My All American
My All American
Director: Angelo Pizzo
Writers: Angelo Pizzo, Jim Dent
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Finn Wittrock, Robin Tunney, Sarah Bolger, Todd Allen, Juston Street, Mackenzie Meehan, Tracey Ely, Donny Boaz, Michael Reilly Burke, Richard Kohnke, Emily Grace Dunn, Marco Perella, Rett Terrell, Alex MacNicoll, Stephen Stanton, Alex Brewster
Synopsis: Freddie Steinmark, an underdog on the gridiron, faces the toughest challenge of his life after leading his team to a championship season.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, language and brief partial nudity
Stevennix2001's Rating and Review Summary for those wanting to skip the full review
7 / 10
- Acting was good
- Direction was great.
- Evenly paced
- Cinematography was well done, as it really captured that 1960's feel to it.
- Interesting story with a lot of likable characters.
- If you've seen various other underdog sports films like "Gridiron Gang" and "Remember the Titans", then chances are you probably know exactly how this one ends.
Considering that I live in Longhorn nation, I know I'm probably going to get lynched for this review...(gulp)
Although UT is fairly popular in Austin, Texas, I've never been a huge fan of their football team. Sure, I watch highlights on TV, and read the papers like everyone else. In fact, there's even various recreational places downtown that are dedicated to serving long time Longhorn fans, or UT students in general. In fact, you could argue that the UT football team is arguably the most recognized collegiate team in the city of Austin.
However, I've never been a fan of them. Not because I think they suck, nor do I have any kind of personal agenda against the University of Texas. I just never liked college football, but I digress.
This latest film centers around a legendary NCAA ex football player turned coach in Darrell Royal (Aaron Eckhart), as he recalls his experiences recruiting and coaching UT football legend, Freddie Steinmark (Finn Wittrock), Although it's briefly mentioned that Freddie was never an All American, during his UT days, he was indeed Coach Royal's personal All American because of how influential he was to the team both on and off the field.
Like that Notre Dame football film titled "Rudy", we have a protagonists, who's not the biggest football player on the field, nor is he the most talented either. However, what he does have is a positive attitude and guts. Spare no expense on the dramatic sports cliches, or any kind of epic "win one for the gipper" speeches here. Seriously, this film does everything it can to tug at your heart strings, while glorifying Freddie as a hero that overcame various obstacles in his life; both on and off the field.
When I initially saw the trailers for this one, it looked like another one of those generic run by the numbers feel good sports films that offer plenty emotional punch, but falls short on substance in some ways. Sadly, I have to say that "My All American" is one of those types of movies. Don't get me wrong, it's a touching film in a lot of ways, and it's heartbreaking that Freddie's football career ended the way that it did, as he's a legend around the UT campus.
However, the sad reality is that we've seen movies like this before in "Rudy", "Remember the Titans", "The Gridiron Gang" and etc. You have some underdog football hero(es) that everyone counts out. You have a coach giving rah rah speeches to inspire the troops. Granted, I know this is based on a real life story, so there's really not much you can do to deviate from the source material.
But at the same time, I can't ignore the painfully obvious here. "My All American" is a touching movie. No doubt about that, but it's still arguably one of the most predictable sports films that you'll ever see. Freddie constantly gets the last word in every debate he has, and he's constantly portrayed as something of an underdog saint that's always overcoming the odds.
Granted, I wouldn't call him a "Gary Stu" or anything of that nature, but the film presents his story in the most predictable way possible. Although to be fair, Freddie is likable charismatic character. And like the "Rocky" movies, you do find yourself rooting for him in spite of the film's flaws.. When Freddie's football career ends early because of some fatal condition, it's heartbreaking to say the least. When his teammates stick by him even through his collegiate football career is over, I have to admit it's very inspiring to watch. In spite of it's cliches, the film knows what emotional punches it needs to deliver to it's audience. It doesn't try to be anything else than what it actually is, and instead rolls with the fact that it knows it's an inspirational sports film.
And if you're okay with feel good sports movies like "Remember the Titans" or "Gridiron Gang", then you might find yourself enamored by "My All American." Granted, it's basically more of the same rah rah "win one for the gipper" crap that you see in most films of this ilk, but it's still fairly entertaining to watch. Just don't expect too much out it.
© 2015 Steven Daniels