Wednesday, August 20, 2014
When the Game Stands Tall Review - 2 Stars
I came to the screening of “When the Game Stands Tall” with high expectations because the filmmakers take an interesting angle for a sports movie. They tell a story about an unbeatable team that finally loses. Here’s the set up: Between 1992 and 2004 Concord, California’s De La Salle High School won 151 football games in a row. To this day they hold the record for a winning streak and may hold it forever. The movie takes us to the game where they lose. I love the idea that if winning isn’t everything, but you win all the time anyway, what do you do when you lose. The story answers: teach teamwork and live it and realize there’s more to life than a football game. Jim Caviezel plays the high school coach with Michael Chiklis as his assistant. Laura Dern has a nice turn as Caviezel’s understanding wife. The players look good but it’s hard to sort them out. The filmmakers don’t quite trust us to buy their idea of a movie about an unbeatable football that loses. They lay on the heavy music. They throw in various tragic events from almost every sports movie ever made. The acting is earnest and sometimes cartoonish. And they build to a sentimental twist that left the audience I watched with laughing. The lessons about teamwork and working for a greater goal rise above the rest. But I hoped for something better. Does it deliver what it promises? High School football movie. Is it entertaining? Drags out too many clichés. Is it worth the price of admission? Not a great sports movie, but maybe for some.