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  • thirdgeneration23 August 2014
    Responding to the overtly religious criticism/ This movie was about a team that won 150 games in a row. It was based on real life coaching. (This was not a made up part of the story but intrinsic to the coach's point of view).

    To leave family/faith values out of the movie would have been like telling the story of a journey without any information about how the characters were able to get from point A to point B when no one else in history had ever done so.

    Nevertheless the movie wasn't just about the overall journey, but also included the individual stories of the coach and black and white students facing their own challenges.

    The many football scenes through-out the movie were great fun to watch!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When the Game Stands Tall is about a football team and includes a lot of football footage, but it is not a football movie. Rather, it is an inspirational movie about life, commitment, and the definition of success. In this manner, it succeeds wildly.

    The story would seem predictable: a team achieves 151 wins in a row through incredible talent and maniacal enthusiasm for football. Instead, When the Game Stands Tall dismisses the importance of "The Streak" and focuses on the process and commitment by which it was built. Almost preachy at times, the movie can be forgiven because it captures the true story. Caviezel's depiction of Coach Bob Ladouceur as quiet, humble, and overly-focused is spot-on. Its illustration of the team's "commitment cards" should be seen as a revelation for every other football team, rather than a sappy distraction. The death of Terrance Kelly was shocking and senseless. And DLS players actually do hold hands as they enter the field and graduate spouting words like "brotherhood" and "love".

    When the Game Stands Tall is clearly intended as a message movie in a football setting, and it succeeds on both fronts. "Family-appropriate", it makes for enjoyable and worthwhile viewing.
  • ahurry29 July 2014
    I saw this movie at a screening and was going with the idea of yeah OK ill go see it... its free. Wow... I was pleasantly surprised with this un-promoted film. I feel this didn't get enough TV ad time as it should have as I fell that this is one of the best football films made. It will make any fan and any family member of a player appreciate the game that much more. It goes to show what the teens really go through to be the best in the game and how the loss effects the team and how they need to get over the loss and move on. With todays society and the "no one looses" "participation trophys" this film is a must. Show the character effects of how people need to LOOSE and over come it versus no everyone wins. Pretty close film to "undefeated" but better.
  • This movie, based on real life events, does a wonderful job of portraying the power and beauty of the human spirit. The movie allows you escape all of the negative aspects of professional sports and big-time collegiate athletics and reminds us of the truly positive effects of sport when taught in the proper perspective.

    The movie also demonstrates the ever ending struggle between good and evil forces in our world and teaches us to fight through life even during some of its most challenging moments. A beautiful demonstration of American spirit and reinforces the strength of our nation and its values. This movie is about life and is much greater than just a high school football team.
  • As a member of team who previewed the movie, I have seen this 6 times and customarily, I HATE to see movies over and over but this is a GREAT movie. I am also not a huge football fan. This movie has a great message about family, character and why one should do anything they is great but it's more than that. This says a great deal about the character of the coach, his staff, his family and HIS players. I will have to read the book now. There is everything from elation to heartbreak; you will find yourself dancing and you may shed a tear. I enjoyed NOT having to cringe through nudity, bullets, and f-bombs.

    I recommend EVERYONE go see this. It's a great family film and it has something for everyone.
  • As I watched this movie, I developed and steadily growing dislike for both the coach and the team. There is a scene late in the movie with a kid who had spent three years on the bench and had never played in a single game. Earlier scenes showed that the team won every game in previous seasons by six or more touchdowns, and that star players played both offense and defense. What kind of crappy coach and crappy team never puts the second string in, even when they are leading by 40 points? The muddled point of the movie seemed to be that winning wasn't the most important part of playing the game. For me, this scene blew that ideal out of the water. For this team and this coach, the point wasn't just winning, but winning by huge margins, to the detriment of the players who weren't superstars.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I had an awesome opportunity to see this film tonight. I, for one, enjoy football movies and enjoy the different stories around the sport that directors have brought out over the years. When the Game Stands Tall is a very nice new addition to my favorite football films.

    The De La Salle High School Spartans are coached by Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel). He has led the Spartans to a 150 game winning streak, which is the longest in all of football, even more than any team in the NFL or NCAA. The beginning shows us an intertwining of win #151 with a team meeting the day before the game. The meeting shows us how together and united the seniors are while the game shows how hard working and dedicated they are during each play from snap to whistle. In that game, the juniors get to finish the game and we get to know who some of these guys are, particularly Chris Ryan (Alexander Ludwig), Danny Ladouceur (Matthew Daddario), and Tayshon Lanear (Jessie Usher). After that, the pressure is on to continue the winning streak and pick up where the graduating seniors left off.

    Throughout the film, we see the Spartans face many adversities on and off the field. What I really liked in this story and script is how we see this team overcome their adversities and dealing with family, unity, and looking out for each other. This script Scott Marshall Smith and David Zelon is nice held together by director Thomas Carter, who does a nice job with the football sequences and the non-football scenes.

    At the front and center of this film is Jim Caviezel as Coach Bob Ladouceur. With this role, we see Caviezel do so well as the coach, who knows the right thing to say, and doesn't act a lot like other coaches. Through Caviezel, we see a guy who has more of a calming influence and does what is best for his players. The next standout is Alexander Ludwig as Chris Ryan, a running back and linebacker who plays very hard and is always under pressure from his overbearing father (Clancy Brown). Brown is very interesting as the father who puts pressure on his son who is on the verge of breaking California's high school record for touchdowns. Laura Dern is nice in her role as the coach's wife. Michael Chiklis is also very good in his role as assistant coach Terry Eidson. In Chiklis, we see the kind of coach who does the job of getting guys fired up.

    The film has all the makings to be a great one centered around high school football, and it certainly is a great one. This is easily one of my favorite football films out there.
  • Following the true live events of the De La Salle High School Spartans and their epic coach Bob Ladouceur who at one time had a 151 game winning streak. What happens when the champions become the underdogs? A senseless murder occurs of a promising young player... Will the coach, players, alumni recover and soldier on? This film talks about brotherhood and family in ways that all athletes could stand to be reminded of. Fantastic movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I enjoyed the movie and found it to be very inspiring. But this is not just a football movie, it's a movie about coaching young men to be more than living life for themselves. It's about teammates and brotherhood. That's something that we need a lot more of in this society. For those who criticize the religious aspect of the movie, get over it! This is about a Catholic high school where faith is an important part of who Coach Ladouceur is as a person and what the school is. Don't try to clean God out of everything just so you can avoid thinking about spirituality.

    The acting was good, not great. My only real criticism of the movie is that I wish it stayed closer to the true story of the 2004 season. DLS did not play Long Beach Poly in the 2004 season. Bellevue beat DLS without throwing a pass the whole game. And there was nobody named Chris Ryan on the team. A little bit too dramatized for Hollywood.
  • blufrog4923 August 2014
    First, let me say, I LOVE sports movies--any sport, even if I'm not a fan. Pro, College, High School--even "The Sandlot" (a GREAT movie, by the way). Having lived in the Bay Area during "The Streak," and seeing the previews a few times, I was REALLY looking forward to seeing this film and went with a pocketful of Kleenex.

    I am beginning to wonder if filmmakers put TOO much of the good stuff in their trailers. There weren't many other big moments in this movie that I hadn't seen in the weeks prior. It's a GREAT story, but just a good movie. I don't agree with some others that it's "too preachy." This is a Catholic High School, where kids are required to take religion classes. They aren't always about scripture, but about morals and ethics and leading a good life (regardless of your religion or no religion). Without this element, I don't think Coach Lad would have been as successful as he was. (And yeah, he probably "recruited" a bit, too).

    The football scenes were very well done and exciting--not sure how much creative license was given there to create the nail biting finishes. I just felt the family dynamics and the player comraderie could have been delved into a little more deeply. Why tease us with bits and pieces and then not follow through? I also enjoy, at the end of such "real life" movies, to find out "where are they now?" It would have been nice to see what some of boys-who-became-men-through-football are up to now.

    Out of curiosity, I did a bit more research and found that 2 of the main character/players were composites, which bothered me not because of the creative process, but because the most unlikable kid in the film is black. It bothered me when I watched the film, but I thought, OK, that's a real person. But it isn't. We don't need Hollywood to fuel racial bigotry.

    So go see it--you'll come out of the theater a little bit better of a person. It's no "Brian's Song" or "Field of Dreams," but it's not The Bad News Bears" either.
  • Before I review the movie proper, let me just mention how pleasantly surprised my movie theatre-working friend was in seeing LSU football coach Les Miles as an audience member in the beginning of the movie with lines, to boot! I wasn't as surprised since I knew about it having read about his appearance in last Friday's review-by John Wirt-in the Red section of our town paper, The Advocate. All right, we both loved the various plays as depicted on screen of the games and were touched by many of the dramatic scenes of many of the teammates outside of the game. Oh, and the filmmakers did a good job of disguising New Orleans as a California town, too. I really don't have anything else to say except I recommend When the Game Stands Tall.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When the Game Stands Tall is about coach Bob Ladouceur and his values. Bob Ladouceur turned down bigger offers to coach high school and build people. The movie has religious values about the measures we give is the measures we receive. Team over individuals, depending on each other, commitment, and selflessness over selfishness. One experiences the unfairness and trials of life, and the dealing with adversity. I keep seeing in substories Good over evil, and light over darkness. The most low point in a bad year and the movie is over come by giving at a V A hospital. A strong script, and inspiring story. The directing and acting excelled. One experiences the intelligence/strategy, heat, pain and pressure during the football action. The distractions and frustration off the field blend into the field action excellently. How the team deals with the adversity not only make the team winners, but builds productive people. The ending scene is inspirational. I give What the Game Stands Tall and eight out of ten.
  • There was a local HS water polo team in our audience, attending this movie with their coach, and they were all revved up, animated, and having fun talking about it in front of the theater when the film was over. It's really all about Bob Ladocouer's coaching strategy "the brotherhood of the team" at DeLasalle HS, located in an East Bay suburb near Oakland, California. The school and coach are famous, at least in No. California, for their 151-game winning streak and subsequent regional titles. The movie depicts the true story of a racially and economically diverse bunch of young male athletes being able to overcome differences and personal challenges. Many develop their potential, grow in confidence and maturity, and strive for success in their lives after high school because of lessons learned from being part of a team with a coach and staff who, collectively led them to overcome the odds and become better than they thought they could be. There are scenes of real-life tragedy and triumph that are included as more of a backdrop to the story than a central theme, but aptly illustrate how "victims" in any situation can become "victors". There are a lot of long scenes of football bashing & crunching, which some may find "too long"...the actor who plays Coach Bob is low- key intense, rather than dramatic; dialogue is ordinary vs. Hollywood-ish, but in the end, a tribute to exceptional coaching is made, message received.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I didn't know what to expect. I mean I know Football. I understand Football. I think I understand the game. I also like anything with Jim Caviezel, whether on the small screen or the big screen. So I admit it, he was the main reason I wanted to see that film. I suggested it to my husband who's an ex high school football player. So we went. I could count the amount of people on two hands as we walked into the theater. Ironically enough, we went on a Friday night: same night as our little town's first high school football game of the season. That is probably where everyone else was, but I guarantee that the movie touched every single soul present that night. This movie gets to you. it's about the game. It's about a coach and his relationship with the team. But it's much more. it's about brotherhood, It's about team work, family, trust, friendship, loss, love, I can go on! What I took from the movie is perhaps what Coach Ladouceur wanted his players to take away from being a football player on his team: it's not about the winning streak, but about playing together as a team. Most importantly it's about becoming strong, respectful, responsible men who will not only be able to contribute to society, but also be able to survive in society.
  • Movies this good don't come around often. Great acting, great message and something I can take my kids to. This is what Hollywood needs to produce more of! Jim Caviezel is great, but so is everyone else. The football scenes are very well done and the characters are very believable. None of them are perfect, but many of them are people we would do well to model our lives after. The others are people we can still learn from. There are definitely Christian themes, but it is not preachy and leaves the viewer with plenty to think about. If you are looking for gratuitous sex or violence, this isn't the movie for you. But if you want a movie about things that matter, this is the one!
  • I'm not a football fan at all, but I loved this movie because of the values portrayed by the main character. This is not your typical movie where all conflicts are resolved at the end of the show; however it gives a realistic portrayal of individuals in a real world setting with real world issues and struggles, and the commitment to God regardless of the circumstances. What I also like about this movie is that it features perseverance in the face of seemingly unconquerable adversities and models the type of preparation every teenager needs to go through to grow up and be dependable. I give it a A+ because movies like this one are rare these days.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm a sucker for sports movies,I played competitive hockey for many years so I can somewhat relate. When The Game Stands Tall is a great movie about sports,teamwork,family and faith. It's a bit different then other sports movies as this team is never really the underdog. For the coach and what they are trying to teach these boys is not football but to give them life lessons that will last them the rest of their life. Teamwork,being hard-working are things that will last you the rest of your life even when you can no longer play football. The football scenes were well shot. This movie is not about any one player it's about a team.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this at an early premiere. The sports scenes are fantastic and had the theater on the edge of our seats! The truth is even more compelling than the streak! But beyond that, this is a cool story to see as an accompaniment to Boyhood---it's another story, essentially, on the same theme of how boys become men in American society. Boyhood focuses on how family shapes a boy, When the Game Stands Tall focuses more on how a community, peers, and school can shape a boy. It shows how sports, coaches, teachers, and mentors all can play a transformative role. It's a story about how boys can learn to reach out to each other for support and become truly strong because of their bonds and brotherhood. This is an awesome, important message and as a Mom I can't wait to take my 13-year-old son to see it. (By the way, I think it's a good movie for teen girls to see also. The boy characters have much more depth than your average movie teen- aged boys, and the conflicts they face are more realistic and compelling. I think this respect for the experience of teens and the difficulties of growing older will speak to teens of both sexes. )

    The true spirit of De La Salle and what happens when teachers and coaches work for reasons of the heart rather than the pocketbook, comes through and is part of what was inspiring for me. If this bothers some cynics because they just can't believe it's for real, they need to put their cynicism aside and watch it for the awesome football action! Coach Lad, inspired to make a difference in the world, started out working in juvenile justice. He realized that it would be much easier to make a difference in the lives of boys if he started to work with them at a younger age, and that was a major reason he decided to become a high school teacher. They happened to have a teacher/ coaching position available at DLS in the early 80's--- and that's how this all came to be. The portrayal of Coach Lad is accurate except in real life he looks more like the football players he coaches, and he also has a great sense of humor and charisma that you see only a hint of in the film. Unlike your typical stereotyped coach, he is philosophical: how many football coaches do you know who double as religion teachers? As a Mom I love the messages to teen-aged boys and I got attached to many of the characters, understanding the struggles of young men in a way I never had before. I thought the tackles in football scenes were too real--they made me cringe. But the action was still awesome! This movie is so inspirational and thought-provoking that I will keep taking friends to see it as long as it's in the theater. This movie is an achievement!! And you don't have to be a sports nut to love it but if you are it's even better!

    Here is the spoiler: -- Ladouceur not only masterminded the streak but retired with a record of 399-25-3 !
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In addition to football, When the Game Stands Tall is also about life and values. The movie teaches the importance of developing character and virtue so that when you mature you can be someone your loved ones can depend on and you can contribute to a stable society. The movie especially teaches the virtues of faith, hope, love, and courage.

    Faith is a personal belief in God. Hope is the desire for God and the trust we will receive grace for the future and to be with Him in heaven. Charity leads us to love God and our neighbor as ourselves. Prudence is a moral virtue which helps us make the right choice in every instance. Justice leads us to respect the rights of others and to give them their due. Fortitude gives us the courage to carry out what is right even in the face of difficulty! Temperance gives us self-control over our desires and appetites.
  • I could only watch about half of this film due to the horrible script. The characters don't talk, they spew talking points such as "We are doing it for the coach" or "Your not alone, you have us". I don't know what group of 7th graders wrote this crap but it is worse than an after-school special, I'm surprised Eve Plumb was not cast in the Laura Dern role.

    The entire time that I did watch I just kept thinking "How desperate for work is Laura Dern to take this part?" There are some good actors/actresses in this film and they basically do nothing but chew the scenery and recite Hallmark card messages to the "kids" on the team.

    The "kids" look like 30 year old men and they must have all attended the Copacobana Acting School, where they were taught to act like silent movie stars. I mean every expression is so overacted, it makes Mommie Dearest look like Sophie's Choice.

    I think the producers thought "Hey that Sandra Bullock football movie was a hit, lets make another one" unfortunately the later is worse than most lifetime movies.

    This is definitely a movie not worth even an in-demand or Netflix rental price, do yourself a favor and just watch We Are Marshall or Brian's Song again.
  • Sports movies, a compromise of two great pastimes rolled into one blockbuster smash hit. We've had a variety of movies about the various sports from hockey to baseball, however the popular trend in the modern age seems to be football. Why football seems to be the sport where all miracles happen I don't know, but nevertheless this weekend adds another work to the ever-growing library. My final review to close the weekend out is on When the Game Stands Tall. What does this movie have in store for you? Read on to find out.

    We know the general formula for a team-based film: team gets built; they start looking good, hit a few obstacles, and come back stronger than ever. This movie is no different in the grand scheme of things, but changes the order slightly to give a little deviation from the norm. At the beginning we get introduced into the legendary De La Salle football team, a high school sports program that goes on a 151 win streak via live footage. From there we meet a few key players in the story, as the passing of the rights as well as the fundamental morals on which the program is built on are told. After that it becomes the familiar drama that seems to accompany this movie, though in this case it is about the Streak. The cultural shock rips away their pride, taking its toll on every member of the team that, when combined with a few other incidents revealed in the trailers, creates the "story". It's predictable, and lacks originality, as most football movies are, yet somehow the movie is still entertaining. This may be partly due to the simplistic comedy in the movie. A few of the players have some choice lines that are well timed to maximize their humor. There are also a few comical scenes as well, both in training and on game footage that gave me a few chuckles.

    However, the story is not really the powerful part of the movie here, but more so the morals within it. The legendary coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) has a great approach to many of life's lessons and struggles. Almost every line contains some teaching about finding yourself, understanding the true qualities to appreciate in the given circumstances. Fame, fortune, a winning streak are all addressed by this man and his staff as they try to drive home honest morals into the players. Yet the coach isn't some holier than thou man, no he has some lessons to learn on his own as well and goes through the journey with his team. But the morals aren't just loaded into one man's dialogue, but also in the presentation of numerous scenes. From the combination of music and visuals, the audience will feel the full emotional force of the scene at hand. I found myself getting goose bumps during some of the more inspirational moments, a tribute to the strength movie magic can have. I have to admit that much of this movie is preachy and done in the manner to bring you into the locker room. However it got stale, and loss the shine it held at the beginning of the film, proving once again overuse of any movie aspect can lose effect.

    As for the game scenes, they too are some of the better sequences I've experienced in a long time. Unlike other movies, where one gets glimpses of the game, When the game stands tall manages to create some decent games that are filled with action and flare. Again, music helps bring you into the moment, the symphony from the orchestra psyching you up and filling you with energy. What is even better for me in this film is that this game wasn't just glorifying the main team, but actually showed their failings too. That's right we get to see other teams scores in some well coordinated plays to give you a true game, and not a one sided blitz. Overall, these scenes are also dolled up with a lot of movie flare and zest, but it does add more entertainment to break away from the distraught in the drama. That isn't to say there isn't drama in the game itself, but it has a different twist to keep things interesting and balanced.

    When the game stands tall is a decent sports film, still filled with the movie magic flare that Hollywood pumps into it. Those who lack emotion will be bored and find most of the movie cheesy and rather bland. While I didn't mention the acting, due to the numerous characters, the cast in this film did a great job bringing the team to life, in particular Caviezel who stole most of the show. The biggest audience I can recommend coming to see this film are sports enthusiasts, those who love Remember the Titans, and drama lovers who actually enjoy embracing their emotions. This is a movie filled to the brim with pride, and should be a good fix for those awaiting the next sports masterpiece. However, I would recommend waiting for the movie to come out on DVD/Netflix ,because you can get longer games for practically free on your entertainment console, though I can't guarantee as much excitement. My scores for When The Game Stands Tall are:

    Drama/Sport: 7.5-8 Movie Overall: 7.0
  • "People always ask me what it's like to never lose. Today I am lost."

    A 151 game winning streak is not something you see everyday, so when they decided to make a film about the De La Salle High School football team who managed to remain undefeated for 12 years I was sold. A lot of credit has to be given to Coach Bob Ladouceur for his accomplishments because he didn't stay undefeated with the same group of players. The streak went on for over a decade so he had to continue winning with different players and that goes on to prove what a talented guy he is. This is a fantastic story for every sport fan out there, but unfortunately the movie is full of clichés and doesn't offer anything new to the sports genre. It tries too hard to be inspirational and it includes several fictional characters that were completely unnecessary. This is such an inspiring tale in real life, that there was actually no need to make it more inspirational than what it already was. The relationship between one of the running backs and his father (Alexander Ludwig and Clancy Brown) was placed here exclusively to give it a more melodramatic arch, but it is laughable. Brown plays the over demanding father who wants his kid to break the national record for most touchdowns. The scenes are placed here exclusively in contrast to the coach's philosophy which has to do more with being a team of brothers who are there for each other. There is no I in team. We've seen these clichés in sport films many times in the past, but here the dialogue is even more cheesy and forced. I did find some of the melodramatic moments quite touching, like an eulogy the coach gives midway through the film, but most of the sports scenes felt disconnected with the dramatic ones. The film left me with a sense of wanting to learn more about this real life story, but When the Game Stands Tall doesn't do a good job of telling it. There are some great sport scenes that kept me engaged for a while, but the film fails in the dramatic department forcing inspirational moments and feeling too preachy. It is a manipulative and by the books uplifting feel good tale.

    The film at times felt disconnected. You are introduced to this fabulous coach (Jim Caviezel) who is always inspiring his players, but at the same time his situation at home doesn't seem to be going too well. His wife is played by Laura Dern and I felt like these family moments didn't work at all in this film because they only touched the surface of their problems. The relationship with his son (Matthew Daddario) wasn't explored either and everything was sort of left in the limbo when the second half of the film focuses exclusively on the football games and practices. The actors are fine, but the script is weak and ultimately their characters suffer from not having any depth. There is also a subplot involving some of the seniors who are heading to college that's also kind of ignored after the passing of one of the players. It is a key moment in the film, but it simply felt disconnected with everything else.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie isn't so much about sports as it is about life and the lessons learned in it. I.e., when you fall, you get back up and how. I always like a good inspirational true story like that. The story involves a high school football team whose record 151-game winning streak comes to an end and the the resulting fallout. The coach deals with some issues (health, family, etc.), and tragedy befalls the team. A player has to deal with the fact the fact that his father wants him to break the state touchdown record more than he does. However, the coach is a true inspiration to everyone (as is the assistant coach), and everyone (the team and the family) bands together in this remarkable film that I recommend to everyone. Jim Caviezel is remarkable in the lead.

    *** out of ****
  • When The Game Stands Tall Stands REALLY tall! This film is not just about football, it's about life. About learning to be selfless, caring, compassionate, dependable, about friendship, what it means and takes to become a true friend – and about young men fortunate enough to have come in contact with a coach, and an assistant coach, who were extraordinary. They not only had a coach but someone smart and wise enough to give them what I would love to think each and every boy and girl in this land of ours could have to help them grow up to be decent people. An example. A role model. Someone unafraid to teach kids how to have heart and show affection for one another. That isn't the case, of course, but think of how special this country of ours could be if it was possible. Plenty of good football here, but I don't think you necessarily have to be a total football fan to appreciate this movie. There's a lot going on here and all well acted, well plotted, well directed. This is a great picture. I think it's going to be a classic in the arena of sports films. Do see this one. Try to get your kids to watch this one. It's a dandy!
  • I loved this movie! The cast portrayed the story of the legendary De La Salle High School Spartans and Coach Bob Ladouceur with lots of heart. After viewing, I immediately contacted my grandchildren to encourage them to see this movie. The movie has a very inspiring and powerful message that is often forgotten today in the excitement of team sports and the emphasis on winning. There were many touching moments throughout the movie. "When the Game Stands Tall" may not win the hearts of the critics, but I guarantee it will win the hearts of most everyone who sees it. I recommend that teams of all sports and coaches attend this movie together.
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