Friday Night Lights

Released 2004


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Movie Summary

Peter Berg
Friday Night Lights is a dramatic film made in 2004 about the high school football team of the Permian High School Panthers and their coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thorton), based on the book by H G. Bissinger. The film is set in Odessa, Texas, a town obsessed with their football team. The most important night of the week is Friday, when the team faces off against other high schools with the entire town cheering them on. Gary is the point from which all successes and failures of the team generate, which puts him under a considerable amount of pressure to take the team to playoffs. At the beginning of the season, star player James "Boobie" Miles is seriously injured, then having to face what his future might be if he's no longer able to play football with merely a mediocre academic history. Quarterback Mike Winchell suffers from inconsistency on the field, which leads him to doubt his decisions in the rest of his life, while fullback Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund) copes with a complex relationship with his father, and safety Brian Chavez (Jay Hernandez) strives to be more than just a football player. Though Gary inspires the team to success even without their star player, they all must deal with the wins and losses of the football season, and those they face in their personal lives. The town's football obsession brings out the economic and racial tensions within their community as well. The film inspired a television series of the same name, produced by Brian Grazer and starring Minka Kelly, Taylor Kitsch, Aimee Teegarden, Connie Britton, Kyle Chandler, Zach Gilford, and Adrianna Palicki.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 70

    The New York Times Dana Stevens

    Uplifting and troubling, partly because it is more honest than most sports movies about the high cost and short life span of high school football glory.

  • 70

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Real enough around the edges to hold our attention even if it sacrifices accuracy for storytelling ease.

  • 70

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Friday Night Lights is the "Black Hawk Down" of high school football movies. As exclusively as Ridley Scott's picture was about combat, this film concerns football and nothing but.

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surviving high school, life in a small town, love triangle, for men, small town life