Monday, September 1, 2014
When the Game Stands Tall Review
The biggest problem is that the movie actually has a much different focus than what the marketing made me believe. I thought the winning streak was going to get broken towards the beginning of the movie and we would spend most of the movie watching this team and this community try to recover. That would've been interesting to watch. However, the movie focused a ton on the events that led up to the streak ending. In fact, I don't know the specific timing, but it felt like the streak didn't end until at least halfway through the movie, maybe later. And that whole introduction was drawn out way too long to the point where I was bored. Also, there were a lot of emotional scenes in that first half that completely missed the mark. I think I was supposed to be emotionally affected, but I really wasn't. I think part of that reason was that all these emotional scenes were advertised heavily in every single trailer. Except it was backwards. Trailer shows the streak ending and then shows all the emotional scenes. Poor advertising. In fact, the streak almost felt like a spoiler. Not quite, but almost.
So after the boring first half, we finally get to the point where the streak ends and that's where this movie starts to pick up. You could argue that it is loaded with all sorts of sports clichés, and I will agree with that to a point. I mean, there's not a whole lot you can do with a sports movie that hasn't already been done, so you definitely know what's going to happen. But as long as the execution and the chemistry is done well, I can overlook some clichés. Earlier this year, the movie Million Dollar Arm was panned for similar reasons, but I enjoyed. Same with the second half of this movie. There's a lot of great character progression on this team. They start as these cocky players that just expect to win every single game and when they don't, they hit the harsh brick wall that is reality. Slowly they learn to actually grow up and bond together as a team. At the end, they've learned that there is a lot more to life than just football and because of this, they are finally able to enjoy the success that previous teams from this high school did.
So in the end, When the Game Stands Tall had the potential to be a really good movie. The initial premise of the movie sounded really interesting and when they actually got to that premise in the last half of the movie, the movie was actually really enjoyable, even though you definitely knew what was going to happen. The problem was I can't just forget that the first half of the movie happened. Had the movie been polished up a bit, it could've been great, but alas it comes nowhere near the classic sports movies like Remember the Titans. But that said, if you're looking for a movie to see and you've already seen all the big blockbusters from this Summer, you could do a lot worse. I give When the Game Stands Tall a 7.5/10.