Judge David Johnson leaves it all on the field.
"Let's play the next 24 minutes for the next 24 minutes!"
Finally! Varsity Blues, the greatest football movie ever made* makes it to Blu-ray.
*Varsity Blues is not the greatest football movie ever made.
Facts of the Case
In the small Texas town of West Canaan, football is more than a sport. It's a religion and the antichrist is Coach Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight, Transformers), who runs the hugely successful, multi-championship-winning high school team. He may or not be evil incarnate, but no one cares because the guy brings home trophies and every parent in town hopes their son will one day play for him.
But just as the current season is humming along nicely, the team's star quarterback Lance (Paul Walker, Fast and Furious) goes down with an injury, leaving passing duties to the second-stringer, Jon Moxon (James Van Der Beek, Dawson's Creek) who, of course, immediately makes an impact by winning games and drawing the attention of the class bimbo (Ali Larter, Heroes) and the sex-ed teacher who also happens to be a stripper. Eventually, he'll lead his team to the state championship and they'll either a) lose in heartbreaking fashion or b) pull out the crazy play they had been practicing (to no avail) in an earlier scene and win the game at the last second by a narrow margin.
I love Varsity Blues…and I have no idea why. Objectively speaking, it is a corny, formulaic, over-baked sports flick packed with a mix of one-dimensional stereotypes, straight up cartoon characters, and plot points that anyone who's ever seen a sports movie will see coming from light years away. And yet I can not look away. In fact, if I were to stumble upon it while channel-surfing, I will undoubtedly stop and watch all the way through to the end.
Why?! What is this pathological attraction I have to such a goofy cheesefest? Join me, won't you, as I travel on this journey of self-discovery and—perhaps, after all these years—unlock the reasons behind this tortured psychology of my love for Varsity Blues.
The Shameless Cliches
The Stripper Teacher
Now all of this amazingness finally lands on a format that can treat it the way it was meant to be treated. The Blu-ray is solid, its 1.85:1 widescreen looking fine for a catalog release. The colors and detailing are all tight, providing a nice upgrade to the picture quality; game sequences look especially good and you won't see a better visual interpretation of a whipped cream bikini. The audio—Dolby 5.1 TrueHD—is similarly well-performing, active and hard-hitting during the tackles and Voight's shouting. Extras are resuscitated from the standard-def release: filmmakers commentary, a making-of featurette, a clunky "analysis" with a former Texas high school QB, a segment on the cast's football training, and a genuinely touching featurette on the actor who played Billy Bob the fat kid and how he befriends Jon Voight and a ton of weight.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Fine, the movie's stupid, okay?
But rejoice in its stupidity nonetheless with a Blu-ray that scores on the A/V end, but fumbles with a lack of new extras.
Not Guilty. There I said it. Acceptance is the first step.
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