Review Date: October 07, 2004
Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Peter Berg, David Aaron Cohen
Producers: Robert Graf
Billy Bob Thornton
That said, pretty much everyone had their moment to shine and despite the film not really treading any new ground (and much like LADDER 49, ending on a note that didn't entirely satisfy this movie fan-then again, it's based on a true story, so I'm glad they didn't "phony it up", at least), it still managed to entertain me all the way through, heck...it even provided a lump in my throat at some point (the ring, man...the ring), plenty of energetic football sequences and nail-biting game-enders. On the downside, well, as I mentioned before, there really wasn't much in the film that I hadn't seen before (other than that shot of Thornton's penis...no reason for that), in fact, it started to feel a touch like VARSITY BLUES, but sans Jon Voight's over-acting and the whipped cream, at various points. And while the directing was unique and stylized overall, I thought the overuse of the close-ups versus the blurry characters in the background got really annoying at some points, as did the BLAIR WITCH-esque fashion of consistently moving the camera around at all times. It seemed to work at first, but after a while, I just wanted to concentrate on the characters and the overuse of the camera movements, just bothered me. I'm also not sure where all that "love in your heart" stuff suddenly came from during one of Thornton's speeches (left field?), but that's a minor peeve (great speech!). That said, none of those small tidbits killed the movie for me, especially versus all of its many strengths, including the fact that it was based on a true story (for once, that actually managed to involve me further into the story, rather than "yawning"), but mostly due to its engaging storyline which meticulously followed a well-drawn out team of characters through an entire football season, warts and all. See it if you love football or any sort of "gritty sports film" and remember...it's all about the heart, kids...the heart.