Varsity Blues (1999)
In Texas, football is king all the way down to the high school level. In a fictitious town of West Canaan, people live, eat and breathe high school football. Coaches are measured by their championships, the players are the minions who carry out their dirty work, and the families suffer the obsession that is a life of football. Jonathan Moxon (James Van Der Beek) is the backup quarterback for the West Canaan High School team and Coach Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight) loves treat him like shit because he isn’t like his star quarterback Lance Harbor (Paul Walker). Mox has bigger plans away from football that involve going to Brown University and can’t wait to get out of West Canaan. Through all the shit the players endure, they are all friends who support each other and try to have somewhat normal teenage years. However, when Coach Kilmer pushes giant lineman Billy Bob (Ron Lester) too far, Lance gets hurt on the field and Mox is thrust into the starting quarterback position. Can he handle the life change and the new stardom?
The first movie made by MTV films, Varsity Blues was released in 1999 which made me 17 years old at the time. I was about the same age as the kids in the film so I was able to enjoy it a little more than others. Now, I might have not had to deal with many of the same situations, but I could relate. James Van Der Beek was riding high off his success of Dawson’s Creek and other future talents are featured like Paul Walker, Amy Smart, Scott Caan and Ali Larter. Jon Voight plays the perfect coach you love to hate which makes the ending that much sweeter. I forgot just how funny this movie was through the characters of Billy Bob and Tweeter, but it contrasted well with the drama and suspense on the field. As a side note, I love the soundtrack (seeing as it is an MTV film) and it introduced me to my favorite band, Collective Soul. Varsity Blues might not be targeted towards older adults, but if you are 15-35 years old then you won’t be disappointed.
9/10 Stars – Funny, charming and dramatic… Was made at exactly the right time for me to love.
Varsity Blues is a film for coming of age teens who are about to make some major life changes by leaving behind childhood for the life of college. I definitely wouldn’t recommend anyone under the age of 17 or 18 indulge in this one. What is great about Varsity Blues is how accurately it represents the crazy world of football in Texas. Football is in the blood in this state, especially in the small towns where let’s face it, what else do you really have to do. The whole film is an interesting look at a world that I know nothing about. And the soundtrack is killer awesome!
8/10 Stars – A taste of football madness with some great music as a bonus!
Click below for links to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes