Saturday, July 20, 2019

Review of "Varsity Blues," movie

Review of

Varsity Blues, movie

Five out of five stars

High school football coach as absolute monarch

 While this is a work of fiction, in some areas of the United States high school football is akin to a religion and the coaches are the clergy with nearly absolute power. Jon Voight stars as Bud Kilmer, one of the most successful coaches of all time. He will let nothing stand in his way, from injecting star players with drugs so that they can play, even though they are risking permanent injury, to making threats that will destroy scholarship chances. Kilmer is so powerful in the community that even the local law enforcement will bow to his wishes.

 All of this is set against the backdrop of the players being adolescents in high school, with many of the coming of age problems common to teens. There are some disturbing scenes of very heavy drinking at a strip club where the players are shocked to see someone they know up on stage, giving new meaning to the term moon(light)ing.

 Much of the action is predictable, specifically the way the big-game-at-the-end concludes. One of the most interesting and unusual characters is the younger brother (Kyle) of the second-string quarterback that is forced into a starring role when the starter is injured. Kyle is heavily into traditional religion, providing a curious backdrop to the many adults that consider high school football to be their religion.

 While this is ultimately a teen movie, adults will relate to the problems these characters have in trying to meet the unreasonable expectations of the adults. The conclusion is one that will satisfy all viewers, as the game and girl are both won at the end.

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