Did you see the Lights of Friday?

I’ve been reading H.G. Bissinger’s book Friday Night Lights, yes the one that became a movie, which then spawned a TV series.

Three snippets I find especially well-expressed:

Mike Winchell, after the glorious touchdown pass he had thrown, now seemed hunted by failure. His face was etched in agony, the passes coming off his hand in a tentative, jerky motion, thrown desperately without rhythm…How could a seventeen year-old kid concentrate at a moment like this amid the frenzy of fifteen thousand fans? How could he possibly keep his poise?” (19).

Odessa was still a place that seemed on the edge of the frontier, a paradoxical mixture of the Old South and the Wild West, friendly to a fault but fiercely independent, God-fearing and propped up by the Baptist beliefs in family and flag but hell-raising, spiced with edge of violence but naive and thoroughly pretentious” (32).

Boobie Miles “had played his junior year with a kind of seething emotion that sometimes dissolved into quick frustration and discouragement. He easily got rattled, particularly when he seemed as frazzled as a child. But there were other times when that emotion made him spellbinding and untouchable…Boobie had more than just the requisite size and speed to play big-time college ball. He had the rawness, the abandon, the unbridled meanness” (54-55).

Lucas Black portrayed Mike Winchell in the film.

Derek Luke portrayed Boobie Miles in the film.

Click here for more film pictures.

Tony Macklin wrote an essay about the book and film at Bright Lights Film Journal. It’s rather critical of the film. It’s not a very long read.

I can agree with this comment of his:

The book was fourteen years evolving into a movie. Finally the screenplay, written by Peter Berg and David Aaron Cohen, was made into a movie directed by Berg. There are many entertainment minefields portrayed in the book — racism, failure, futility, and hypocrisy. How many downers can an audience take? The filmmakers avoided that problem; at almost every moment of truth, they backed down. The saddest thing is that they didn’t have to. Friday Night Lights was a great movie waiting to be made; it didn’t happen.

One might not ask anything other than that the movie be what it pretends to be — authentic, human, true. It isn’t. The guts, no, the soul, has been cut out of the book. The book dealt with politics and social values. One can accept the politics being truncated, but not the social criticism, not the human dimensions.

4 thoughts on “Did you see the Lights of Friday?

  1. DoubleDown

    Have you caught the TV show yet? It’s amazing. One of my most favorite shows on TV and well written and very well filmed.

    The DVD’s are pretty cheap from Target and such.

    Well worth a couple weekends of viewing

  2. Pingback: Clear Eyes, Full Hearts I’ve finally seen them « Sitting Pugs: Sports Movies

  3. Pingback: That’s What I like about you « Sitting Pugs: Sports Movies

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