't seem to have anything to do with the movie. The whole stripper/teacher thing didn't do anything but make me think back to my high school years and realize I didn't want to see any of those teachers naked. Then there was the black running back who claimed that the coach was a racist. He said that whenever they got near the goal line, the coach would always give the ball to a white guy so he could soak up the glory. While that may have been true, there was nothing in the movie to show that the coach was a racist. The only thing in the movie that said he was a racist was the black player saying he was. The whole race issue seemed to be thrown in there just for the sake of having it, rather than serving any purpose.

Some of the characters were too stereotypical. Mox's girlfriend for instance. As soon as Mox became the starting QB, his life started to change. In the town of West Caanan, starting QB was a position of popularity. But instead of letting Mox enjoy himself, even for a second, she started telling him he had changed. I figured that was going to happen, but don't you think a girlfriend would allow her boyfriend to enjoy his moment in the spotlight for just a few minutes before telling him he's not the man she fell in love with? Jon Voight's character was another one. I never played high school football, so maybe that's the way a coach is, but actually willing to ruin a kids life by making him play with a serious injury? And actually choking another player? I thought that his character went a little too far. It made him look extremely bad when that point had already been made.

My last rant has to do with the character of Darcy. She was the cheerleader who was dating the starting QB. As soon as he got injured, she started hitting on Mox. When she finally got him to come over to her house, he resisted her. Then she broke down and cried, and Mox solved all her problems in a few seconds. Much too quick a resolution for her. But I must say, I'll never look at whipped cream the same way again.

Overall I did enjoy Varsity Blues. It was fun to watch, even though it had a lot of script problems. The actors seemed to be having fun with their roles, and that made the movie better. So even though it had a lot of problems, overall it was enjoyable. And now, I'm off to find some whipped cream.


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