Publish date:

HOLLYWOOD THRILLS

A new football movie relies on some old plot points

When the Game Stands Tall (opening on Aug. 22) dramatizes the true story of De La Salle High (Concord, Calif.), which won a U.S. record 151 straight games from 1992 to 2003. "But our movie begins when the winning stops," says actor Jim Caviezel, who portrays coach Bob Ladouceur. "So you see character growth and a fight for redemption." While Caviezel insists it's not a clichéd high school football movie, you also see a crazed fan base, racial and socioeconomic tension, a training montage and, of course, the big playoff game. Sound familiar?

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FILM STUDY

WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (2004)

REMEMBER THE TITANS (2000)

INSPIRATION

2004 De La Salle Spartans (Calif.)

1988 Permian Panthers (Texas)

1971 T.C. WILLIAMS TITANS (VA.)

PROTAGONIST COACH

Jim Caviezel as Bob Ladouceur

Billy Bob Thornton as Gary Gaines

Denzel Washington as Herman Boone

"IT'S MORE THAN JUST A GAME" PEP TALK

"It ain't about the football. It ain't about the touchdowns...."

"Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there...."

"I'm not gonna talk to you tonight about winnin' and losin'...."

FALLEN HERO

Ladouceur suffers a heart attack; a beloved former player is killed

ACL injury derails career of stud running back

Car crash paralyzes a popular teammate

NFL CAMEO

Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew, a De La Salle alum, has 60 seconds of screen time

Permian alum and former Cowboys receiver Roy Williams plays an assistant coach at a rival high school

With Denzel, you don't need NFL star power

OVERBEARING FATHER

Running back's dad puts immense pressure on his son to break the state scoring record

Fullback's father doesn't think his son is carrying on his legacy

Star defensive back's dad demands more playing time for his son, even calling for a team boycott

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE

Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France was disqualified after finishing first in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the European Championships because he took off his shirt and put it in his mouth as he neared the finish line.

PHOTO

TRISTAR PICTURES/COURTESY EVERETT COLLECTION (WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL)

PHOTO

UNIVERSAL/COURTESY EVERETT COLLECTION (FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS)

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WALT DISNEY CO./COURTESY EVERETT COLLECTION (REMEMBER THE TITANS)

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PETR DAVID JOSEK/AP (MEKHISSI-BANNABAD)

SEVEN ILLUSTRATIONS