Friday Night Lights is a 2004 film based on H.G.Bissinger's award winning book of the same name. The true story revolves around the 1988 high school football team Permian Panthers of the small football-crazy town of Odessa, Texas. After losing their star player, Boobie Miles, to a career-ending injury in the very first game of the season, all hope seems to be lost. The coach, Gary Gaines, together with a team full of 17 year olds, now have the responsibility to satisfy the hunger of the town by winning the State Championships.
Peter Berg's Friday Night Lights is not a film on American soccer. It is a film about the players, the coaches, and most importantlly in this case, the obsession of the fans of a soccer team. When a 'loyal' fan talks to the coach about winning the State Championships, you can feel that the manner in which he almost demands results is life threatening. So much so, that even if light-heartedly, there are considerations of shifting houses in case of failure. This is a movie about a team which is overburdened by fan pressure, pressure from the press, and in some cases even from their families. When you see a father beat up his son because he has missed a pass, you know they mean business. Football is all that they've got. And the very manner in which the film is made, concentrating on the personal struggles of the entire team together, as well as on the players individually, and their very very influential coach, is worthy of praise.
With worthy performances from Billy Bob Thornton, Derek Luke, Garrett Hedlund, and Tim McGraw; a knockout background score which comfortably shifts from prayers to rock music; and, some magical camera work (Read: The State Finals at the Astrodome!), Friday Night Lights is a film worth watching. I'm a big fan of American Football movies, whether it is Denzel Washington's Remember The Titans or Adam Sandler's very funny The Longest Yard. None more than Friday Night Lights..