The Bad: Varsity Blues
Varsity Blues plays like the diet soda version of Friday Night Lights – it possess the same basic elements (high school football, an economically-depressed Texas town, angst-filled teens) but replaces the characters’ sense of impending doom with light-hearted fare. (“Our lives are defined by our performance on the field? Good thing our English teacher is a stripper!”) Jon Voight also deserves credit for sinking this film with his over-the-top Terminator-like performance in his quest to win “state” at all costs. Subplots involving the local “easy girl” and her “strategically-placed whipped cream” routine inspire worry instead of laughs.
Of paramount importance in the failure of this movie, though, is the casting of that lady (James Van Der Beek) from Dawson’s Creek as the quarterback. The movie knows little of football or strategy; it simply uses the sport as a device to showcase tough but well-meaning teens. If that’s all you are looking for, then simply watch old episodes of Dawson’s Creek and enter therapy.