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When the Game Stands Tall

7/10
Drama . Family . Sport
 

A young coach turns a losing high school football program around to go undefeated for 12 consecutive seasons.

 
Actors: Jim Caviezel , Michael Chiklis , Laura Dern , Clancy Brown , Ser'Darius Blain , Stephan James , Matthew Daddario , Joe Massingill , Matthew Frias , LaJessie Smith , Alexander Ludwig
Directors: Thomas Carter
Country: USA
Release: 2014-08-22
More Info:
  • Peter Hartlaub

    More in the tone of the big screen "Friday Night Lights" than "Rudy" or "The Blind Side," it succeeds as mainstream entertainment without relying on a conventional storybook framework.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    Nearly as good as the average episode of TV’s “Friday Nights Lights,” which makes it better than most movies and one of the better sports films of recent years.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Bruce Ingram

    It’s interesting that When the Game Stands Tall is essentially a movie about losing.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    There's no question that a soft-spoken person can be a great leader, but Caviezel underplays Ladouceur to the point that you wonder how the players could even hear him, much less be inspired by him.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    For all the pains the movie takes to explain why someone shouldn’t play football—to win, to be a star, to defeat others — it never bothers to explain why someone should play the game. It’s a collection of well-intentioned absences with no defining presence to speak of.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Susan Wloszczyna

    Michael Chiklis doesn’t get to inject nearly enough humor as Coach Lad’s more demonstrative assistant.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    When the Game Stands Tall is one of those cliché-riddled feel good movies that, by trying too hard to be inspirational, ends up as cloying and overly sentimental.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    The real-life story behind When the Game Stands Tall sounds amazing. But for all its exciting sports scenes, the movie version falls flat as drama.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Cliff Lee

    Jim Caviezel, as coach Ladouceur, doesn’t get much to work with, the script reducing the man to a two-dimensional motivational speaker awash in “there’s no I in Team” platitudes.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Tom Russo

    It makes for a structurally glitchy inspirational exercise whose climax carries all the goosebump-making drama of a Pats preseason game.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    When the Game Stands Tall is a solid if unsurprising and uninspiring melodrama.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    While it's not really about football, it's not about sterling filmmaking, either.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Alan Scherstuhl

    The movie is more effective as sports fantasy than as theology.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Anita Gates

    Thomas Carter, the director, whips us into a frenzy during the big winning-again-is-everything game, as all sports underdog movies must. But in the end, the only real impact is limited to a few scenes.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    “Hoosiers” this ain’t. The redemptive final game has some nice plays and bone-crunching sound effects, but no grit. Ultimately, it’s a ho-hum, bromide-filled production undeserving of a victory dance.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Stephen Farber

    It’s too blandly acted and directed to make much of an impact.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    An inspirational sports drama that goes long on rectitudinous sermonizing but comes up short on gridiron thrills or genuine love for the game.

    Variety Full Review
  • Kimberley Jones

    It’s an impossible standard, maybe, but in 42 minutes, TV’s "Friday Night Lights" delivered all-star-level emotional complexity and action. When the Game Stands Tall is strictly JV squad.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • David Hiltbrand

    The script depends entirely too much on a succession of reporters, announcers, and spectators to provide context and detail in clunky, implausible dialogue.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Eric Henderson

    Jim Caviezel commits only to the level of God-like omniscience that Mel Gibson whipped into him a decade ago, and as such his character often seems less a teacher than an appropriately shadowy figurehead of authority.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    Ironically, When the Game Stands Tall isn’t about keeping gridiron glory in perspective, but about blowing it out of proportion.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Robert Abele

    A true tale of high school football achievement becomes a strained, by-the-numbers grab bag of uplift in the Christian sports drama When the Game Stands Tall.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Inkoo Kang

    "When the Game” is like a bad seven-layer salad: it's tempting in theory, but it's really just a jumble of random ingredients that wind up supremely unappetizing in the aggregate.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    While discipline and self-control certainly figure into Ladouceur’s teachings, there’s also a passion and drive that’s totally absent from Caviezel’s performance. It’s not that the film needs any more goosing—it’s broad and shameless even by inspirational-sports-movie standards—but its basic lack of plausibility starts with him.

    The Dissolve Full Review
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