HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: My All American
HTS Overall Score:80
There’s something about Football and America. They say baseball is the national sport, but Football has integrated itself so deeply in American culture that I honestly don’t know if that is true anymore. Superbowl Sunday is one of the biggest events of the year and the people parading around in team colors dwarfs just about any other sport out there. Not to mention the fact that they make some of the best sports movies in history. “Rudy”, “Remember the Titans”, “Invincible”, “Any Given Sunday”, “Friday Night Lights”, the list goes on and on and on. Some are dramas. Some are VERY adult in nature *cough*Any Given Sunday*cough*, but most are inspirational and uplifting in spirit. “My All American” tells the true life tale of Freddie Steinamk. A legend for the Texas Longhorns whose memorial still stands in the Longhorn stadium to this day where the players traditionally salute him before going on field. It’s a written and directed by the writer of “Rudy” and “Hoosiers”, which means the film is a definite inspirational story, but suffers a bit from being too predictable and saccharine sweet in its delivery.
Before Freddie Steinmark (Finn Wittrock) was a legend, he was just a boy growing up in a backwater town of Colorado playing football like most boys his age. He had life all planned out and new exactly where he was headed in life. He had the cutest girl in high school, Linda Wheeler (Sarah Bolger), and is headed for college football in the next year. Sadly he’s a bit on the short side at 5 foot 9 inches, so his college applications for scholarships have been a bit slim. That is until Darrell Royal (Aaron Eckhart) of the Texas Longhorns sees his final high school football game and decides to draft him with a full scholarship along with friend Mike Campbell (Alex MacNicoll). A bit of a Pollyanna and an all-around good guy, Freddie becomes one of the most loved people on the team. He went to mass every morning, loved his girlfriend and loved Football like no other.
Game after game and the Texas Longhorns are dominating the 1969 season. Freddie has proven himself so much that he was put on the first string his freshman year and along with Slick, another freshman, is leading his team straight to the Cotton bowl. It’s obvious from the setup that SOMETHING has to go wrong, even if you don’t know the outcome for Freddie by reading the book, or knowing Longhorn football history. It’s just setup from the very beginning with too much going right for him. Especially coming from the writer of “Rudy” who VERY obviously likes a person against the odds tale. Well, Freddie develops a leg injury that just keeps getting worse and worse. Even though Freddie puts his heart into the game and tries his best to heal, that wound just won’t let him play at peak. A day after the game that nets them the Cotton bowl with Notre Dame, Freddie learns that this pain in his left leg is actually a tumor. Not just a tumor but aggressive bonce cancer that is about the size of a softball on his leg. Whisking him away to the best Oncology department in Texas, Freddie’s leg is amputated, just weeks before the cotton bowl. Though he only has one leg, and a prognosis that is anything but good, Freddie does what Freddie does best. He goes to that game.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=65978[/img]“My All American” is a very inspirational story and the ending made me cry for sure. However, I had a few issues with the predictability of the story and the similarities to “Rudy”. I understand they were penned by the same writers, but every once in a while I felt like they were eerily similar. The short guy who doesn’t seem to have a chance gets accepted and then rises to do great things. It wasn’t much, just a few weird moments of De JA Vu. The predictability of the film and the over saccharine nature of the filming though were the only real detriments that I have an ACTUAL issue with. The movie is a play by play of every great sports movie ever. Guy gets into the college of his dreams, wins game after game and then runs into a great obstacle. The team mates and coaches all are overly sweet and kind, to the point that you feel like this is scripted. Well, we know that it IS scripted, but it doesn’t have to feel that way. The “good ole boy” veneer of the film works for a while, but then feels a bit worn and unrealistic by the end of the film.
With that complaining aside, I really liked the movie more than I thought I would. I knew that the same writer as famed “Rudy” and “Hoosiers” was not only penning the script but directing as well, but being one of his ONLY director’s jobs I wondered how a writer would do with his own material. As you saw, I felt it was a bit too predictable, but “My All American” is still a very enjoyable football film that chronicles the life of a true legend in the Texas Longhorn hall of fame. From all accounts Freddie really WAS that kind of a guy. Willing to help anyone with anything and cheerful to a fault. It’s why he was so universally loved. Finn Wittrock looks so much like Freddie that I had to do a double take several times and did an amazing job with the character. Robin Tunney wasn’t in the film very much as her picture would make one assume, as Finn and Sarah Bolger as his girlfriend Linda took the brunt of it along with Aaron Eckhart. Little tidbit of information. The real Linda Wheeler had a daughter, and that daughter actually plays the dark haired nurse to Freddie in the movie.
Rated PG for thematic elements, language and brief partial nudity
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=65986[/img]While the movie is not 100% perfect, the 2.40:1 AVC encoded image on this Blu-ray is really close to perfection. Sunny and warm, the image oozes with honey colored overtones and lush greens of the football world’s stadiums. The film is set back in the late 60s and despite that almost feels like a 1950s film due to the honey colored overtones and brilliant whites that almost form a halo around people. Colors are heavily saturated as the greens of the grass and the reds and oranges of the Longhorn uniforms pop off the screen. Fine detail is absolutely amazing, with long shots looking only mildly soft (and seemingly intentional too). You can see individual hairs on the hands of players as they slap Freddie on the back during their final game and the texture of the football is so plain that you can see it from a mile away. Blacks are deep and inky, with a mild amount of crush showing up here and there.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=65994[/img]Even though this is a drama, “My All American” is a sports movie first and foremost, and that 5.1 DTS-HD MA track does a number on the listener. The quieter, more dramatic points are not that immersive, but they do showcase some great sounding dialog that is balanced well with the rest of the track. However there is a LOT of field time and that is where the track really takes off. The roar of the crowd and the stamping and crushing of 22 young collegiate men slamming into each other creates a swirling cacophony of sound that just rocks the home theater from top to bottom. Bone crushing bass, aggressive surrounds and a fantastic sense of directionality make “My All American” a great sounding 5.1 track that is not hampered by its low budget one iota.
• The Spirit of Freddie Steinmark
• A Look Inside "My All American"
“My All American” isn’t the strongest of football movies, but it certainly was a lot better than the trailer made it out to be. I enjoyed the 2 hour film and despite feeling the movie was a bit predictable came out cheering for Freddie by the end of the movie. Not everyone will experience the same level of enjoyment due to their love or NON love of football, but it’s a family friendly movie that certainly had me wiping my eyes by the end. Audio and video are nothing to sneeze about, with the only weak link in the chain being the standard lack of extras on modern movies. Definitely worth a fun rental at the very least.
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Robin Tunney, Sarah Bolger
Directed by: Angelo Pizzo
Written by: Angelo Pizzo (Screenplay), Jim Dent (book)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 119 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 23rd 2016
Buy My All American On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Recommended for a Watch
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