Go Tigers! Movie Review
The documentary follows a year in the highschool football team from Massillon, Ohio. Purporting to be the definitive look at the game, the film earns raised eyebrows from the get-go: Everyone knows that west Texas is the place to go to find a town that lives and breathes football, not Ohio.
That aside, the film's look at locker room angst, beer bust after-parties, and local boosterism isn't terribly compelling. The film shines only when the seedy underbelly of the game is exposed. Players can't make their grades or become embroiled in criminal allegations, the school faces charges of "illegal recruitment" of a key player (recruitment in highschool!?), and most notably, the school system faces revenue shortfalls... but cutting the sports budget is taboo.
The few people not interested in football (that is: a couple of alt-kids at the mall) are given a few spare minutes of screen time (but at least it's something). You get the feeling that filmmaker Kenneth A. Carlson is willing to overlook and forgive all of the craziness and even criminalities that find a home in Massillon. Rock through a player's kitchen window (ostensibly thrown from a rival team member)? "It comes with the territory." A marching band given free rein to march anywhere in town, any time it wants, the day of the big game? No problem! Teachers will lose their jobs if a levy doesn't pass? Oh well. Carlson is simply too complicitous in some really nefarious stuff.
I can partially forgive the bias, but the worst part of the film is the production itself. Carlson ekes out some interesting shots, but the limitations of shooting on video make most of the film look like, well, a home movie of some kid's football game. The DVD's extras are endless -- at least half an hour of deleted scenes (mostly screaming pep rallies with totally incomprehensible sound), outtakes, interviews, and other errata. Maybe not for everyone, but certainly perfect for the Tigers fan in your life.
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