Starring: James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight, Amy Smart, & Paul Walker
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A movie about a high school football team, created by MTV, starring all the teen-heartthrobs of the late 90s, I couldn't have been more uninterested. For 17 years, I avoided seeing this film, I figured it would be a steaming pile full of good looking people with their shirts off, but after catching the ending on TV, I decided to check it out and I'm glad I did. In Texas, football is everything, even at the high school level. The West Canaan Coyotes are one of the best teams in the state, thanks to a hard nosed, old school coach, and an NFL bound Quarterback, but their perfect season takes a turn when the Quarterback goes down with a serious knee injury. The Coyotes are left in the hands of John Moxon (James Van Der Beek), a kid who hasn't taken a snap in three years, who is only on the team because of his father. The coach hates him, the town doubts him, but something amazing happens when Mox is on the field, he's actually good. James Van Der Beek stars and honestly, I always felt that he was too much into the whole teen-heartthrob persona, I never took him seriously as an actor, or envisioned him being good in a role like this. Just as the town was surprised by how good Mox was on the field, I was just as surprised by how good Van Der Beek was in this role. When you add Jon Voight to the equation, as the hard nosed coach, things really come together. The two men hate each other, but are forced to work together, it's this dynamic and tension behind the scenes that really makes the off the field action as interesting as what's taking place on the field. Varsity Blues is produced by MTV, stars actors I normally wouldn't watch, and as it turns out it is one of the most exciting and intense sports films I've ever seen. One of the things I love about films, is that you can never judge them based on anything else other than their content. On the surface, this is something I'd never watch, but happenstance brought me to it, and it's honestly one of the best football movies I've ever seen.