Varsity Blues Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 3, 2010
A parody of a parody, "Varsity Blues" is recklessly crass, uneven in its portrayal of high school football, and overall a sexist, annoying cultural iconoclast. Every inch of this film would later be satirized in "Not Another Teen Movie" for good reason: the side characters are idiotic stereotypes, there's constant sexism and objectification of every single female character, it tries to blend humor and drama but is unsuccessful, and the ending is corny and over-the-top. Mox (Van Der Beek) is the only character who isn't a complete asshole, but he still objectifies his teacher, doesn't say much when his teammates are being offensively abused by their negligent coach, and he and his girlfriend never have a conversation longer than a couple of minutes. If you want to watch a film that handles the drama and socio-economic issues of high school football's reach in small town America, watch "Friday Night Lights." If you want to watch idiotic pandering to your lowest base desires, watch some soft-core porn. Otherwise there's really no reason for you to watch a film that has been done, and done better, a million times.
Super Reviewer
½ October 1, 2010
It may take a while to win you over, due to it's odd tonal shifts and it may be a little predictable, but every sports film has their predictability aspect to them, and I believe that "Varsity Blues" takes advantage of that in the right way. After the quarterback (Paul Walker) is injured, the second string must take over for the rest of the season to lead the team to victory. Sure it's an old tale in the world of sports, but when you have a likeable cast of characters, a fun script, and a soundtrack that will make you smile, there is not too much to complain about. What the film does lack is originality and the cheesy score did not help either, but hey that's the 90's for you. Make of this film what you will, because it will be deemed fun for some and bad for others. On my end of the spectrum, I had a blast watching it, there are some odd filmmaking techniques used, but it all comes down to the overall experience. "Varsity Blues" is a solid football film.
Super Reviewer
October 7, 2007
Imagine every football movie, throw in every cliché to the max, and you have this film, about a small Texas town obsessed with high school football and how the backup quarterback (James van der Beek) rises to fame after the starting quarterback (Paul Walker) goes down with an injury in large part to his egotistical coach's (Jon Voight) poor decision making. The characters are caricatures, not really well developed and overacted to the extreme, especially by Voight in a scene-chewing, though admittedly enjoyable, performance. Half of the actors look ten years out of high school but they are still playing high school students. You can pretty much call every scene in the movie from beginning to end, but for some odd reason, you still end up liking the ride for the most part. It's fluff entertainment that does not have any interest in being anything more than that, but as long as you are okay with that, it's an alright film.
Super Reviewer
May 20, 2011
Coach Bud Kilmer: Your daddy was a no-talent pussy, but at least he listened! 

"Make your own rules."

I had seen this movie over the course of the last five years, but never as a whole. I had always seen parts of it here and there on television, but before I had watched it as a whole, I had only known the movie in clips. It's a fairly standard high school film. It's overly melodramatic and each and every character or plot development is completely overplayed to the point where the cliches are flying at you from the screen. Varsity Blues feels so amateurish, it's ridiculous. It's poorly acted, written, and directed; settling for just the standard plot and characters that go along with lazy, unoriginal high school movies.

In Texas, football is everything. Kids are taught from a young age to give all they have to the game, even if they don't really want to. Mox is the backup quarterback to an all-state god. When the starter is injured and can't play anymore, Mox is forced to step into the starters shoes and take over the team. His coach, Bud Kilmer is a local god, but only the players really know what he is like. He doesn't actually care about his players, only his résumé. 

I really dislike this movie, despite its easy to watch nature. The only reason it's so easy to watch, comes from the fact that there is a certain amount of enjoyment in watching a film that is so unsubtle and poorly executed. There isn't really a level that the movie actually succeeds on. It's all just incredibly horrible.

This isn't a movie of the caliber of Friday Night Lights. All it is, is another stereotypical, cliche, and insultingly stupid take on high school football and the players who play. Could the movie have been worse? Probably, but not much worse. I would suggest skipping this one. No matter how much you like high school movies or how much you like sports movies or any combination of the two; Varsity Blues is absolutely not worth your time.
Super Reviewer
June 11, 2011
A Texas high school quarterback defies convention and a hard-line coach as he leads his team to success and raucous teen fun.
My favorite sports film of all time is 61*, and that's not just because I'm a die-hard Yankees fan. I think my favorite moment in Billy Crystal's film is Roger Maris's response to one of the reporter's questions: the reporter asks him about the heroism of what he accomplished (I wish I could quote verbatim, but I don't have that good a memory), and Maris replies, "I don't think that's something you can earn on a ball field." And because of the attention that film pays to Maris's off-the-field struggles, we understand his point. Essentially, Varsity Blues flirts with the same point. The main character, Mox, considers his goals reaching beyond high school, and the film attempts to satirize/criticize the seriousness with which Texas high school communities take football. The problem is that the film ends up reinforcing everything it criticizes. Everything that you think would happen does, and what we're left with is a crippling contradiction: the goals these people hold so dearly are foolishly short-sighted, but we're still supposed to relish in the moments the characters achieve them.
Also, perhaps it's because my high school experience was much like most people's time in prison, but I always find films that portray high schoolers as adults, with the freedoms and problems adults have, to be extraordinarily false. After all, I don't know any town, in Texas or anywhere else, where seventeen- and eighteen-year-olds would be able to drink freely, steal a police car, go to a strip club (where their teacher moonlights [a teacher's pay isn't that bad]), and still face no consequences.
Overall, if you like over-drawn cliches and don't mind if a film is thematically contradictory, then enjoy Varsity Blues and the brief but delectable shot of Ali Larter in a whip cream bikini.
Super Reviewer
½ January 26, 2009
I made it my goal to see all of the football films in the world since I love Friday Night Lights so much, and man was that a mistake. Varsity Blues is a pedestrian, fart joke sort of movie with the brain capacity of a three year old.
Super Reviewer
½ July 8, 2009
Saw it again!!! I just love highschool football movie like this. Nice good cast!!!

onathan "Mox" Moxon (James Van Der Beek) is an academically gifted backup quarterback for the West Canaan High School football team. Despite his relative popularity at school, easy friendships with other players, and smart and sassy girlfriend, Jules Harbor (Amy Smart), Mox is dissatisfied with his life. He wants to leave Texas to go to school at Brown University. He also dislikes his football-obsessed father (Thomas F. Duffy) and dreads playing football under legendary coach Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight). Kilmer is a verbally abusive control freak whose philosophy can be summed up as "win at all costs". He has a strong track record as coach, remarking in a speech that "in my thirty years of coaching football at West Caanan, I have brought two state titles, and 22 district championships!" Kilmer's philosophy finally takes its toll on Coyotes' quarterback, Lance Harbor (Paul Walker). It is revealed that Lance, who is Mox's best friend, had been manipulated into taking cortisone shots into an injured knee that finally gave out on a huge sack. Lance is rushed to the hospital, where doctors are appalled at the massive amount of scar tissue found under his knee.

Mox, who has accompanied Lance to the hospital, is shocked when Kilmer tells the doctor that he knew nothing at all about Lance's knee problems, when in fact Kilmer ordered the trainer to inject the shots. In need of a new quarterback, Kilmer reluctantly names Mox to replace Lance as captain and starting quarterback. The move brings unexpected dividends for Mox, one of them being Darcy Sears (Ali Larter), Lance's beautiful blonde cheerleader girlfriend, who is interested in marrying a football player in order to escape small-town life. Darcy even goes so far as to attempt to seduce Moxon, sporting a bikini made of whipped cream over her otherwise naked body, but he rebuffs her as gently as he can.

Becoming fed up with Kilmer and not feeling a strong need to win, Mox starts calling his own plays on the field without Kilmer's approval. He also finally tells his football obsessed father off at one point screaming at him "I don't want your life!" Mox's father had been a football player at West Caanan, and although Kilmer dismissed him as a "no talent pussy" he did say that he at least listened (unlike Mox). Kilmer, who becomes aware that Mox has won a full scholarship to Brown, warns Mox that if he doesn't fall in line, he will alter his transcripts in order to reverse the decision on his scholarship.

Another friend of Mox's, Wendell Brown, is injured on the field shortly thereafter. Kilmer manipulates Wendell into taking a shot of cortisone to deaden the pain from his injury, allowing him to continue even in the face of a permanent injury. Wendell, who is desperate to be recruited by a good college, grants his consent. At this moment, Mox tells Kilmer he'll quit the team if the needle enters Wendell's knee. Undaunted, Kilmer orders Charlie Tweeder (Scott Caan), a friend of both Mox and Wendell, to take the snaps. Tweeder refuses. Mox tells Kilmer that the only way they'll return to the field is without him. Realizing that he will be forced to forfeit the game, Kilmer loses control and attacks Mox. The other players break up the fight and then refuse to take to the field. Knowing his loss of control has cost him his credibility, Kilmer tries in vain to rally support and spark the team's spirit into trusting him, but not one player follows him out of the locker room. Kilmer continues down the locker room hall, and seeing no one following him, turns the other direction and into his office. The team goes on to win the game without his guidance.

In a voice-over epilogue, Mox states that he "never played football again. Lance went on to a successful coaching career (he did not work at Wal-Mart as feared by Darcy), Wendell received a scholarship to Grambling, Billy Bob cried because he's a bit of a crier, Tweeder drank beer because, well...Tweeder drinks beers. Kilmer retired, never to coach football again. However, his statue still stands only because it was too heavy to move. I took the scholarship and will graduate from Brown University."
Super Reviewer
August 13, 2010
This might have the reputation of being a dumb and frivolous high school drama, but it's a lot more layered than you'd think and extremely entertaining to watch. Half of the time it's a self parody of football freaks from Texas and the other half is just pure fun. It's as if All the Right Moves was remade from a cynical point of view for the 90s. James Van Der Beek naturally rules supreme as Mox, the smart second string quarterback who doesn't want a life of football. So he makes his own rules and defies Texan god Bud Kilmer, the most evil man to ever coach a football team. What I like about Varsity Blues is that it doesn't take itself seriously and basically has a great message about the pressure of sports in school above everything else. It's also got just about every bizarre high school stereotype, but it's all in good fun. Who doesn't love a whip cream bikini?
Super Reviewer
½ February 3, 2010
"Make your own rules."

In small-town Texas, high school football is a religion. The head coach is deified, as long as the team is winning and 17-year-old schoolboys carry the hopes of an entire community onto the gridiron every Friday night.

I didn't expect much out of Varsity Blues, but the movie delivers. Sure, all the cliches and high school fantasies are included, but they are intended. The movie's exaggeration of these characters and situations is oftentimes very funny, and it works. The actual plot keeps you interested in what happens to the characters and what happens to the team. The movie is refreshing as well, in the fact that the injured quarterback does not become the "bad guy", and the blonde "ambitious" cheerleader becomes a somewhat sympathetic figure.

As far as the football scenes are concerned, they are done very well, the only nitpicking thing that I could find as a football fan, is that on a long pass play the clock did not stop for a first down. In high school and college football the clock stops to move the chains, no big deal. And sure, we probably could figure out that the black running back would score a big touchdown, and that they would run the the five receiver set, and that the hook and ladder would come into play at the end, but it wasn't overly obvious like in some sports movies. Definitely should be an enjoyable movie for teens, adults, and football fans.
Super Reviewer
August 15, 2009
Before I watched "Varsity Blues," I wasn't expecting it to be a great movie. But it turned out to be better than great, it's spectacular. Moxon (James Van Der Beek) is a football player who doesn't get the recognition he thinks he deserves because he is in the shadow of the starting quarterback, Lance. When Lance gets injured, Moxon becomes the new starting quarterback. He has to learn to be the team's new leader and how to deal with being the superstar.
"Varsity Blues" is an all-around great movie. It has a great plot and even better acting, especially by Jon Voight as Coach Kilmer, James Van Der Beek as Moxon, and Ron Lester as Billy Bob. It's a great movie with a lot of drama, and it has one of the best endings of any movie I've seen lately. Billy Bob is the one that really makes this movie and after you see it, you'll know what I'm talking about. I recommend anybody to get "Varsity Blues." Note: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000. I'd have to see it again to know how it really stacks up to me.
Super Reviewer
½ June 12, 2007
Well, I'm surprised how good this film turn into... I know it is a typical teenager movie, but this time it's about football... The story in this movie was wrapped beautifully, I must say that I enjoyed the story... And for the cast, having Jon Voight in this movie make this movie got a higher score than it should be because of Voight shows a strong performance in this movie... And for the teenager cast, they grow up well... Paul Walker, Ali Larter, Scott Caan, and Amy Smart, maybe not too popular in nowadays, but I know about them... Just James Van Der Beek who I never heard about... But overall, it's entertaining!!!
Super Reviewer
½ June 8, 2008
Very entertaining, and filled with a number of scenes that work well, but unfortunatly, there are a few too many that aren't as good. The performances are probably the real highlight here, along with the accurate depiction of Texas football culture.
Super Reviewer
October 4, 2007
Good flick about high school football. It is a staple in the teen movies of the late 90's and early 2000's. The cast played it off well and some of them went on to do other things. I liked it.
Super Reviewer
May 31, 2007
It's sad but it's good.
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2007
better then expected
Super Reviewer
½ January 15, 2007
brainless but ok, no classic but worth watching
Super Reviewer
½ November 15, 2006
I like this comedy-drama high school footballer as they make up their rules - cool! Jon Voight's character is a bastard. Ali Lester's hotter in nudity scene with cream on.
Super Reviewer
November 7, 2006
It was alright.
Super Reviewer
May 31, 2007
A movie about a high school football team, created by MTV, starring all the teen-heartthrobs of the late 90s, I couldn't have been more uninterested. For 17 years, I avoided seeing this film, I figured it would be a steaming pile full of good looking people with their shirts off, but after catching the ending on TV, I decided to check it out and I'm glad I did. In Texas, football is everything, even at the high school level. The West Canaan Coyotes are one of the best teams in the state, thanks to a hard nosed, old school coach, and an NFL bound Quarterback, but their perfect season takes a turn when the Quarterback goes down with a serious knee injury. The Coyotes are left in the hands of John Moxon (James Van Der Beek), a kid who hasn't taken a snap in three years, who is only on the team because of his father. The coach hates him, the town doubts him, but something amazing happens when Mox is on the field, he's actually good. James Van Der Beek stars and honestly, I always felt that he was too much into the whole teen-heartthrob persona, I never took him seriously as an actor, or envisioned him being good in a role like this. Just as the town was surprised by how good Mox was on the field, I was just as surprised by how good Van Der Beek was in this role. When you add Jon Voight to the equation, as the hard nosed coach, things really come together. The two men hate each other, but are forced to work together, it's this dynamic and tension behind the scenes that really makes the off the field action as interesting as what's taking place on the field. Varsity Blues is produced by MTV, stars actors I normally wouldn't watch, and as it turns out it is one of the most exciting and intense sports films I've ever seen. One of the things I love about films, is that you can never judge them based on anything else other than their content. On the surface, this is something I'd never watch, but happenstance brought me to it, and it's honestly one of the best football movies I've ever seen.
Super Reviewer
½ July 7, 2011
This movie had instilled tradition of a high school football team where most of its kind comes up one yard short.
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