'When the Game Stands Tall' falls short

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By Becca Owsley


The News-Enterprise

“When the Game Stands Tall” is based on the true story of coach Bob Ladouceur and the De La Salle High School Spartans football team.

The team builds a 151-game winning streak, but things start to go wrong and the character of the team is tested.

It follows a line of moving and inspirational football movies such as “Remember the Titans” and “The Blind Side.” But these two movies it is not.

While the action on the field is pretty convincing, the rest of the film falls short.

The acting, with a few exceptions, is flat and the emotions seem unreal. With a plot ripped from reality and the circumstances these coaches and players experienced, it should be moving the audience to tears, followed by cheers at the end of the movie. But that’s not the result.

This film has a great point, but doesn’t really get to it. It drags and spends too much time on unnecessaries instead of staying focused on the driving force of the film.

It seems the filmmakers tried to make this story come to life but it fails to meet the mark.

It doesn’t have a polished feel to it and, instead, comes across as a made-for-TV type of film rather than a theater release.

The movie stars Jim Caviezel (“Person of Interest”), Michael Chiklis (“Vegas”), Laura Dern (“The Fault in our Stars”) and Clancy Brown (“Sleepy Hollow”). While their performances are OK, the young men playing members of the football team do not deliver good performances. Their line delivery is stale and forced. There have been much better young actors in other sports-related films.

All the things about the story this movie presents are good. Building a team of more than football players simply interested in winning is a good objective. The real-life coach’s quest to have the players become quality young men and not just quality young athletes is admirable.

But the film doesn’t present these admirable and respectable goals effectively.

The story may have played better as a sports documentary with the real people involved rather than a dramatic interpretation of the story.

Instead, audiences have a movie that not only should have gotten more from the actors, but also from the filmmakers putting on the finishing touches.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com. For movie reviews, go to her reporter page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Becca-Owsley/96924584861.

“When the Game Stands Tall”
Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking.
Release date: Aug. 22
Runtime: 115 minutes
Rating: Bad presentation of a good story


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