The De La Salle High School Spartans had the longest winning streak in sports history — 151 games.
Then they lost.
When the legacy of an entire city/school/generation is resting on your shoulders, it’s more than just a football game. When The Game Stands Tall is the true story of how this group of high school students — and their fearless coach — learned to cope with the loss and grow through the trials to become a better football team and better men.
It’s easy to understand the pressures and difficulties the characters must have gone through, but their story deserved a better telling than When the Game Stands Tall. Jim Caviezel — in all his easy-going confidence — is compelling as Coach Ladoucer, but the story is just predictable and boring.
WTGST should have tried to be its own thing instead of simply copy every other sports movie that came before it — and did it much better. All the tropes are there — the over-confident star who learns to play as part of a team, the inspirational speeches in the locker room, the nerdy kid who finally gets to play in the big game, the overbearing dad who expects too much from his child athlete — but for no real reason.
It may be an entertaining diversion for some, but When the Game Stands Tall remains a hackneyed lesser version of every other inspirational sports movie that came before it.
© Matt Tory, 2014.