Fourth and Goal
Friday Night Lights
Review by Ross Anthony

"Friday Night Lights" is a sports movie that will have you crying like a little baby.

Powerfully directed, well-written with stalwart acting. It's a strong film. However, the quick camera movement, high-cut-count editing and loud hard music may make the film somewhat abrasive to those who pre-date MTV.

Else, the film has few flaws. That's not to say that the quick cuts/music Friday Night Lightsscheme is a flaw. Rather, that's a stylized choice. Many will find that this choice adds to the boiling pressure bubbling inside these 17-year-olds, still others may find it too overbearing to enjoy. The few real flaws are minor. Without giving too much away, the film obviously takes liberties to dramatize an event here and there just to the edge of believability. But since most of the film is concerned with the gritty reality that smacks into the faces of these young men, those few near "Hollywood moments" are easily forgiven.

In a nutshell, a football-crazed town jams their expectations down the throats of the young men and coach of the hometown HS. football team. Student/players have to learn to deal with their success-crazed parents and neighbors while trying to play their best and still enjoy the game. At the brink of moving on to college and other life decisions, the young men struggle to make sense of it all.

The screenplay is based on the book by H.G. Bissinger who comments, "In the mid-'80s, I remember driving out west, going through little towns in Alabama, Louisiana and Texas and seeing their high school football stadiums. They were always beautiful, always painted, and the fields were always being watered even if there was a drought. These places really are shrines, like temples, and my dream was to write this book. It wouldn't leave my head until I found this town called Odessa. So I quit my job and decided to go there. ... I already had my narrative core, which was the season, a year full of unexpected surprises. I had no idea what kind of stories would unfold. If I was writing fiction, I couldn't have made up many of the things that happened. I don't have the imagination. This was, professionally, the most exciting and memorable year of my life."

See also "Remember the Titans".

  • Friday Night Lights. Copyright © 2004. Rated PG-13. 117mins.
  • Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Garrett Hedlund, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez, Lee Jackson, Lee Thompson Young, Tim McGraw, Grover Coulson.
  • Directed by Peter Berg.
  • Screenplay by David Aaron Cohen, Peter Berg.
  • Based on the book by: H.G. Bissinger.
  • Produced by Brian Grazer at Universal/Imagine.

Grade..........................A (3.5/4)

Copyright © 1998-2019 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:11:10 PDT