Let me just start off by saying that you really don't need to know anything about American football to enjoy this film. In fact, it might help to be a newcomer, as I was, so every play and decision made seems exciting and mysterious. Friday Night Lights, based on the book by H.G. Bissinger, tells the true story of the 1988 Permian Panthers of Odessa, Texas. We follow the players and coach (Billy Bob Thornton) through the season, as the whole town follows them religiously. If this film does one thing right, it gets across how important this game is to the town. No one in their right mind would be anywhere but the field on Friday night to cheer on the panthers. The coach gets a bigger salary than the head teacher, the field is more of a stadium, and if you don't have a state championship ring you aren't remembered after high school. However, Director Peter Berg does realise that this infatuation is unhealthy, and although the townsfolk are not portrayed as overly stupid or evil, we are shown that football is just a small part of these boys' lives, and should be treated as such. Due to the wide range of characters and fast moving plot some characters are a little underdeveloped, which is disappointing as we are meant to feel a connection to the whole team, rather than a couple of players. The digital cameras used give a grainy, realistic look which helps this true story even more believable. Acting is solid and understated all round, Billy Bob Thornton is the big name of this film but he doesn't steal anything away from his co-stars. The classic animated knockout-stage board is used later in the film, and feels a little out of place, given the real, down to earth way the film is shot. Overall, Friday Night Lights gives us a compelling look at a town's obsession with their high school football team, with just the right amount of sentimentality to make us care.
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Sports drama starring Billy Bob Thornton. In the 1988 American football season, the Permian High Panthers hold the hopes of their economically depressed town on their shoulders, and with each game hope to get closer to mainstream success. Their dedicated coach Gary Gaines (Thornton) tries to keep the team focused and together in the face of the increasingly tense expectations of the town, but when they lose their star player it's all he can do to stop the team falling apart.
Based on H.G. Bissinger's account of the town of Odessa, Texas and its football team, the Permian High School Panthers. While the team are successful, its members are getting frustrated with the slow pace of the town, and doubt whether they have any real future there.