John Hanlon

It’s corny moments like that that prevent this film from truly rising to the level of being a great sports film but what the feature lacks in dialogue, it makes up for with a noble heart that consistently steers it back on course. Despite their struggles, the team never loses its faith in God or its compassion. And when they become too selfish and vain, the reverend-like coach brings them to a veteran’s hospital to volunteer.

It’s there that the team wakes up to some of life’s harsher realities and realizes that the aches one feels on the field are nothing compared to the pain one feels during war. They realize that the struggles they face after a loss can’t come close to what veterans feel when their fellow soldiers are injured or killed.

It’s difficult to love a film like When the Game Stands Tall. The movie takes several notable missteps along the way with a few strange tonal shifts. But it’s also hard not to appreciate its heart and its love for the players who are open with their feelings and ultimately realize that there are more important things in life than setting records and scoring goals.

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John Hanlon

John Hanlon writes movie reviews and about pop culture for our site. He can be found on Twitter @johnhanlon.