Friday Night Lights

This film should have been better, though it’s not terrible. The story of a west Texas high school football team’s run for the state championships, it’s marred by director Peter Berg’s incompetence in filming a football game. There’s a fairly standard formula for condensing a game down to a few minutes, which basically allows the trajectory of the game to shine through and preserves some of the tension, but for the most part, Berg just skips around with a few highlights that don’t have any narrative quality. He gets better for the big game at the end, though, which is actually pretty dramatic. Another problem is that the emphasis on music-video style sequences (with an awesome soundtrack by Explosions in the Sky) doesn’t leave enough space for character development, and most of the players come off as two-dimensional stereotypes. This won’t ever be considered a classic, but there are some nice moments, and an understated performance by Billy Bob Thornton keeps things from getting too maudlin.


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