Varsity Blues (1999)

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Critic Consensus: This is a predictable football movie that lacks intensity.

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Movie Info

In his 35th year as head coach, Bud Kilmer is trying to lead his West Canaan Coyotes to their 23rd division title. Uncompromising and omnipotent, Kilmer is deified in the small Texas town, as long as the team is winning. But when star quarterback Lance Harbor suffers a season-ending injury, the Coyotes are forced to regroup under the questionable leadership of second-string quarterback Jonathan Moxon. His irreverent attitude and approach to football come into direct conflict with the coach's inflexible game plan.

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Cast

James Van Der Beek
as Jonathan Moxon
Jon Voight
as Coach Bud Kilmer
Paul Walker
as Lance Harbor
Ron Lester
as Billy Bob
Scott Caan
as Tweeder
Richard Lineback
as Joe Harbor
Ali Larter
as Darcy Sears
Tiffany C. Love
as Collette Harbor
Amy Smart
as Julie Harbor
Thomas F. Duffy
as Sam Moxon
Joe Pichler
as Kyle Moxon
Tonie Perensky
as Miss Davis
Jesse Plemons
as Tommy Harbor
John Gatins
as Smiling Man
Marco Perella
as Dr. Benton
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Critic Reviews for Varsity Blues

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (13)

Varsity Blues eventually fizzles out badly!

Jan 1, 2000
Film.com
Top Critic

Already a prime candidate for 1999's worst!

Jan 1, 2000

Tired, corn-fed storyline and generic, plug-and-play direction!

Jan 1, 2000

An unappetizing mix of raucously vulgar comedy and teen-angst melodrama.

Jan 1, 2000
Variety
Top Critic

Scenes work, but they don't pile up and build momentum.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Although the film takes a worthwhile detour or two, it ultimately finds its way back to the well-worn track of its genre.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Varsity Blues

½

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.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

½

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.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

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.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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