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Friday Night Lights

Year: 2005
Director: Peter Berg
Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez
I usually get nothing out of sports movies, but director Berg (I knew I knew the name - he wasn't only Mark Ruffalo's partner in Collateral but he was one of the brothers of Corky Romano) brings a documentary style to the bleak Texan setting that gives it a real edge, and it's hard not to be drawn in because the characters are so well drawn.

A high school football team in a fairly impoverished area of the southern US has the support and spirit of the whole town behind them, and under the tutelage of gentle but passionate coach Gaines (Thornton), they get within a hair's breadth of history - winning the state championship.

The drama and relationships are realistic enough that by the time you actually get to the football game you still care what's going on, and some very talented actors and a director with a wonderful eye give a well-worn premise a fresh new perspective.

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