Friday FabOoolousness – Friday Nights Flicks for Fall: Varsity Blues

What says Friday night during the fall months better than high school football?  The sun sets; the temperatures cool; and the sounds of marching bands, spectator’s cheers, and the crackling of shoulder pads crashing into one another echo through the neighborhoods.  Ah, memories.

So, grab the old letter jacket, microwave some popcorn, grill a few hot dogs, crack open a coke, and curl up on the sofa for a great movie that reminds us of the good ol’ Friday nights in fall. 

Varsity Blues (1999)

High school football is life in West Canaan, Texas, and anybody who’s anybody plays their part for the team.  Training begins at a very early age: the girls perfect their toe-touches and the boys practice tossing the pigskin through a tire hanging from a tree as soon as they can stand. 

Jonathan “Mox” Moxon (James Van Der Beek, Dawson’s Creek) plays quarterback for the West Canaan team.  Backup quarterback.  His best friend, Lance Harbor (Paul Walker, Fast and the Furious I, II, IV, V), is the starting quarterback.  The competition doesn’t bother the two boys, but it drives their fathers absolutely crazy.

The two teens seemingly have it all – Mox has the grades for prestigious Brown University, and he has a healthy teenage relationship with his best friend’s sister (Jules Harbor played by Amy Smart, Butterfly Effect).  Lance doesn’t have the grades, but he does have an opportunity to play college ball, and he’s dating a gorgeous cheerleader (Darcy Sears played by Ali Larter, Heroes).

Everything comes crashing down around the boys when Lance injures his knee during a game.  Mox is thrown onto the field and thrust into the spotlight.  He wasn’t as prepared as he should have been having not expected to play, but he manages his way through the final buzzer and later rushes to the hospital to be by his friend’s side. 

Doctors determine that Lance can’t play.  His football days have quite possibly come to an end.  Mox can’t believe what he’s hearing and grows even more devastated when he learns that the team’s legendary coach (Bud Kilmer played by Hollywood great, Jon Voight) has been covering up minor knee tweaks here and there by injecting Lance with cortisone shots. 

Mox makes the best of the situation and takes charge of the team with Lance and his other friends by his side (Charlie Tweeder played by Scott Caan, Hawaii Five-0; Billy Bob played by Ron Lester, Not Another Teen Movie; and Wendell Brown played by former Kansas City Chief, Eliel Swinton ).  Varsity Blues isn’t just about football, but more about teens finding their way in spite of what they have been conditioned to do.

Varsity Blues is about as realistic as it gets when talking about high school football in West Texas, without actually claiming to be inspired by actual events: the coach’s win-at-all-costs attitude; the quarterback’s celebrity (everyone remembers the whipped cream bikini, right?); the realization that great moments are often times the most painful; and that character is built by going against the norm.

The ending can make even the toughest man cry, and this movie will forever be one of the best Friday night flicks for fall. 

Next week, Friday Night Lights….    

Have you seen Varsity Blues?  Did your high school take football as seriously as West Canaan?  What other movies remind you of your high school days?  I’d love to hear from you!

22 Replies to “Friday FabOoolousness – Friday Nights Flicks for Fall: Varsity Blues”

  1. Loved Varsity Blues! Great cast and good characters. Paul Walker was yummy – and still is. Fortunately my high school didn’t take their football quite that seriously, but it was big deal. Always is in small towns.

    1. Wasn’t Voight the perfect casting for the role of the win-at-all-costs coach? I thought he was magnificent. And ye, Paul walker is STILL yummy! I’ve been thinking about renting Fast Five on OnDemand this weekend….thanks for stopping by, Stacy!

  2. I have never seen Varsity Blues and I am a football dunce (hockey was kind in our high school) but I will say I love allll sports TV. Just the energy of it all usually makes for some great shows. I will definitely check this one out!

  3. I am not a football fan…at all. My biggest hurrah in school was getting kicked out of the pep rallies for life. I got to read in the caf while everybody else rah-rahed in the gym. I encouraged an entire section of bleachers to scream “We’ve got less…we’ve got less” when the spirit stick came around to us. We *were* louder than anybody else.

    However…I have seen both Varsity Blues and Friday Night Lights. I enjoyed them both. I’ve also read the book Friday Night Lights was based on. All very interesting stuff. Socially, economically, and historically. I’ll look forward to Friday Night Lights next week. 😀

  4. I haven’t seen it but it looks so good!
    Movies that remind me of my high school days: Final Destination. The 1st one. I remember going with all my friends to see it and having so much fun.

  5. I don’t like football. As a Texan, I know that’s anathema: How dare I leave the religion of the pigskin? But I grew up watching football, attending high school games (I was in the band), and even dated a lineman for a while.

    There are some wonderful football movies. I have not seen Varsity Blues, though. (I think I was a new mom knee-deep in pacifiers and diapers at the time it came out.) Another Netflix add for me! The football flick I remember growing up was Lucas (1986) – with Charlie Sheen, Corey Haim, Kerry Green. Winona Ryder was also in it.

      1. Julie (and Catie), I wouldn’t say you are horrible Texans….just two peas in a pod. 🙂

        Lucas is a GREAT movie, Julie. I haven’t thought about it in years. I do hope you add Varsity Blues to your Netflix queue. It’s a good one….I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  6. The movies that remind me of my high school days? The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire and Purple Rain.

    My husband played football for San Diego State and has been kind enough to explain the finer points to me. 🙂

    1. My kind of movies, Jenny! I’m a HUGE child of the eighties. I own all of the Brat Pack movies. Do you watch Psych? The star/writer is also a child of the ’80s and he makes sure to cast as many ’80s stars as possible, including the Brat Pack. He’s already had Ally Sheedy in a recurring role and Judd Nelson. This year he adds Molly Ringwald to the list. Psych is always a fun walk down memory lane for those of us who loved the decade!

  7. I haven’t seen Varsity Blues. Not sure why, but it just never made it into my queue. My sister lives in Texas and I’m sure it’s what my nephews had to go through. She used to tell me horror stories about the team. Yikes.

    I only watch the superbowl, or when the Chargers play the Broncos. I live in San Diego and I was born in Denver, so it’s win-win for me!

    As for movies – I’m with Jenny. Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Purple Rain, those were the stand out movies for me.

    1. Tameri – since you love the eighties movies, see my comment to Jenny. Do you watch Psych?

      I watch the Chargers play, but only because Philip Rivers and Vincent Jackson are on my fantasy team. LOL

    1. LYNN! Dazed and Confused is my #1 movie. I can’t even tell you how many times I have watched it. I own it on VHS AND DVD. D&C was my high school senior class movie (our song was from the LIon King – we were all over the map as eighteen year olds). LOL

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