Film Review: ‘When the Game Stands Tall’ a Sermonizing Snooze

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Average: 5 (6 votes)

CHICAGO – “When The Game Stands Tall” has more sermons than a month of Sundays. Its heart is in the right place, but it’s more likely to put its audience to sleep than bring it to its feet. By now the tropes of the inspirational sports drama have become as familiar as the West Coast Offense, but this film can’t effectively figure out how to execute them. Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

The drama itself has the bones of a good story. A high school football team amasses the longest winning streak in sports history, and then has its true character tested when that streak is broken. “Passion Of The Christ” star Jim Caviezel is playing a slightly worldlier messiah here – he plays football coach Bob Ladouceur with a calm demeanor that borders on comatose. Caviezel’s coach doesn’t yell or scream at his players, but he stalks the field relentlessly, and peppers his locker-room pep talks with Bible verses and prayers. They could double as sermons, and it comes as no surprise when he eventually does deliver a full on message right from a pulpit.

Caviezel’s messages essentially boil down to variations on the same theme. He doesn’t want to turn his players into supermen, he only wants them to value the brotherhood of their team. His players are asked to make a perfect effort and achieve their full potential. But there’s a problem – the movie is so concerned with getting its message across it forgets to tell a story. It’s hard to fault a movie that sends a good positive message, but it is presented in such a stilted dry way I don’t think anyone is likely to be listening.

“When the Game Stands Tall” opens everywhere on August 22nd. Featuring Jim Caviezel, Michael Chiklis, Laura Dern, Alexander Ludwig, Clancy Brown, Joe Bassingil and Ser’Darius Blain. Screenplay by Scott Marshall Smith. Directed by Thomas Carter. Rated “PG

StarContinue reading for Spike Walters’ full review of “When the Game Stands Tall”

Jim Caviezel
Jim Caviezel is Coach Bob in ‘When the Game Stands Tall’
Photo credit: TriStar Pictures

StarContinue reading for Spike Walters’ full review of “When the Game Stands Tall”

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