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Site created 12/15/97.


review added: 3/1/00



Varsity Blues
1999 (1999) - Paramount

review by Brad Pilcher of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Varsity Blues Film Rating: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A-/C-

Specs and Features

104 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer, film-themed menu screens, scene access (20 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 and 2.0) & French (DD 2.0), subtitles: none, Closed Captioned


"You're under arrest for not being naked - take off your clothes and get in the car!"

If you've ever been to Texas, you know a few things. But if you know anything, you know that, in the lone star state, football IS a religion. Now if there was ever a movie that captured that religion, Varsity Blues is it.

From top to bottom, this movie is solid. Quality performances are turned in by everyone, and Jon Voight leads the way as Coach Bud Kilmer. It's rare that a movie is so well scripted and well acted, that each character bonds with you emotionally. In the end, the audience appreciates each individual as much for their good qualities as their flaws. In a film that is so much about the people involved, there is nothing more you could ask for.

I remember back in high school, I thought how shallow and stupid so many of the jocks were, and I WAS a football player! This film illuminates all of that, but instead of shooting for the "let's take advantage of the jock stereotype" approach, the story goes further. You come away with an understanding of what motivates these people. If it sounds like I'm talking about a documentary, it's because the characters are so well depicted.

On the technical side of the equation, the video and audio on this DVD is top-notch. The anamorphic transfer really brings out the color scheme (which is an integral part of the movie's style). The blues are crisp, and the Texan vistas are done to perfection. Little grain could be found, and it did have to be found. Sound-wise, the crushes, crunches, twists and snaps all came through. The soundtrack is a powerful mix of current rock and it is placed in perfect balance to the atmosphere of gridiron battle.

Where the disc fails is on the extras side of things. Aside from a quality theatrical trailer, there is nothing (not even subtitles). You get no cast and crew bios. There's not a single shred of behind-the-scenes footage to be found. Nada! The theatrical trailer featured some footage not seen in the film. Where was that!?

This is a very good movie, and well-worth getting on this disc. But it's unfortunate to see what could have been a stellar release mired by a lack of extras. Even a little bonus material could have put this into the must-buy pile, but instead it comes off as an average release of an above-average film. Still, if you love football, you'll love the ending to this film.

Brad Pilcher
bradpilcher@thedigitalbits.com




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