Indiana Daily Student

"When the Game Stands Tall" review

“When the Game Stands Tall”

By Lexia Banks

Grade: C-

Sports films have become almost formulaic.

There’s a team. Something bad happens. The team struggles to overcome an obstacle. The coach says something inspirational. The team overcomes said obstacle. The team faces an opponent. The team struggles again. The coach says something even more inspirational. The team magically gets it together and wins.

Throw some good lighting and a few power ballads in there and, ladies and gentlemen, I give you “When the Game Stands Tall.”

The film is based on the true story of Bob Ladouceur, a teacher and football coach at De La Salle High School. Through his coaching, De La Salle won 151 games straight, a national record.

It became known as the streak.

Continuing the streak became the obsession of the team and the town. It became the glue holding the team together.

Then the coach had a heart attack. Ladouceur was forced to stop coaching, and the team began to slowly unravel.

A former teammate died and team morale faded.

And when the streak was broken, the team fell apart with it.

From there, the film becomes a classic adventure as the players set out to settle their differences, work harder than ever before and prove themselves again.

Jim Caviezel played Coach Bob Ladouceur. He took a refreshing take on the role of a coach.

Where your typical coach is loud and angry at the world, Ladouceur was soft-spoken, even when addressing his players in the locker room to deliver his game-changing inspirational speech.

The pacing of the film was off. The first third of the film was about getting to know the coach’s life and some of the individual players. It took longer than expected to get to the breaking of the streak.

After that, the film slowed until the time of the team’s second-to-last football game.

The one thing this film did well was emphasizing the pressure put on athletes. The moment after the team lost its first game was beautifully done. It was painfully evident that the boys didn’t know how to process losing.

Nevertheless, aside from a few aspects, “When the Game Stands Tall” is your average, run of the mill sports movie.

I cannot reiterate enough how much drama some clever lighting and a 30 Seconds of Mars soundtrack can bring to a film.

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