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School Ties

It's time for my second favorite time of year, football season!!!!!!!!!! Of course, my first favorite is Oscar season, however, I digress.

Since the NFL kicks off this weekend, it seemed to be a good time to tell you about two of my favorite football movies. The first is School Ties. Click over to the Classics area to read about the other.

Brendan Fraser is David Greene - a working class kid in Scranton, Pennsylvania during the 1950's. Scranton is the type of town that every young kid wants to escape (I am allowed to say that, I grew up about 40 miles north) and every parent hopes he or she does. Lucky for David, he is a star football player.

A small, prestigious New England prep school is looking for a quarterback who can take their team to the championship, so Coach McDevitt (Kevin Tighe) recruits David and offers him a full scholarship. Everything sounds pretty good, huh?

Both Coach McDevitt and his father (Ed Lauter) want to see David succeed, but they fear for him. David doesn't understand the type of place he is attending. He thinks he'll play one year of football, then go to an Ivy League school, but he is Jewish. Coach and his father want him to hide it, so he doesn't face the school's Anti-Semitism.

Can David hide his faith?

If you have only seen Fraser in George of the Jungle or The Mummy, you are in for a big surprise. He shows great promise as the determined, big man on campus. Fraser is able to convey his character's outrage at the school's attitude and his desire to prove everyone wrong. I wish Fraser would take a few more of these type of roles instead of banking on the big blockbusters. Maybe when The Mummy II flops - er, I mean wraps - he will have made enough money and he can take more challenging parts.

Another surprise is in store for Matt Damon fans. A few weeks ago, I expressed my amazement that Damon put in such a good performance in The Talented Mr. Ripley. Once again, I have to eat my words as Damon puts in a great performance as Charlie - the spoiled rotten son and former star quarterback who loses his football job and girlfriend (Amy Locane) to David. While they have a great relationship, Charlie slowly realizes that David is taking away everything he believes he is entitled to.

Chris O'Donnell is adequate as David's understanding, but confused roommate. However, it is a weak performance. O'Donnell seems to be set on one level and doesn't show much range or emotion. Also, look for an early appearance by Ben Affleck.

The plot is a little predictable, but this is a fine movie with a great message about honor, dignity and staying true to your beliefs. If you are looking for a football movie that even the wife or girlfriend can enjoy, and your favorite team is getting beaten, check out School Ties.

Grade: A-

Directed by Robert Mandel

Written by Dick Wolf and Daryl Poniscan


Brendan Fraser …… David Greene

Matt Damon ..…….. Charlie Dillon

Chris O'Donnell ..…. Chris Reece

Randall Batinkoff ...... Rip Van Kelt

Andrew Lowery ..…. McGivern

Cole Hauser .……...  Jack Connors

Ben Affleck ..……… Chesty Smith

Anthony Rapp ..…….Richard "McGoo" Collins

Amy Locane ..………Sally Wheeler

Peter Donat ..……….Headmaster Dr. Bartram

Zeljko Ivanek ..……..Cleary

Kevin Tighe ..……….Coack McDevitt

Michael Higgins ..…. ..Mr. Gierasch

Ed Lauter ..………… Alan Greene

Peter McRobbie ..….. Chaplain

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