Friday Night Lights

Release Date: October 8, 2004

Movie of the Day for Sunday, June 20, 2004
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14/126 Kim Hollis I love football. I love movies. I love this football movie.
20/48 Les Winan Well worth the time. Not a bad year for sports movies. Who knew Peter Berg could make such a good movie?

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Having myself lived in the West Texas town of Odessa for a spell, I can personally attest to the fact that Football is Life. Just a few miles away from President George W. Bush's hometown of Midland, Odessa's economic situation once lived and died based on the rise and fall of the oil business. One such time was 1988, when the city pinned their hopes and dreams on the Friday night ritual of the football game.

The Permian High School Panthers (Midland-Odessa is located in an area known as the Permian Basin) are the winningest team in Texas' history. Writer H.G. Bissinger captured the frenzy of the city's loyalty and reverence to its team as he followed them during their '88 season on their fight for the state championship. His book was called Friday Night Lights. It became a best seller (and required reading for anyone who ever lived in the Permian Basin), and is now the subject of a major motion picture from Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer and his production company Imagine Entertainment.

This slice-of-life adaptation will examine the many different players in the season's progression. The football players and coaches themselves will naturally be the focus of much of the film, but also highlighted will be the parents, siblings, fans, and boosters of the team. The book was able to portray a very honest evaluation of the personal conflicts and community health and self-image. To be fair, the picture Bissinger presents isn't always pretty. It is certainly unforgettable, though.

Like Remember the Titans, which was also based on a true story, Friday Night Lights has the potential to be both inspirational and uplifting. It will combine the intriguing study of a developing football team and personalities in crisis with the dusty West Texas setting that figured so heavily into The Rookie. Already onboard to star are Lucas Black (the kid from American Gothic who has grown up a lot), Billy Bob Thornton, country singer Tim McGraw, and Antwone Fisher's Derek Luke. Actor-turned-director Peter Berg, who did a fantastic job on the 2003 film The Rundown, both co-wrote the script and is directing. If the film is able to impart anything approaching the passion and style of the novel, the theatrical version of Friday Night Lights is something to look forward to. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Friday Night Lights
Main Cast Lucas Black, Billy Bob Thornton, Jay Hernandez
Supporting Cast Tim McGraw, Derek Luke, Lee Thompson Young, Connie Britton
Director Peter Berg
Screenwriter David Aaron Cohen, Peter Berg
Distributor Universal
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Running Time 107 minutes
Screen Count 2,667
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Friday Night Lights
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Remember the Titans 9/29/0020.91 23.39 1865 11212.00 12064.9 115.60 129.32 5.53
Miracle 2/6/0419.38 19.38 2605 7438.61 7438.6 64.37 64.37 0.00
Rookie, The 3/29/0216.02 16.65 2511 6381.00 6381.0 75.60 78.60 4.72
Varsity Blues 1/15/9915.92 18.97 2121 7506.00 8569.8 52.89 63.02 3.02
Replacements, The 8/11/0011.04 12.35 2754 4009.00 4314.0 44.32 49.58 4.01
Hardball 9/14/019.39 10.02 2137 4392.00 4508.6 40.22 42.92 4.28



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