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*** Official FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Justin_S, Sep 16, 2004.

  1. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    The previews for this film caught my interest, and I recalled seeing a book of the same name in stores. I read about the book, and was definitely intrigued. I really enjoy a good story on this subject, and plan on reading the book soon. To make matters even juicier, I actually lived in Odessa for a good while. Can't wait to read the book, and then see the adaptation.

    On another note, for anyone here who might have read the book, do you think the PG-13 rating for the film is appropriate, or would it have to be toned down. I figured it'd be rated R from some things I'd heard, and am just curious, though I'll see it either way. Thanks in advance for any replies.
     
  2. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    I live in Odessa, and while I havent read the book, I think the movie will be fantastic. The whole crew was here to film, and it was great seeing some big names in our city.

    Times were economically tough back in the 80s (which is the time the movie is set). Things are much, much better here now- should be interesting to see how it was then.

    On a side note, I went to OHS- fierce rivals of PHS (the team the movie focuses on). The OHS vs PHS games are amazing, and something Ill always remember for the rest of my life.
     
  3. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Seeing the trailor for this movie, and then hearing about it on ESPN has really made me want to see it a lot. I also am a sucker for this kind of movie, and so will definitely check it out.
     
  4. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Hey David,
    I was going to college in Abilene when this was written. Or at least when I found out about the book. Permian was a powerhouse of a dynasty then. I remember reading the paper and hearing from friends from Midland Lee that 20,000 or more would fill the stadium for these big rival games against Odessa, Midland Lee etc...

    I'm looking forward to the film too.
     
  5. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    I finished reading the book last week, and its easily one of the finest books I've ever read. It also reminded me of how much I loved living in Odessa. I went to as many of the games as I could during the years I spent there, and I agree, the experience is amazing, not something that you forget. I loved it, and I loved the town. I definitely plan on going back one of these days.

    I highly recommend the book, it captures the passion of the town, and the mood of the games perfectly. It brought up many memories, and I can't wait to see the film.
     
  6. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Producer

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    I had some questions after reading the book and then seeing the trailer

    in the book, I felt sympathy towards the kids because of the immense pressure they were loading on themselves for the games, and Boobie specifically, losing a football career before he even got it
    --but I also got angry as hell at the kids AND their parents because neither one of them ONCE ever emphasized the education aspects. They were both complicit in letting the entire POINT of going to school slide. The whole Carter H.S. subplot with the tests was pretty interesting--I'm guessing that got cut. I saw the trailer and there were a couple shots of one of the players getting some with a cheerleader or something, and that wasn't given much attention in the book that I can remember.

    Basically, it might be a really good football movie, but does it accomplish it's positives by pretty much jettisoning the majority of the books incisive observation about the community around it? If this movie doesn't make the still blatant racism of the community in 1988 a noticeable part of the movie, something wrong has happened.

    The overwhelming feelings I left the book with were bittersweet frustration and tentative hope. That should be what the movie conveys. It shouldn't be a more pure, less corny "Varsity Blues," which is what the trailer seems to hint at. Not that it's all too wise to try and gauge a movie's quality off the trailer--although that's exactly what a good trailer is SUPPOSED to do, but anyway..

    I then read Nordling's review of it over at AICN, and had a convo with him over at CHUD, and it appears my worries were actually pretty well founded.

    I don't think the film should really be trying to make the audience feel like the obsessives in Odessa and reward them for it. If it's going to make you feel like the Odessans, then it should be making you feel uncomfortable about it, sort of like how you realize you're rooting for Norman in Psycho, although you really shouldn't be. But, I will say this--this can still be an effective movie even if the main focus is just on the kids, specifically Boobie's story. I'm just not sure it'll work as well as an adaptation of the book.

    Hopefully the things I came away with from the book don't insult you, Justin, or you, David. I see you liked living in Odessa, so I hope you don't take my impressions from the book as some sort of condemnation of your town or your joy in living there. All apologies if it seems I'm inadvertently crapping on you by expressing reservations about the city as it was in 1988.
     
  7. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    Right, I see what you mean. Many, many Odessans felt betrayed when the book came out (with its strong racial tones) and never forgave the author for that...till the movie was made. It looks like racism doesnt play as hard a role in the movie as it did the book.

    Not sure if this is good or bad yet, since I havent seen the movie nor read the book. We'll see, I guess. I wouldnt mind the racism at all, since its part of the towns history back then. Not anymore, of course. [​IMG]

    Interesting stuff.
     
  8. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    I've seen the film but haven't read the book. The film's shot and edited in such a way to immerse you in the experience. (There's a lot of football footage.) It's gritty and intense--lots of fast cutting, handheld camera movement, and a grungy visual quality. The language has been reined in for ratings purposes. (FWIW, I didn't have a problem with that.) Racism isn't a central issue, but there's a casual way in which it rears its head and informs a lot of what we're seeing.

    I can't imagine someone who sees this coming away thinking, "Gee, isn't high school football great?" Don't get me wrong, it's not a total condemnation, but it asks some serious questions about it that the diehards may not like.

    Overall, I liked it. Peter Berg's energetic direction and the verite feel deliver the goods.
     
  9. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    BEST - FOOTBALL - MOVIE - EVER.

    I thought it captured most of the feel of the book, and particularly the passion Texans have for football at this level (not just Texas, BTW, this is prevalent in a lot of places).

    It DOES ask serious questions, but I felt it tread the line between condemnation and praise pretty well. I don't consider the Odessans anywhere near Norman in 'Psycho'. And, I don't think they are the problem - the obsession with sports and desire to use sports to gain fortune/escape is nation wide and multi-sport related. If anything, the obsession is 10x worse now than it was in 1988.
     
  10. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    Sounds great, cant wait [​IMG]

    Theres gonna be a showing here in Odessa the day before the movie opens, and all the stars will be there. Tickets are $100 though, so count me out [​IMG]
     
  11. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    No offense taken, Robert. When I lived there, I was very much caught up in the craze myself, but I understand where you're coming from on all points, and I quite agree.

    Back then, teens in the Odessa area, and pretty much West Texas in general, didn't even have to graduate to get a good paying job in the oil business, so they mostly disregarded education, and focused on their passion for football. When the oil industry faultered, the obsession actually became even stronger.

    Regardless of all the negative aspects of the obsession and the history, my time spent there, and my time at the games were still some of the most memorable, most enjoyable times I've had. Its something I definitely miss. The book really helped me relive some of the memories.

    Mark and Quentin, thanks for the comments on the film. It sounds fabulous, and after reading the book, I wouldn't doubt for a second that its the best sports movie ever made. Anyone who hasn't read the book definitely should.
     
  12. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Saw it a few hours ago.

    [​IMG] There's a lot of stuff here that you've seen in other sports movies, but it's done really well here. Plus knowing that the film is based on real people helps add some credibility.

    Berg does some damn good work. This may not be the best football movie I've ever seen*, but the football sequences are pretty damn staggering.

    The fun thing was this: this promo screening was populated by about 300 teenage football players! They gave passes to the players from 4 or 5 local schools! And these kids ate the thing UP!

    (*The Best of Times, 1986)
     
  13. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    Sounds great. Cant wait to see it!

    Since I havent seen many football movies to compare which is best, I can easily say this movie will be the best football movie ever [​IMG]
     
  14. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    This is the best football movie ever:

    [​IMG]

    Yes, Gus -- the best football movie ever made. The trials and tribulations of a Eastern European mule struggling to make it in the cut-throat world of football. Brings a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

    [​IMG]
    A tender bedroom scene from the movie, Gus
     
  15. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "Friday Night Lights" please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.

    All HTF member film reviews of "Friday Night Lights" should be posted to the Official Review Thread.

    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


    Crawdaddy
     
  16. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    The distracting thing about having Tim McGraw play Billingsley's drunk father was that I kept asking myself, "how does a drunk guy making minimum wage afford hair plugs?"

    It took me over half the film to realize that Gaines' wife was Connie Britton from Spin City.

    The shot of Derek Luke's sobbing in the car just outside the stadium was a solid choice in showing what his knee injury costed Boobie Miles. Had to laugh when Boobie wanted to know if getting a MRI would fix his knee.
     
  17. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Just saw it last night. Great movie. It was really good at portraying what high school football in Texas is like, and illustrating the pros and cons of it. It is just sad that some people will think it was the highlight of their lives to play HS football in Texas. Sadder still is that they might be right about that.

    I'd also have to say that the action was wonderfully shot. It really did feel like real game footage. It also captured the ups and downs of a team.

    Jason
     
  18. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    Recommendation: watch the documentary "Go Tigers". It CLEARLY is the influence for style and structure that Berg uses for FNL. It's a great docu.
     
  19. Shea

    Shea Stunt Coordinator

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    It's not sad to think that playing high school football is the highlight of your life. I grew up in West Texas 2 hours from Odessa, the school I played at was in the movie. When you grow up as a kid in this area your dream is to play for the local high school team. It was a bigger deal than the Dallas Cowboys. Once it gets to high school, interest in football drops in Texas the higher the level gets.. I really think high school football is more important to most Texans than NFL football. Notice while football is so huge in Texas, other parts of the country seem to care more about their college teams maybe a little more than here, and definitely more than pro teams here.

    It's not sad, because no matter how many unbelievable things you do in your life, playing for your high school team.. is an amazing feeling you always look back on.. It sound sad because if you don't grow up in the area you can't imagine what it's like. There are NFL players who grew up in Texas who when asked if it was a bigger deal to win a high school State Championship or the Super Bowl, they'll say the State Championship was a bigger deal to them.
     
  20. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Then I guess I'll never really understand it. Having something that I did when I was 18 to be the highlight of my life doesn't exactly strike me as a good thing, considering all the years most people live. I look particularly at Tim McGraw's character and the fact that all he could think about was his past glories and living vicariously through his son's life. While I understand having pride in your team, at the end of the day, it is still just a game played by kids, and it is sad that it feels like they miss the point. As the college recruiter said in the movie, this is supposed to be fun.

    Jason
     

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