We sent ‘Guest High School Chick’ Gabby Rhoades to a screening of When the Game Stands Tall, figuring she was better qualified to speak to its potential appeal to High Schoolers in particular – and the broader audience in general. The screening itself was flawed by technical difficulties (sorry ’bout that!), but we appreciate her sticking it out and offering up this review:

When the Game Stands Tall posterWhen The Game Stands Tall is a great and inspiring end-of-summer movie to get the public ready for football in the fall. Inspired by a true story, the De La Salle High School Football team, the Spartans, hold the nation’s highest winning streak of high school football games in all of history. This movie is not just another cliché plot where the football coach tries to change the lives of boys learning to become men and them trying to find clarity on the field. It’s a story of one of the nation’s most talented football teams losing for the first time in many aspects of life, and learning to pick themselves back up as a team.

Bob Ladouceur (played by Jim Caviezel), head coach of the De La Salle Spartans, dedicates his life to helping the young men on his football team grow into strong leaders of tomorrow. The Spartans are no usual football team. Aside from being one of the best in the nation, they walk out onto every game holding hands with the player next to them showing the importance of family and love on a team. Ladouceur teaches them important messages such as character counts, leave it all on the field, and play for the man next to you. He isn’t just helping to build a better football program at De La Salle, but showing these boys what it really means to play football. It’s not about being perfect all the time – it’s about giving the perfect effort. A quick scare with Coach Ladoucer’s health after suffering a heart attack left him temporarily unable to coach in 2003. The following season the team has their first loss in over 12 years, ending their 151 game winning streak. The faces of students and parents in the crowd drop in disbelief as they slowly drop their “Keep the streak alive” posters hanging everywhere.

This isn’t a movie of an underdog team crawling their way to the top inch by inch. It’s the story of a team that was great, and didn’t know what it felt like to be on the losing side for a very long time. If you love the adrenaline and action packed onto a football field under Friday night lights, while still learning messages about being humble but playing as a family with love, then this movie is something you will enjoy.

– By Guest High School Chick, Gabby Rhoades

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