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This is a predictable football movie that lacks intensity.
This is a predictable football movie that lacks intensity.
All Critics (53)
| Top Critics (13)
| Fresh (21)
| Rotten (32)
| DVD (2)
Varsity Blues eventually fizzles out badly!
Already a prime candidate for 1999's worst!
Tired, corn-fed storyline and generic, plug-and-play direction!
An unappetizing mix of raucously vulgar comedy and teen-angst melodrama.
Scenes work, but they don't pile up and build momentum.
Although the film takes a worthwhile detour or two, it ultimately finds its way back to the well-worn track of its genre.
...slick, well made, and well acted, but it takes no chances. Seems a wasted opportunity.
...someone could make a very interesting, nuanced film about the exalted place that high school football holds in some parts of Texas... this isn't that film.
Van Der Beek and Voight weigh in with convincing performances .
A serviceable 1990s teen flick.
Depicts just how difficult it is to stay true to yourself and your dreams when the call of celebrity comes knocking at your door.
In addition to the fulfillment of endless high school male fantasies, it also recycles every football and sports movie cliché known to man
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.
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.
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.
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.
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