Okay so I am on a major football kick. I am eagerly awaiting this weekends playoff games...so much that I scheduled all of my weekend plans around watching both of the Conference Championship Games. Thinking of football has me thinking of football movies. There have been some great football movies and some really terrible ones. So let's devote some postings to both.
Tonight we start with one of all my all-time favorite football movies ever...hell one of my favorite movies period (Top 20 for sure anyway)...which is Varsity Blues.
To put it into perspective...it came out when I was a high school junior, when football was one of the most important aspects of my life. I was dating a football player, my best friend was the star football player, I spent Friday/Saturday nights cheering for the football players, and I spent the weekday afternoons taking care of the football players. (For those of you who were not there and as a result have no idea what I am talking about...get your mind out of the gutter. I was an intern in the athletic training room and still hold the record for fasting ankle taping by a student trainer. But I digress...) As a group we all wen to movie theater to see this movie and it was like we were watching our lives on the big screen. We were those characters, though slightly less attractive, not in our twenties as were the actors, and not from a small town Texas but you get the idea.
So hottie James Van Der Beek played Jon Moxon, the smart and sweet second-string quarterback who is on the team out of obligation. After town hero Lance gets hurt, Mox steps in and takes his place...on and off the field. Much to the dismay of his girlfriend Julie who is the only person in town who isn't obsessed with football.
So the movie follows the team as they pursue the state championship, as well as the changes that Mox encounters as he goes from bench warmer to superstar. It is the usual underdog storyline. Here is why it works:
Jon Voight as asshole coach Bud Klimer - So how much a prick is this guy? Yet he was the portrayed our school's head coach perfectly. In the scene in which he blames Billy Bob for Lance's knee injury he reminded me of the time that Coach W. broke the clipboard at Kenny when he missed the block that Bobby broke his left hand on. This movie hit it on the head. High school coaches are assholes.
Billy Bob - This is going to sound mean but you can't deny that it is true. Every football team had their Billy Bob. Every cheerleader loved him but none of them dated him. In fact...he usually ended up to the dances with whichever one of his close girl friend (as in friend who was female but had no romantic interest in him whatsoever.) was single at the moment. He got all dressed up, spent a ton of money on the evening, and usually had to watch as the girl broke free at the end of the night to hook up with her ex. (I'm not saying that this is right but you know this is how it played out.) The Billy Bob of the team was fiercely loyal and loved by all. You knew you count on him to carry your drunk ass to the car, beat up whatever rival was talking shit to you at the mall, and always had his shoulder ready for you to cry on. He was probably the best friend any of us had...and I bet none of us still know what happened to our Billy Bob. But again I digress...my point is that Ron Lester nailed the role of Billy Bob.
So as much as hot as Paul Walker and James Van Der Beek were in this movie...it was Charlie Tweeder who stole my heart in this flick. How could you not love this guy? Scott Caan owned this role and it was awesome. Rather than try to narrate the greatness of Tweeder...I will list them because one handed typing sucks.
- Tweeder steals the cop car. "You hurt my feelings and now I'm going home." He announces as he walks past the cops and jumps into their car. "I'm going to jail." He declares as he drives away from the party in the stolen car.
- Tweeder explaining that girls are just panty droppers with the help of perocet, two vicoden and a couple of beers. (I know that the women's lib movement will curse me for this but whatever.) It is funny. Even funnier is when Mox responds by asking Tweeder if he thinks he'll enjoy prison. Tweeder absentmindedly response that he doesn't know as he is looking down his pants trying to figure out what is on his "little soldier". What can I say...it is just a funny scene.
- Tweeder asks Mox "Do you want to see the new Tweeder End Zone Dance?" He dances and says "You know what its called?" Mox asks what. Tweeder responds "The New Tweeder End Zone Dance." How badass is that?
Finally....this movie is great because it captures the good and the bad about football. From the little things like the cheerleader painting her boyfriend's number on her cheek or the proud parents wearing their son's photo button like it is medal. It also hit on the big stuff. I know that I turned a cheek to the leaps that my boys took to mask their pain. Parents pretended not to know that their son was being mentally and sometimes even physically assaulted by their coach because it got the results. It captured the fun of the party after the game where it didn't matter if you won or lost on the field as long as you didn't lose that night's drinking game. It captured high school football for better or for worse. And it had a happy ending to that was bonus. Oh...and the soundtrack kicked ass. Pick it up if you can find it.
Mox said it well...Football was a way of life...at least for awhile. To hell with baseball...who needs it?