Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights

4.0 16
Director: Peter Berg

Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez


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H.G. Bissinger's best-selling true-life account of a few months in the life of a high-school football team comes to the screen in this adaptation written and directed by Peter Berg. Odessa, TX, is an oil town in the western part of the state that's home to the Permian High School Panthers, the football team with the best winning record in the state. Odessa is a town… See more details below


H.G. Bissinger's best-selling true-life account of a few months in the life of a high-school football team comes to the screen in this adaptation written and directed by Peter Berg. Odessa, TX, is an oil town in the western part of the state that's home to the Permian High School Panthers, the football team with the best winning record in the state. Odessa is a town with more than its share of problems; the decline of the oil business in Texas has set the city's economy into a tailspin, and racial tensions still erupt into violence on occasion. But football is the one thing that brings all the people of Odessa together, and on Friday nights every fall, as many as 20,000 people fill Permian's football stadium to watch Coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton) and his boys try to lead the team to victory. As Gaines works to build a winning team in a town where victory is prized above all else, however, his players struggle through the emotional trials common to any teenager and ponder the fact that there is little future in their hometown...and that a championship season can be as much a burden as a triumph. Friday Night Lights also stars Lucas Black, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez, and country singer-turned-actor Tim McGraw.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
In the small Texas town of Odessa, high school football isn’t just a game -- it’s the yardstick by which many residents measure their self-worth and significance. That’s the lesson learned by early by new coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton), who endures criticism, taunts, and even threats from parents and other townspeople obsessed with seeing their team compete in the state finals. His players include the supremely talented but willful Boobie Miles (Derek Luke), an egomaniac prepared to sacrifice his health for gridiron glory, and Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund), a hardworking receiver who endures the bullying of his foul-mouthed father (country music star Tim McGraw in a bang-up performance). Actor-turned-director Peter Berg (The Rundown), who co-scripted with David Aaron Cohen, keeps his star firmly grounded in the role of a sensible man caught up in a high-pressure situation. Coach Gaines is someone who believes that football, while perhaps a good character builder, is essentially just a game -- an attitude that puts him at odds with Odessans who, sadly, have invested far too much of their self-esteem in the team and its fortunes. In some respects, Friday Night Lights is a typical sports movie, with familiar character types and a predictable narrative that relies for its third-act climax on the Big Game. But it’s done with style and perception, portraying small-town hopes and fears with unusual fidelity. Absent a leading man like Thornton, this film might be the sort of run-of-the-mill TV movie you can find any night on cable. But Thornton’s performance is well-nigh perfect, maintaining a consistency of tone and intensity that makes his Coach Gaines an unforgettable figure: a small-town man with a big heart.
All Movie Guide
Friday Night Lights was billed as a "different kind of sports movie," but the film's greatest departure from brethren like Remember the Titans and Varsity Blues is stylistic, not substantive. Peter Berg's herky-jerky camera might bring in more indie-minded viewers than your typical football movie, but it adds little extra legitimacy to the standard components: the obsessive heartland town, the caustic parental pressure, the vein-popping coach, the long-odds push toward the big game. Since it's based on a true story, one can't blame any screenwriter (in this case, Berg) for concocting a bunch of "movie moments" -- only for choosing it as a story that needed telling. Even if it's not that much "different," Friday Night Lights does do a lot of things right. One of these is its handling of the requisite injured athlete facing an unknown future. Since revealing the character would constitute a spoiler, suffice it to say that the actor gives a performance of great burning frustration, drawing sympathy from the audience in a way that the character's previous swagger did not. But the film's most impressive performance goes to country singer and novice actor Tim McGraw, whose turn as a disappointed father is so intense, it leaves blood on the celluloid. These performances contribute to an overall detailed authenticity that's a credit to Berg, who has matured a lot since his previous two features, a popcorn action movie (The Rundown) and a mean-spirited black comedy (Very Bad Things). Maybe Berg is really what sets Friday Night Lights apart.
Chicago Tribune
Peter Berg's beautifully executed film takes us from preseason to the playoffs, awing us with hard-hitting, bone-cracking high school games -- games you will watch as though you've been rooting for the Panthers your entire life. The movie is that good. Allison Benedikt
USA Today - Mike Clark
One of the best football movies ever, Nights in the end celebrates the game.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Action-packed deleted scenes; Peter Berg discusses a scene in the movie; Player cam; Tim McGraw: off the stage; The story of the 1988 Permian Panthers; Gridiron grads; Behind the lights; Feature commentary with director Peter Berg and author Buzz Bissinger

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Billy Bob Thornton Coach Gary Gaines
Derek Luke Boobie Miles
Jay Hernandez Brian Chavez
Lucas Black Mike Winchell
Garrett Hedlund Don Billingsley
Tim McGraw Charles Billingsley
Connie Britton Sharon Gaines
Lee Thompson Young Chris Corner
Lee Jackson Ivory Christian
Grover Coulson L.V. Miles
Connie Cooper Mrs. Winchell
Kasey Stevens Flippy
Ryanne Duzich Melissa
Amber Heard Maria
Morgan Farris Jennifer Gaines
Laine Kelly Corner's Girlfriend
Gavin Grazer Trapper
Turk Pipkin Skip Baldwin
Carey Windler Dr. Rogers
Tommy G. Kendrick Odessa Doctor
Brad Leland John Aubrey
Lillian Langford Nancy Aubrey
Christian Kane Brian
Buddy Hale Booster
Ken Farmer Booster
Marco Perella Booster
Eloise DeJoria Booster
Robert Weaver Booster
Katherine Willis Booster Wife
Angie Bolling Booster Wife
Charles Sanders Buddy's Burgers Manager
Barry Sykes Permian Play-by-Play Announcer
Clay Kennedy Permian Color Announcer
Lewis B. Johnson Carter Play-by-Play Announcer
J.D. Hawkins Carter Play-by-Play Announcer
B.T. Stone Slammin' Sammy
Wade Johnston Coach Miller
Rick Herod Coach McCutcheon
Paul Wright Coach Belew
Julius Tennon Coach James
Dennis Hill Coach Harper
Timothy Walter Coach Vonner
Robert Scott Smith Coach Smith
Kenneth Plunk Coach Plunk
Josh Berry Coach Campbell
Branson Washburn Coach Washburn
David Johnson Coach Johnson
John Patrick Hayden Permian Booth Coach
Chris Palmer Permian Booth Coach
Kyle-Scott Jackson Carter Booth Coach
C. Anthony "Charles" Jackson Carter Booth Coach
Kippy Brown Carter Booth Coach
Cleveland "Chick" Harris Carter Booth Coach
Billy Melvin Thomas Carter Assistant Coach
Kammerin Hunt Carter Assistant Coach
Roy Williams Midland Lee Assistant Coach
Gary Mack Griffin Marshall High School Coach
Randy Brinlee Marshall Game Referee
Dan Rankin Cooper Game End Zone Official
Tim Crowley Carter Game Referee
Harvey L. Jeffries Carter Game Official
Tiki Davis Carter Co-Captain - Baird
Everett Smith Carter Quarterback - Whitaker
Ty Law Carter Wide Receiver - Graf
Christopher Dahlberg Clancy Kent
Peter Harrell C.C. Russeau
Kevin Page John Wilkins
Brady Coleman Jerald McClary
Stephen Bishop Loie Harris
Bob Richardson Marvin Edwards
Mark Donaldson State Trooper
Aisha Schliessler Cheerleader
Evan Bernard Drunk Driver
Rutherford Cravens Kansas Wesleyan Recruiter
Wayne Hanawalt Kansas Wesleyan Recruiter
Brian Thornton Recruiter
Sam Austin Recruiter
Mark Nutter Recruiter
Jeff Gibbs Journalist Jim
Richard Dillard Reporter
Robert Flores Reporter
Terry Parks Skip Baldwin's Cameraman
Talon Smith Young Kid
Taylor Sawyers Young Kid
Bradley Lisman Young Kid
Richard Nance Buzzard
Aaron Babino Football Player
Dean Baldwin Football Player
Ben Bronson Football Player
Sunny Byrd Football Player
John Clark Football Player
Bobby Doherty Football Player
Chris Fisher Football Player
Cedric Foster Football Player
Corey Hargers Football Player
Tavis Harvey Football Player
Deshaun Hill Football Player
Ryan Jacobs Football Player
Nick Jester Football Player
Tyrone Jones Football Player
Mark Llewellyn Football Player
Jon Luke Football Player
O.J. McClintock Football Player
Mike Jones Football Player
Robert Nguyen Football Player
Joseph Norman Football Player
Dewayne Patmon Football Player
Everick Rawls Football Player
Brett Robin Football Player
Steven Rogers Football Player
Ray Ross Football Player
Chad L. Stevens Football Player
Travis Thompson Football Player
Matt Trissel Football Player
Brandon Tully Football Player
Darrick Wallace Football Player
Barney Welch Police Officer

Technical Credits
Peter Berg Director,Screenwriter
Sarah Aubrey Co-producer
Ronn Basquette Set Decoration/Design
Lee Berger Executive Producer
David Bernardi Associate Producer
Jo Edna Boldin Casting
Peter Borck Art Director
Troy Breeding Makeup
John Cameron Executive Producer
David Aaron Cohen Screenwriter
David O. Daniel Sound Mixer
Lynne Eagan Makeup
Barrett Elkins Stunts
Explosions in the Sky Score Composer
Courtnee Garcia Stunts
Derek Graf Stunts
Robert Graf Co-producer
Brian Grazer Producer
Eric Heffron Asst. Director
Janet Hirshenson Casting
Jason Hunt Stunts
Jane Jenkins Casting
James Lavitola Stunts
David Luckenbach Camera Operator
Susan Matheson Costumes/Costume Designer
L. Patrick McCormack Production Manager
Miguel McKay Stunts
Jayson Merrill Stunts
Bonnie Morgan Stunts
Chris Moseley Camera Operator
Whit Norris Sound Mixer
Colby Parker Editor
Christopher Poling Stunts
Kevin Reid Stunts
Justin Reimer Stunts
David Rosenbloom Editor
Christie Sanders Stunts
Tobias Schliessler Cinematographer
Bob M. Scott Camera Operator
John G. Scotti Asst. Director
Sharon Seymour Production Designer
Rob Simons Set Decoration/Design
Erick Smart Stunts
Scott Stickane Stunts
Orly Stires Camera Operator
Mark Weingarten Sound Mixer
Webster Whinery Stunts
James Whitaker Executive Producer

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