MOVIE – When The Game Stands Tall – ACTION ITEM!

When I was at the recent Napa Institute Conference, we were offered an early screening of the new movie with Jim Caviezel called When The Game Stands Tall.  I wrote at that time:

I saw an advance screening of a movie with Jim Caviezel,When The Game Stands Tall.  The name is a bit odd, but it explains itself along the way.  This is a new contribution to a well-established genre, the high school football movie.  It is based on a true story of Catholic De Lasalle Highschool, which had a football team winning streak of – I am not making this up – 151 games.

The coach’s desire was to bring out of all the boys a perfect effort, not necessarily a win, and, thereby, help them become men.

The movie is, in an over-arching way, formulaic – as true stories often are, you know.  Man remains the same, fallen and risen.  So, the winning team has a crisis they have to overcome and they find themselves along the way.  The coach has a crisis, and he has to figure out being both a coach and a husband and father.  There is a moment of truth (involving – yes – a football game).  Sound familiar?  It ought to.

But this movie does it well.  A while back I watched a similar movie, made by Evangelicals from a big church in Georgia (US not Asia).  Same basic common themes, but will overt Evangelical “Bible only” … well… thumping… and not a little prosperity Gospel stuff tossed in for good measure.   This new movie is not overtly Catholic.  Though it is at a Catholic Highschool, there is no cleric involved.  The only church scene is in a baptist church.  Scripture verses figure a couple times, and prominently and appropriately.  You see the players at prayer twice (I think) and, that, the Lord’s Prayer.   So, this is not in-your-face Catholcism.  But, the world-view in the movie seemed Catholic to me.

The concept of the team promoted by their coach seemed to be founded on sacrificial love: seek that which is good for the other, not just for oneself.  Make a perfect effort.

ACTION ITEM!  I hope that, [now that the release date as arrived], you will, in your parishes and groups, promote the film and even organize trips to the theater as groups to see it early in its release.

This would be great for a parish father/son event, for a trip to the movies with the parish’s altar boys, and young men.

We have seen some films, and pretty ones – all things considered – from Evangelicals, Facing The GiantsThey are trying to use this medium (film) to advance that which is dear to them.  Watching the credits of the Georgia football movie blew me away, as I saw dozens and dozens of people and organizations and businesses that contributed to the effort, which was, effectively, a parish initiative… to make a movie.  Get that?  Could your parish make a movie?

Here is the trailer for the new Caviezel film:

ALSO… see what I wrote about the new movie The Giver.  HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. capchoirgirl says:

    My dad, brother and I are going to see this next week. :)

  2. acbprop says:

    I saw this movie last night with my son’s high school football team–mostly inner city black kids. I think it hit home with everyone where ever they were–kids, coaches, me as a football father (the crazy football dad made me wish more parents had attended). The attendance was not encouraging–our team plus four innocent bystanders. Several excellent Catholic references. How come all the good sports stories are about Catholic schools? RUDY! RUDY! RUDY!

  3. AlexanderAerarius says:

    I don’t know. Would it be so hard to make some films that are Catholic and do not pander to Evangelicals?

    [So, you would prefer that we preach to the choir. Got it. BTW… have you seen the movie?]

  4. msc says:

    St. Luigi Scrosoppi, pray for me (and the three million odd youth soccer players in the U.S.) and send a good `real football` movie…. ;-)

  5. yatzer says:

    Maybe I can arrange for my rebellious and also football crazed teen grandson to catch this one. Can’t hurt, might help.

  6. AlexanderAerarius says:

    Admin: So, you would prefer that we preach to the choir. Got it. BTW… have you seen the movie?

    Well, yes, actually. I would not call that “preaching to the choir” so much as making content that appeals to the demographic to which I belong. I would regard a movie like this as entertainment rather than a propoganda vehicle anyway. I wouldn’t expect a film like this to win many converts, especially if there is nothing clearly Catholic about the movie.

    No, I have not seen the movie. It may very well be a good one. It just bothers me that, as you said, “the only church scene is in a baptist church.”

    [What a little ray of sunshine you are. This is a worthy project which needs support. If it does well can they make other movies.]

  7. StJude says:

    Catholic Radio interviewed the real life coaches yesterday on the radio.
    I’d like to see this movie.

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