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‘When the Game Stands Tall’ doesn’t stoop on character

Football season is upon us. Throughout the next three months, many will be enjoying the gridiron action live and through multiple television broadcasts.

For many years, I have commemorated the start of football season by watching one of my all-time favorite movies, “Rudy.” However, this year, I chose a different flick.

“When the Game Stands Tall” stars Jim Caviezel, known for portraying Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ” and recent TV fame in “Person of Interest” on CBS. Caviezel plays Coach Bob Ladouceur who leads De Le Salle High School’s football team to a 151-game winning streak, the longest of any successful stint in organized sports.

Inspired by a true story, the film’s plot starts to thicken when the team ends the streak and different players face adversities, some as a result of the monumental loss, but others due to off-field misfortunes.

Ladouceur is always the strong leader, through the good times and the bad. He has a few memorable lines that help inspire the young men under his charge.

My favorite parts of the film are the games. I’m a sucker for intense game scenarios, and this movie has some good ones. There’s also a moment that reminded me of Hoosiers, when Ollie, Hickory’s smallest player, hits the winning free throws granny-style. A similar unexpected hero appears late in “When the Game.”

So many character-building messages appear throughout the movie. It promotes abstinence, good sportsmanship, commitment, family and dignity.

The movie does have some slow moments with heavy dialogue. Some critics claim the film is “too cliché’.” Personally, with all the immorality and profanity saturating the majority of today’s movies, I happily welcome a “squeaky clean” show.

“When the Game” does feature a shooting, but I didn’t see much else to grant the movie’s PG-rating. This has to be one of the cleanest movies released in years and definitely should be heralded by those who support faith-based films.

Chris Doyle

Author: Chris Doyle

View more articles by Chris Doyle.

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