Directed by: Peter Berg
Premise: The true story of a high school football team in rural Texas and their road to the state championship.
What Works: This is a very well crafted film. The cast of young actors does a very impressive job. Often times in these kinds of films it is fairly obvious that older actors are cast in the roles of seventeen year olds, but in this film the cast feel as though they really are in high school. The film captures the pressures put on this team by the community and how it affects not only their game but also their personal lives. The cinematography and editing are very well done, especially in the final game. Friday Night Lights could have been passed off as a documentary film, if not for the presence of Billy Bob Thornton, who proves once again that he is one of Hollywood’s best (and most underappreciated) acting talents.
What Doesn’t: The film does follow a basic Horatio Alger storyline and could be regarded as cliché. However, the film defies a lot of these clichés by working against the expectations of the audience throughout the picture.
Bottom Line: Friday Night Lights may go down as one of the best sports films ever made. It captures the ferocity and violence of football, but also the personal heartache of the athletes and their families.
Episode: #22 (October 10, 2004)