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"FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS"
(2004) (Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Moderate Heavy Minor Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None *None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Heavy Heavy Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Facing an unbelievable amount of pressure from their community and some of their family members, a high school football coach and his team must overcome that and other obstacles as they try to win the state championship.
PLOT:
It's 1988 in Odessa, Texas where high school football is the center of the world for everyone who lives there. Accordingly, the residents are interested in whether third year Coach Gaines (BILLY BOB THORNTON) might be able to return the Permian Panthers to the glory of all of their previous state championships. Although his team -- that includes Don Billingsley (GARRETT HEDLUND), Brian Chavez (JAY HERNANDEZ), Ivory Christian (LEE JACKSON), Chris Comer (LEE THOMPSON YOUNG) and quarterback Mike Winchell (LUCAS BLACK) -- is smaller than he'd like, Gaines has a powerful weapon in James "Boobie" Miles (DEREK LUKE).

He's a cocky but physically gifted running back whose ticket to stardom is assured, a point his uncle L.V. Miles (GROVER COULSON), enjoys pointing out to anyone who will listen. Mike's sick mom (CONNIE COOPER) is also proud of her son, but Don doesn't get any such respect from his alcoholic and abusive father, Charles (TIM MCGRAW), a former Permian High star who's quite critical of his boy.

With the town's expectations soaring and the pressure mounting for them to win, Coach Gaines and his players do their best, including dealing with unexpected complications, as they make their way toward the state championships.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into sports movies (particularly about football) or are fans of anyone in the cast, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For thematic issues, sexual content, language, some teen drinking and rough sports action.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BILLY BOB THORNTON plays the third year coach at the high school who must deal with mounting community pressure and criticism to win the state title as well as various unexpected obstacles and complications. He uses a little profanity in trying to get his team to win while also inspiring them to do their best.
  • LUCAS BLACK plays the team's reserved and troubled quarterback who lives with his sick mom. It's implied that he has sex with a girl who comes on to him.
  • GARRETT HEDLUND plays his good friend and fellow teammate who fools around with a girl, drinks some, and must contend with his abusive father. He uses some profanity.
  • DEREK LUKE plays the team's star player, a cocky but gifted athlete who uses some profanity and must deal with the repercussions of getting injured during the season.
  • TIM MCGRAW plays Don's abusive and possibly alcoholic father who wants his son to succeed, but is too demanding of him.
  • GROVER COULSON plays Boobie's uncle who wants to ride his nephew's coattails to success.
  • CONNIE BRITTON plays Gaines' supportive wife who's a bit tired of all of the community pressure on him and his team to win.
  • CONNIE COOPER plays Mike's sick mother who wants him to succeed. She uses some profanity.
  • LEE THOMPSON YOUNG plays the young running back who gets his chance to play when Boobie is injured.
  • JAY HERNANDEZ and LEE JACKSON play additional players on the team.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of a partially bleeped out "f" word and at least 9 "s" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Some sexually related dialogue occurs, off-screen sex is implied regarding some high school students (we see them getting dressed) and another couple fools around (passionate kissing, disrobing with partial nudity, etc.) but they're interrupted before going all of the way.

    Violence consists of some bone-jarring blows (and related injuries, some of which have moderately bloody results) during football games and practice, while a father beats up his son several times. Other bad attitudes are present and that abuse obviously leads to some tense family moments.

    A few people briefly smoke, while some high school students drink (a lot at a party) and the above abusive father appears to be an alcoholic. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, some of the jumpy and moving camerawork may bring about that condition.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Don sneaks some liquor into the soda he's drinking and later says that he and Mike are going to get drunk.
  • We see a lot of high school students drinking at a party (including pouring beer down a long funnel into a person's mouth).
  • Gaines and others have drinks in front of them with dinner.
  • Don and a girl he fools around with might be intoxicated.
  • Charles appears to be drunk.
  • We see Charles holding a flask while lying on a car's hood and windshield.
  • Two players joke with another about his future, saying that he'll be drinking martinis due to his success.
  • While drunk, Charles kicks out one back window of his or Don's car and then does the same to the other back window.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We briefly see a player with a broken or dislocated finger that's bent in a bad way.
  • After a player accidentally runs him over, a sideline photographer has a very bloody nose.
  • We see a football player whose face is very bloody and he spits or snorts out some blood to the floor. Other players have some bloody scrapes on them.
  • We see some bloody scrapes on some players.
  • After Mike's helmet comes off during a game, an opposing player kicks it so that it hits Mike in the face, bloodying his chin (we see blood there and on his jersey).
  • Various players have bloody cuts on their faces.
  • We hear the sound of Don's dislocated shoulder being snapped back into place.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Charles confronts his son on the field for dropping a ball. He then knocks him to the ground, picks him up off it and then throws him back down again. He then punches his son or another player in the helmet in anger.
  • A white woman refers to one of the black players (not in his presence) as a "nigger."
  • Boobie comes off as a cocky and conceited player and says that he doesn't need to lift weights during practice as what he has is God given and all he has to do is show up for the games.
  • Many townspeople put too much pressure on Gaines and his players to win.
  • Gaines lies to his team about Boobie's condition (so as not to disrupt their morale).
  • Boobie gets mad at a doctor, yanking down an MRI print-out and accusing the man of trying to sabotage his season with false information.
  • Don blatantly grabs a player by his face mask and sends him to the ground.
  • Some of the hits delivered by opposing football players are cheap shots.
  • Some townspeople have bad attitudes toward the coach due to him losing some games.
  • A black coach from an all-black school is adamant about the location of a playoff game and the color of the referees.
  • After Mike's helmet comes off during a game, an opposing player kicks it so that it hits Mike in the face, bloodying his chin (we see blood there and on his jersey).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Football related scenes listed under "Violence" as well as "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling to some viewers.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Mike and two other players do some skeet-type shooting.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Stupid f*cking idiot" (with the "f" word partially bleeped out), "Bullsh*t," "All that sh*t," "Hell of a season," "Screw up," "Let's bring 'em hell," "Get the hell out of here," "My distinguished ass," "You played your butts off," "Frickin,'" "This is bull," "They all suck," "What the hell are you doing?" "You drunk bastard," "I'll be damned," "Play your ass off," "What in the hell happened?" "Hell no" and "Cocky sons of guns."
  • Some kids may be inspired to imitate some of the hard hitting and cheap shots that occur during some of the football games.
  • We see a lot of high school students drinking at a party (including pouring beer down a long funnel into a person's mouth).
  • Charles tapes Don's hands and a football together and then proceeds to punch his son repeatedly.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None, but some songs had lyrics that we couldn't completely hear/understand, thus offering the possibility of them potentially containing objectionable material.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 bleeped out "f" word, 9 "s" words, 2 slang terms for sex ("laid"), 12 hells, 10 damns, 5 asses, 7 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "Jesus Christ" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Don tells Mike that if he has anything to say about it, "You're gonna get laid tonight." He then says, "We're gonna get laid."
  • We see miscellaneous couples making out at a party.
  • A high school girl approaches Mike, wonders why he doesn't have a girlfriend and asks if he's gay. He says he isn't and she suggestively asks if he can prove it. The scene then cuts to a shot of them getting dressed (including a close-up of the girl's panties under her unzipped jeans), implying that they had sex.
  • Don and a girl return to his place where they passionately kiss and remove both of their shirts. We see her bare back as she straddles him and he then gets on top of her on the couch (during which we see fleeting and partial glimpses of her bare breasts). Don's dad then comes in and just watches them (and lustfully tells the girl that she's grown up), causing them to stop and nothing else sexual occurs.
  • We briefly see a few players wearing just towels in the locker room.
  • SMOKING
  • Some miscellaneous characters smoke in one scene.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Boobie lives with his uncle, but we don't know what's become of his parents. Mike worries about his mother (who has some sort of unknown medical or psychological condition) and there's no father, while Don's mother is absent and he must deal with his mentally and physically abusive father (and there are many scenes regarding that).
  • We hear Mike on the phone talking to his brother and saying it would help if he came home (he never does).
  • While talking with his coach, Mike says that his mom is not right (meaning physically or mentally) and cries about that.
  • Charles states that his father apparently beat him when he was a boy.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The attention that some people and some school systems put on athletic endeavors (compared to or in place of academic ones).
  • Parental abuse.
  • Dealing with external pressure to succeed in any endeavor.
  • Charles is upset and says that he was supposed to make a man of his son.
  • Mike says he feels cursed no matter what happens, good or bad, in his life.
  • Gaines states that the only curses in life are those that are self-imposed.
  • Gaines states that there's not much difference between winning and losing except for how the world views you.
  • Charles states that his father apparently beat him when he was a boy.
  • Charles tells his son that the teen's high school football experience will be the only thing he's ever going to have and that it will carry him through life.
  • James cries when thinking his football career is over and that he can't do anything else.
  • A black coach from an all-black school is adamant about the location of a playoff game and the color of the referees.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Throughout the film and during both practice and actual games, we see various instances of brutal and bone-crushing types of physical impact between players (some of which result in bad injuries and/or some bloody cuts, etc.).
  • Charles confronts his son on the field for dropping a ball. He then knocks him to the ground, picks him up off it and then throws him back down again. He then punches his son or another player in the helmet in anger.
  • Two players get into a scuffle on the field and have to be separated.
  • Charles tapes Don's hands and a football together and then proceeds to punch his son repeatedly.
  • We hear the sound of Boobie's knee popping during a play (although it initially sounds like a bad break).
  • Don blatantly grabs a player by his face mask and sends him to the ground.
  • Boobie is injured again during a football play.
  • While drunk, Charles kicks out one back window of his or Don's car and then does the same to the other back window.
  • After Mike's helmet comes off during a game, an opposing player kicks it so that it hits Mike in the face, bloodying his chin (we see blood there and on his jersey).
  • A costumed team mascot is knocked over during a play that goes out of bounds.



  • Reviewed October 5, 2004 / Posted October 8, 2004

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