Thursday, May 11, 2006

Top Five Movies from High School: #5--Varsity Blues

Synopsis: In Texas, high school football is everything, unless you (James Van Der Beek) are the second string quarterback with dreams of a different life as well as a cynical outlook on the life you currently live. It doesn't help that you possess some natural skills for football, and that because of that, your father is always pushing you to do more with football. You are looking forward to a different existence in college. Unfortunately for you, the starting quarterback suffers a season ending injury, and so you have to step up and take over leadership for the team.

Although unhappy at first, you notice that there are certain perks to being the local football star, such as certain former starting quarterback's girlfriends suddenly being very attracted to you. Also, you start to not have to pay for hamburgers. However, the downright cruelty of the coaches, particularly the head coach (Jon Voight) reminds you that there is more to life than football. At half time of the big game, you and your teammates stand up to the coach, and the original QB takes over coaching for the second half. Everyone learns a lesson about respecting ourselves and others.

Why I liked this movie: Because I played football myself in high school, MTV Films had my attention just as easy as a hot dog fits in a bun. I love football movies. I also may as well admit that certain of the licentious aspects of the movie made me wish that I myself were a football star. I would say that it made me want to be a better person, but that's not true: I just wanted to be licentious.

Why I didn't Like It: First, Dawson was there, but where was Joey? I had a big crush on Katie Holmes in high school, and if she would have been in this movie, this may have been number one on this list. It also doesn't rank higher because my senior year in high school, we had a decent football team, but we had a terrific running back. He was as fast as the realization of a word misspoken. To give you an idea of how good he was, in our first game, he scored seven touchdowns, which even beats Al Bundy's assertion that he scored four touchdowns in one game. So, the point that I'm trying to get at is that our guy was better than a gross and possibly lying fictional character. Unfortunately for our football team, that running back saw this film, and it made such an impression on him that he started thinking the same things about our coaches that the players in the movie thought about their coaches (namely that they were trying to gain glory for themselves through us). In short, he quit the team, and, due to emotions and confusion about our loss, we couldn't ever get our act together for the rest of the season. Apparently this happened to a lot of teams that year as our coach said that he was reading about how many football teams were being afflicted by the so-called "Varsity Blues" syndrome.

Why It's On the List: It doesn't happen all the time, but about once a month or so, I day dream about playing football again. This is primarily because I wish that I were still some kind of athlete. In these day dreams, I remember my senior year in particular because I am reminded that that was the year that a team that I was an integral part of a team that could have gone all the way to win the state championship, but because of forces outside of my control, in my mind largely due to this movie, the team and I were unable to reach that goal. This movie reminds me of the futility that we all sometimes feel in this life, and it reminds me in particular about how I am not big enough to solve every problem.

With number five of the list done, ladies and gentlemen, please feel free to leave your guesses for what tomorrow's movie will be at the email address provided below. I believe that this list will be only from the years 1996-2000 (aka my high school career), but don't hold me to that as I may be lying. Also, I once scored fifteen touchdowns in one game.


Chris said...

I'm pretty sure That Thing You Do comes in at #5 on my list. Also, 15 touchdowns in one game is amazing. You should get to wear a cape around.

Analyst Catalyst said...

While I agree with the sentiment, the logistics of a cape just don't work for me. I would want it to be huge and billowing, like Spawn's, and not like what the rules of gravity and not tripping over my own cape would dictate, i.e. stopping at the calf.