Friday Night Lights Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ July 29, 2010
Another film about football, this sports drama has been lauded by critics for its grotesque portrayal of on-field action, its raw emotion, and fighting spirit. It went on to inspire a television show that was a critical darling until its end in 2011, and remains one of the few sports movies that many relate to and love. The film follows the Odessa-Permian panthers in their 1988 season, a real team that was characterized by a book of the same name in which this film was based. It follows the team as their star coach has to grapple after the injury of one of their best players, and the ensuing losing streak. The film becomes an underdog tale as the team struggles to gain a foothold among the other teams competing for the title of state champion. Like other sports movies the action is rather built up, there is the tension of the town's Southern poverty thanks to an oil shortage in that year, and the characters having to traverse the regular hardships of their teenage existence. The town itself has a perverse stake in the football season and this generation's prowess, their interest ever present but most so in the beginning of the film, and though addressed throughout with an ex-champion father to one of the players, now a loud alcoholic played by Tim McGraw, there isn't really any change in that attitude. Instead that small town arrogance permeates the rest of the film and this football team's prominence is covered by the town's radio, television, and public opinion, which is simply sickening. The film also does not represent its characters very well, only briefly looking at their personal lives and more often than others cutting to the football field where they are harassed and abused by their assistant coaches and family members. The characters are badly defined, most often badly acted, and forgettable. "Boogie" is the only empathetic or interesting character, and he barely has anything to do with their season. In the end the attitude of sports being most important prevails, and none of the characters show any growth, only expressing their sadness at never playing again. Besides being an underdog story there isn't much tension, and with all the buildup that's vitally important, which is why this film leaves you deflated.
Super Reviewer
½ April 12, 2011
A movie is rare when they make a movie as good as Friday Night Lights, and a movie that is the best performance from Billy Bob Thorton ever. The plot is the best sports plot ive seen since Rudy or Hoosiers. The characters were all great, they all gave a backround of themselves by their expression, really good acting. I was surprised to discover the music was tremendous, really well made. The cinematography was really shaky for a football movie. This movie was amazing.
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2011
Mike Winchell: This is for the state championship. I love all of ya'll, baby. I love all of ya'll. 

"Hope Comes Alive on Friday Night"

As far as football movies or sports movies in general go, Friday Night Lights sets itself apart from most. I don't know if I've seen another movie that captures the emotion of high school athletics as well as Friday Night Lights did. Anyone who's ever played a high school sport knows the emotion that's involved. That last game of the season and for about 95% of the players; the last game of their lives. 

The State Championship sequence is highly manipulative. I'll be the first to admit that. Everything about it is manipulative. But it's undeniably well-made, emotional, and powerful. For many of the players, it is the biggest moment of their life. They aren't going to have another day where 55,000 people are screaming and their only a touchdown away from a state championship. 

The characters are all well developed and are all deeply moving in their own way. Billingsley can't hold on to the football, but he fights through that and ends up being one of the teams best players. Winchell is a hard working and tough quarterback who never gives up on himself or his team. Boobie is the most talented player, but also the most cocky. That is until he goes down for the season. He rallies around his team even though he can't play, and it's killing him. Hell even Billingsley's dad is moving. Yeah he's a piece of crap to his son at the start. But he grows to be a good dad at the end in a pretty emotional shot. We can't hear what he says to his son, but we really don't need to.

If you love sports and know the emotions that are involved; this movie cannot be missed. It's really a spectacular look at one season and how it can affect a town in so many ways.
Super Reviewer
June 22, 2007
I probably would have liked this film a ton better had the TV show not eclipsed it in grandeur many times over. Billy Bob, you are no Kyle Chandler.
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2007
I had been told this was a great movie, and I can't say that I disagree. Formulaic, but perfectly so in its way. It gets a little emo in the end, but that's not to take away from its great moments. Billy Bob Thornton holds his own with a strong ensemble cast of relative unknowns in the true story of Permian High's march to the Texas State Championship Game. I think what separates this from many sports movies is that you know just how much rides on the football season, and why each player there has to succeed. Very Last Picture Show, in a way - the desolation of the small Texas town and the desperate search for that ticket out. A very good film.
Super Reviewer
½ April 14, 2010
"Hope comes alive"

Based on H.G. Bissinger's book, which profiled the economically depressed town of Odessa, Texas and their heroic high school football team, The Permian High Panthers.

"Friday Night Lights" follows a season of football in a dusty little Texas oil town where varsity football is not just the only game in town but the only way out of town and the only hope for the future for many of the players. The film examines the team's key players and their good guy coach (Thornton) as they wrestle with personal issues and work their way through the season one bone jarring touchdown at a time. Working more with montages than linear plot development, Director Berg brings life and verve to the screen culminating in the mania and frenzy of the statewide championship. An excellent football flick, "Friday Night Lights" is all about football and what it means to the town that lives through it vicariously.
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2008
He misses the last TD by half a yard.
Super Reviewer
October 24, 2007
One of the best sports movies ever made. A powerful, compelling and gripping emotional powerhouse. The characters and the story and incrediably inspirational. Billy Bob Thorton is electrifying.
Super Reviewer
May 30, 2006
Coach Gary Gaines: Gentlemen, the hopes and dreams of an entire town are riding on your shoulders. You may never matter again in your life as much as you do right now.

I am not a big fan of sports movies, with few exceptions. They are all pretty much the same to me, but this is the best football movie that I have seen.

It's about these kids in their moment, many know that they wont do much else after high school, so it is important to see them win these games so they can feel like they were somebody at one time.

Billy Bob also does well in a quiet role, as the coach who just wants to get through the season, and if he can win, that's nice too.

Coach Gary Gaines: My goodness gracious!

Based off of the novel of the same name, directed by author Buzz Bisinger's cousin Peter Berg, the movie does a good job at getting across a lot of what made the book work, as well as making it work for a cinematic feature.

There is also a lot of good camera work showing the football action that is going on. That has to be hard stuff to shoot.

The soundtrack is also very good. Mixing a neat score with some choice tunes.

This is a well made sports movie, with good performances, and a good story about making it through the high points of life for this small Texas town.

State Trooper: You boys gonna go undefeated?
Brian Chavez: Yes sir.
State Trooper: You boys gonna win state?
Brian Chavez: Yes sir.
State Trooper: Good.
Super Reviewer
½ July 15, 2007
A powerful High School football movie which showed how serious the towns, the kids, the coaches and the parents get. It has a unique cinematographic style throughout which is worth checking out.
Super Reviewer
July 7, 2007
One of the best football movies out there. Thornton seems an unlikely choice for the role of the head coach, but he, as well as the very underrated Derek Luke, are superb.
Super Reviewer
½ June 14, 2007
Good actors, good story too tell. It took you back too Highschool football, pretty well. But, I think it tried to hard too meet the hype of "Remember The Titans" and at that, it failed.
It is worth watching though.
Super Reviewer
½ May 22, 2007
Pretty standard high school sports drama. Pleasing but we've seen it all before countless times.
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2007
Walked out after half an hour.
Super Reviewer
½ December 2, 2011
Friday Night Lights is a brilliant sports drama that focuses heavily on its characters, which ultimately makes for Peter Berg's best film. It has emotion and teriffic acting, making for a memorable experience. It also inspired and brilliant television show, so it count as a great one in my book.
Super Reviewer
May 27, 2011
Underrated as one of great sports movies ever, "Friday Night Lights" succeeds on two levels: gives you great action sequences on the field and believable characters off of it. For one, it beautifully juxtaposes the joy and pain of the feverish support for a local football team in a small town that offers no escape. On the other hand, it also contains some of the hardest-hitting football action ever committed to film. Throw some strong, in-your-face performances into the mix and you've got one of the best movies of the last ten years.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
May 21, 2011
If they do a football film on Alabama Crimson Tide then I say get Bill Thornton to play Nick Saban too. Come to think of it, a deal of football coaches look, to an extent, like Saban. I can just see a team of British scientists searching through to deepest heart of Africa and discovering a whole hidden tribe of sports-playing Africans being yelled at by a race of Nick Sabans. I can just see a whole lot of Auburn fans out there saying "I knew he was the missing link." But enough about Saban Americans, let's touch on this film, which suffers from a lack of development, some inconsistancies, a bit of a let-down and cop-out ending and slowness. I know, a slow sports movie. Crazy isn't it? In spite of this, "Friday Night Lights" features a solid soundtrack, strong characters and fantastic performances to make it an ultimately rousing drama.
Super Reviewer
½ April 11, 2007
Let me get one thing clear, right now. This is not a standard flick. This is not related to that "Fake" and "Dreaded" tv-spin off.

This film is powerful. This film is an emotional ride. This is a drama. This is a sports movie. This is one of the best sports movie ever.

What it is about Friday Night Lights is it is hard-hitting, gutwrenching, and heartpounding entertainment.
Super Reviewer
June 18, 2006
It was really good. It is probably one of the best sports movies ever. Good acting by Thorton. All of the rest of the cast is pretty good too. I like how each player had their own back story to them. The ending is perfect. This movie deserves better than what people say about it.
Super Reviewer
July 6, 2008
Ok. I get it. Football.

But it's entertaining and well-made.

But it's still football.

Get over it.
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