Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Mystique Of High School Football On The Silver Screen

The Mystique Of High School Football On The Silver Screen

By Touko Fukami
The MiTSS News
September 9, 2072

Hollywood portrayals of high school football, whether comedies or dramas, often portray the game at the center of a small town's existence and the focus of its attention.


  • All the Right Moves – A 1983 film about a western Pennsylvania football player desperate to earn the scholarship that would enable him to escape his economically depressed town.
  • American Dreams – "JJ" Pryor is a star high school football running back in the show, and many of the early episodes centered on his games.
  • The Best of Times – A 1986 film based on an actual rivalry and game between small town Taft High School Rockets (Wildcats) and the larger and highly successful Bakersfield High School Tigers (Drillers) who actually have the California high school record for most wins, most section titles, and most State titles.
  • Bleachers – A novel published in 2003. It tells of the fictitious Messina High School football team and its coach, Eddie Rake. Rake with 418 wins, 61 losses, and 13 state championships under his belt is on his deathbed, and many of his former players return to Messina to say goodbye.
  • The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game – A 2006 book by Michael Lewis, partly on the evolution of the offensive left tackle position and partly on the life of Michael Oher, including his high school career, his adoption by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, and his college recruitment. The book spawned the 2009 film The Blind Side, which focused more on Oher; Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy.
  • Dazed and Confused – A 1993 film set in Texas in 1976. It is not a true high school football movie, but the main character Randy "Pink" Floyd, played by Jason London, is the starting quarterback at his high school and most of his friends play football as well.
  • Facing the Giants – A 2006 film revolving around high school football coach Grant Taylor and his issues on and off the field.
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High - A 1982 film not specifically about football, but whose minor character Charles Jefferson is a football star. During a big game, Charles unleashes his fury on rival "Lincoln High School", as he supposed Lincoln students had vandalized his prized car (actually the result of reckless driving by Ridgemont's Jeff Spicoli).
  • Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream – a book about the 1988 season of Permian High School in Odessa, Texas as they made a surprising run toward the state championship. In the end, however, the underdogs lost in the state semi-finals to Carter High School of Dallas. This book ultimately spawned two other media properties:
  • Friday Night Lights – A 2004 film whose plot is very similar to that of the book.
  • Friday Night Lights – A television series that aired 2006-2010, and was inspired by the above film.
  • Go Tigers! – A 2001 documentary on the rivalry between two Ohio high school teams: Massillon Washington High School and Canton McKinley High School.
  • Gridiron Gang – A 2006 film about using football to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents.
  • Johnny Be Good – A 1988 comedy film about the pressures of recruiting.
  • Lucas – A 1986 film about the coming of age of a small, intellectually gifted boy; one subplot revolves around his efforts to join the school's football team.
  • Married... with Children – A 1987–1998 TV series which featured Al Bundy, a middle-aged, Chicago-area shoe salesman whose lifelong claim to fame was playing running back at (fictitious) Polk High and scoring "four touchdowns in one game."
  • Must Win: A Season of Survival for a Town and Its Team by Drew Jubera published in 2012. Valdosta High School in Valdosta, Georgia.
  • Nike's Football is Everything television and print ad campaign of 2006 featuring numerous NFL stars and coaches as members of the fictional Marlin Briscoe High School Hawks football team.
  • Radio – A 2003 film based on the true story about T.L. Hanna High School football coach Harold Jones and a mentally challenged young man James Robert Kennedy, nicknamed "Radio", who becomes the team manager.
  • Remember the Titans – A 2000 film based on the actual story of the 1971 team of T. C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • The Season – a 1999 ESPN television documentary of eastern Pennsylvania's North Penn High School.
  • Two-A-Days – MTV reality television documentary about the 2005 and 2006 football seasons at Hoover High School in suburban Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Varsity Blues – A 1999 film about high school football in a small Texas town, and the coach obsessed with winning.
  • Wildcats – A 1986 film in which Goldie Hawn plays the daughter of a noted football coach who becomes head coach at an inner-city high school.


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