Pat Tillman never thought of himself as a hero. His choice to leave a multimillion-dollar football contract and join the military wasn't done for any reason other than he felt it was the ... See full summary »
The film centers on Joe Paterno, who after becoming the most successful coach in college football history, is embroiled in Penn State's Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his ... See full summary »
The town of State College, the home of Penn State University, has long been known as Happy Valley, and its iconic figure for more than 40 years was Joe Paterno, the head coach of the school's storied football team. His program was lauded for not only its success on the field but also its students' achievements in the classroom. And Paterno took on mythic national stature as "Saint Joe." But then, in November 2011, everything came crashing down. Longtime Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse, setting off a firestorm of accusations about who failed to protect the children of Happy Valley. Was Sandusky's abuse an "open secret" in the town? Did Coach Paterno and the Penn State administration value their football program more than the lives of Sandusky's victims? Filmed over the course of the year after Sandusky's arrest as key players in the scandal agreed to share their stories, Happy Valley deconstructs the story we think we know to uncover a much ...Written by
Sundance Film Festival
Excellent Look At the Community, Families and More
I liked this documentary very much. Watching people involved in the unchecked crimes of Jerry Sandusky give their side of the story was much more revealing than reading quotes. Matt Sandusky, Jerry's adopted son, impressed me as thoughtful and sincere. He did his best to be fair to Sandusky, saying that ninety percent of the time he spent with the man was everything a kid would want--association with fame, access to football games, etc.--but the other ten percent "would destroy you."
I was shocked when Matt, at the end of the film, said that not one single person from the Sandusky family contacted him after he went public about how Jerry molested him. What kind of people are Dottie and her relatives? If they didn't believe him, you would think someone might want to talk with him and ask him to take back his "lies." But no. That didn't happen.
The one thing missing from "Happy Valley" was any mention of the well-known fact that Paterno decided that some of his players who broke into a residence and beat people should not be put into the legal system. Paterno clearly believed that he and his players were above the law. He decided the law-breaking players would clean up the stadium after some games. It's also known that then-President Spanier and other higher-ups in the Athletics Dept. all agreed that Paterno was in charge of things like this. This piece of history is a big deal. It should have been in the documentary.
The behavior of some of the residents of Happy Valley was detestable. There's an extended scene in which these idiots don't hesitate to grab a sign from an older man making his negative view of Paterno known at the statue of the coach. A woman who wants a selfie with the statue pushes the man aside with her body. Others get in his face with red-neck-type logic. It's scary to see how conformist the community could be---all worshiping a football program.
This film had to be made, and it was made well.
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