In an attempt to see Team America: World Police
early, I ended up seeing Friday Night Lights instead. Now, I am
a fan of youth football movies such as Varsity Blues and Remember
the Titans, and, like these two films, Friday Night Lights
is able to show what it means to play on a football team within a small
town that relies on what I would call forced-to-mature-to-quickly players
due to the strains placed on them [they are only in high school] by a struggling
Get tough and hold hands.
First Look at Friday Night Lights
With the above being said, I greatly enjoyed the film. This is not saying
that Friday Night Lights has the entertainment value of Varsity
Blues or Remember the Titans [both films serve up much more
humor], but it takes a cool, and interesting, look into small town football
within a very serious light. When we see the addicted-to-football families
in Varsity Blues we are allowed to laugh and mock this type of
seriousness towards the game. In Friday Night Lights, this addicted-to-football
attitude is almost to the point of frightening when you witness the pressures
and burdons that are placed on teens to succeed; the only option to allow
most a way out of their small, somewhat corrupt, town.
Since the film did remind me a lot of Varsity Blues [except that
Friday Night Lights is based on a true story], the only way I could
quickly explain it is to call the film Varsity Blues without the
Arts of Cinematography Applied to Football
Where this film succeeds above films such as Varsity Blues is the
cinematography applied to the in-game scenes [cinematography by Tobias A.
Schliessler]. While some may complain that the scenes seem a little jerky
and erratic at times, I found that style truly compelling as it allows the
viewers to get into the mind-frame of the sport [which is full contact].
There is also a lot more use of the actual 'art' of film in Friday Night
Lights. The director, Peter Berg, uses a lot of film shots that feature
blurs, flashes, hues, and awkward angles. All in an effort to add a different
feel to this football story. And, in this respect, he completely succeeds
at producing something that is not just different, but a look and feel that
completely fits the film. At times you feel as if you are watching a behind
the scenes documentary.
Just another aspect of Friday Night Lights I thought should be pointed out.
I do not know whether some would call this as a risk on Peter Burg's part
by hiring a small-time band, Explosions in the Sky, to handle almost the
entire score to the film, but it was a risk well taken. To create the score,
the band basically just re-wrote some of their older songs and applied them
to the feel of the movie [which should have been relatively easy to do since
the film does fit the band's theme]. The music really comes through at the
end of the film to help drive the viewer emotionally.
Final Judgment: I greatly enjoyed this film, but let me say that
it is not an easy, enjoyable, ride. While the in-game scenes are fun and
exciting, the story itself is very real in its attempt to re-live the
glory days of high school football and the dilemmas constituted in and
out of the game. A-
Expect to see this band, Explosions in the Sky, as next issues 'Band of