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Friday Night Lights [2004 film] (2004)

af Peter Berg (Director & Screenwriter), David Aaron Cohen (Screenwriter)

Andre forfattere: Lucas Black (Actor), Brian Grazer (Producer), Garrett Hedlund (Actor), Jay Hernandez (Actor), Lee Jackson (Actor)6 mere, Derek Luke (Actor), Tim McGraw (Actor), Brian Reitzell (Music), Tobias A. Schliessler (Director of photography), Billy Bob Thornton (Actor), David Torn (Komponist)

Serier: Friday Night Lights (Movie)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1752150,439 (3.97)5
Odessa is an oil town in the western part of Texas that is home to the Permian High School Panthers, the football team with the best winning record. The city's economy is in a tailspin, but football is the one thing that brings all the people of Odessa together, and on Friday nights, as many as 20,000 people fill Permian's football stadium to watch Coach Gary Gaines lead the team to victory. And in Odessa, a football victory is prized above all else. The players ponder the fact that there is little future in their hometown ... and that a championship season can be as much a burden as a triumph.… (mere)

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(Accessed on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Friday-Night-Lights-Widescreen-Thornton/dp/B00005JNEW/ref=...

Editorial Reviews

From The New Yorker
Buzz Bissinger's remarkable book about a high-school football team in Texas oil country gets a worthy, slightly rock-video adaptation in the hands of the director Peter Berg. Sure, there are plenty of shots of the players staring intently at the field and swooping bird's-eye views of the stadium, but Berg pays attention to the story's harsher details, too-the "For Sale" signs planted in front of the coach's house when he loses a big game, a wrenching scene in which an African-American player breaks down after a devastating knee injury. By shooting the film in closeup, with a jittery frame and a documentary feel, Berg conveys the future-blinding intensity of small-town high-school sports, at a time when a seventeen-year-old can really believe that his life is peaking on the fifty-yard line. The cast of players includes Derek Luke, Lucas Black, and Garrett Hedlund. With Billy Bob Thornton as the coach. -Michael Agger
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker ( )
  caevans | Jun 9, 2007 |
October 8, 2004
Glory Days on the Gridiron: Young Manhood, Texas Style
By A. O. SCOTT, The New York Times

Odessa, the West Texas town where "Friday Night Lights" is set, is the kind of place where football is pronounced FUH-paw and where it is routinely described as a religion. With all due respect to God, it may be even more than that. The impression of Odessa that emerges from Peter Berg's new film, and from the scrupulously reported 1990 book by H. G. Bissinger on which it is based, is of a self-contained world in which high school football, played in a stadium bigger than ones at many colleges, is more important than church, state, sex, money or anything else. The sport's power is sacred and secular: it holds the social order together and gives individual lives a sense of meaning and high purpose.

Early in the movie the teenage boys who play for Permian High School are told that their duty is "to protect this town" — a job description that somehow doesn't seem metaphorical. Odessa during football season resembles a besieged garrison, and these kids are its soldiers. This is a lot to ask of such young men, and sometimes the burden of expectation sits heavily on their pumped-up shoulders.

"Do you feel 17?," one senior asks another, at a particularly tense point in the season. " 'Cause I sure don't feel 17." (Because the athletes are played, according to Hollywood tradition, by actors in their 20's, they don't look 17 either.)

The town's obsession also puts a lot of pressure on the coach. As in the book, the film follows the Permian High Panthers through their 1988 season, when they were led by a relative newcomer named Gary Gaines. As played by Billy Bob Thornton, in a characteristically sly and thorough performance, Gaines is neither a my-way-or-the-highway autocrat nor a rah-rah motivator. His locker-room oratory can be grand and furious when the occasion requires, but his manner is more often courteous and reserved. He smiles politely when local boosters tell him how to do his job, and clenches his jaw when callers to a radio show criticize him. After an early-season loss, he and his wife (Connie Britton) come home to find dozens of for-sale signs sprouting from their lawn.

The town will settle for nothing less than a state championship — the fifth in the school's history — and the film's plot is dominated by their march to the finals. Toward the end, as the conventions of the genre require, there is less and less off-the-gridiron action, but the earlier scenes provide just enough information about the lives of some of the players to keep us interested in the characters.

The story focuses mainly on Boobie Miles (Derek Luke), the gifted running back who has staked all his hopes on football stardom; Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund), whose abusive father (the country singer Tim McGraw) once played on a championship team; and the starting quarterback, Mike Winchell (Lucas Black), who is driven less by love of the game than by a desperate desire to get out of Odessa.

"Friday Night Lights" is a run-of-the-mill sports movie distinguished by a gritty, realistic sense of place. (In fusing genre conventions with local color, it resembles "8 Mile," which, like this film, was produced by Brian Grazer.) Much of it was shot in Odessa and other parts of Texas, and it was photographed (by Tobias Schliessler) in hard, desaturated tones that emphasize the bleak, sandy landscape.

Mr. Berg, an actor who previously directed "Very Bad Things" and "The Rundown," directs the nonfootball scenes with a loose, low-key rhythm that lets the clichés feel more lived in than usual. When thorny issues arise — racial friction on and off the field, questionable judgments that affect the health and safety of the players — the script, written by Mr. Berg and David Aaron Cohen, neither dwells on them nor shoves them aside.

In the end, "Friday Night Lights" is uplifting and troubling, partly because it is more honest than most sports movies about the high cost and short life span of high school football glory. Perhaps the most moving part of this film comes at the end, after the big game, when we learn that the real-life members of the 1988 Permian team, who had been heroes, martyrs and scapegoats in adolescence, grew up to be land surveyors, construction workers and insurance salesmen.

"Friday Night Lights" is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It has a few sexual situations, underage drinking and rough football action.

'Friday Night Lights'
The winning exploits of Texas' legendary Permian High School Panthers are reenacted in a drama which stresses the legend over those pesky facts.
By Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 8, 2004

The nation's capital has always been crazy about its Redskins, but the year Vince Lombardi was head coach saw such deafening pandemonium that urbane TV commentator Heywood Hale Broun was impressed enough to remark, "To the eternal question, 'Who am I?,' 'I am a Redskins fan' provides a convenient answer."

As it was in Washington, D.C., so it was in Odessa, Texas, circa 1988, but, as detailed in H.G. Bissinger's "Friday Night Lights," even more so.

That book, and the new Peter Berg-directed film based on it, takes us through a season of Odessa's Permian High School Panthers, a.k.a. "the winningest high school football team in Texas history." And it introduces us to pigskin-obsessed West Texas, where upward of 20,000 spectators show up for Friday-night clashes and a coach can expect multiple "For Sale" signs to show up on his lawn if his team dares lose a game or two as it contends for the state championship.

The result of a year spent with his family living and researching in Odessa, Bissinger's effort continues to be a phenomenon 14 years after its publication. Named the top football book of all time by Sports Illustrated, it's now in its 40th printing, with more than 700,000 copies sold.

Bissinger's work succeeded because it casually combines the glory and the reality, tapping into the romance of youthful gridiron combat as well as providing a clear-eyed sociological backdrop to the football story. It included the kind of details about the town's racial relationships and educational priorities that caused the author to cancel his book signings in Odessa because of death threats.

Director Berg, who turns out to be a Bissinger cousin, has set himself somewhat of a different mandate and will likely nothave dire warnings to contend with. His main thrust is not toward specific reality but toward glorifying the game and its players.

Berg and co-writer David Aaron Cohen have stuck to authenticity in the film's broad strokes, emphasizing genuine local color as well as the terrible pressures both players and coaches have to deal with, and that is all to the good.

But when it comes to crucial details about both the games and the people who play them, no one has hesitated to throw authenticity to the wind in the name of what's called "dramatic purposes." When specific facts get in the way of drama, the film, like the editor in John Ford's "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," has printed the legend, opting for the kind of high-powered mythologizing the movies are always more comfortable with.

But, that said, sports is a field that takes easily to being mythologized. We watch games because they represent life reduced to elemental terms, with crises clearly delineated and good and evil spelled out in ways that can't be confused. So the film's willingness to energetically hype reality in a way the book does not can actually be enjoyable if you're in the mood for a rousing sports saga that pulls us along despite our qualms. Always slick and pumped up, "Friday Night Lights" is real enough around the edges to hold our attention even if it sacrifices accuracy for storytelling ease.

One of those edges is "Friday Night Lights' " sense of place. Berg was determined to shoot the film's exteriors in Odessa and environs, and we see and feel the Big Empty bleakness of West Texas, the way it can make its people desperate for something to root for as if their lives were on the line. Getting it done, "winning state," are fierce obsessions in Odessa, and neutrality is simply not allowed.

We also see, and this is one of the film's strengths, the pressures all this celebrity places on players who are finally just teenage boys, who don't know quite how to react when adults pepper them with advice and adulation and want to take their pictures in the local fast food stops.

Noticeably troubled by this is quarterback Mike Winchell (a strong Lucas Black), a shy and serious young man who calls everyone "sir" and is introduced, in an involving scene, verbally running plays with his hard-scrabble mother.

Completely opposite in temperament is Boobie Miles (Derek Luke, excellent as always), the supremely confident running back already pegged as a Heisman Trophy contender. And then there is running back Don Billingsley (newcomer Garrett Hedlund), whose overdone struggles with his intimidating alcoholic father (country singer Tim McGraw) is more standard issue and less involving than the film realizes.

Trying to ride herd, so to speak, over all these personalities is quietly forceful coach Gary Gaines, whose real-life counterpart insisted his character not curse on screen. Persuasively played by the protean Billy Bob Thornton (whose father was an Arkansas high school basketball coach), Gaines shrewdly alternates between quiet intensity and bring-it-on emotionalism. But then something happens, something no one is prepared for, and the pressures on both coach and team increase geometrically.

Under the tutorship of second-unit director and stunt coordinator Allan Graf, the "Friday Night Lights" team has invested a lot of energy in the authenticity of the on-field action that dominates the film. But, typically, the sounds of blocking and tackling have been so amped that it almost seems at times as if we're watching professional wrestling. It's easy to forget, as the boys themselves sometimes do, that playing this game is supposed to be fun. ( )
  ehopkins | May 30, 2007 |
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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Berg, PeterDirector & Screenwriterprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Cohen, David AaronScreenwriterhovedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Black, LucasActormedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Grazer, BrianProducermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Hedlund, GarrettActormedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Hernandez, JayActormedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Jackson, LeeActormedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Luke, DerekActormedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
McGraw, TimActormedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Reitzell, BrianMusicmedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Schliessler, Tobias A.Director of photographymedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Thornton, Billy BobActormedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Torn, DavidKomponistmedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
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Odessa is an oil town in the western part of Texas that is home to the Permian High School Panthers, the football team with the best winning record. The city's economy is in a tailspin, but football is the one thing that brings all the people of Odessa together, and on Friday nights, as many as 20,000 people fill Permian's football stadium to watch Coach Gary Gaines lead the team to victory. And in Odessa, a football victory is prized above all else. The players ponder the fact that there is little future in their hometown ... and that a championship season can be as much a burden as a triumph.

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