Gridiron Gang (2006)

(PG-13) 2 hrs, 5 mins

(PG-13) 2 hrs, 5 mins

Plot Summary: Teenagers at a juvenile detention center, under the leadership of their counselor, gain self-esteem by playing football together.

Director: Phil Joanou

Writers: Jeff Maguire, Jac Flanders (film “Gridiron Gang”)

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Xzibit, L. Scott Caldwell

Serious Jest:animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd) (Worth Watching) An inspiring true story. As you see in the credits, a significant number of movie quotes came straight from the real Sean Porter, who appears to be white. I guess Hollywood wanted to avoid the white-savior trope, but given how great this real-life story is, they didn’t need to reverse whitewash it…then again, Johnson played the hell out of this role (even if it’s not a huge stretch in range). And if you are a football fan like me, there was plenty of action with good camera work to maximize your enjoyment of the games.

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Friday Night Lights (2006-2011)

(NR)

Plot Summary: The trials and tribulations of small town Texas football players, their friends, family, and coaching staff.

Stars: Kyle ChandlerConnie Britton and Aimee Teegarden

Serious Jest:  (Queue It)  First and foremost, you should know I love football and am a big sucker for football films and series.  My biggest complaint about this show is that there isn’t more football (seems to average about one drive a show), even though I realize that football is only the MacGuffin, driving the real plots about life in a small Texas town.

All in all, this show is like the New England Patriots–it relies much more on its gameplan (strong stories, focus on the community as a whole) than on any individual character.  In fact, central characters are constantly being introduced, leaving, or returning.  Additionally, as the show goes on, more 20-something characters emerge, so that you’re not always stuck watching either the problems of high-schoolers, or their 40-something year-old parents, teachers, coaches, and administrators.  After watching the entire series, I’d have to say Tim Riggins (played by Taylor Kitsch) is my favorite character.  Who is yours?

I would also be curious to find out whether the career track for Britton’s character, Tammy, is realistic.  I’m not sure that one could realistically make the transitions she makes.  Please comment if you’re in the education field and know something about this (but make sure you lead with “Spoiler” if you’re going to discuss the different jobs that Tammy takes).