Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"To me, being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It's not about winning....

It's about you and your relationship to yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn't let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything that you could, there wasn't one more thing you could've done. Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, and love in your heart? With joy in your heart. If you can do that gentlemen, then you're perfect."

The Philadelphia Film Festival is going on from now until Monday, November 3rd and last night I got the opportunity to see the film Friday Night Lights. After the screening, there was a Q&A with director Peter Berg and H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger, who wrote the book on which the movie was based, moderated by WIP radio host Glen Macnow. I thought I would share some of this experience with you.

I have to say, and I think I have said this before, I did not like the movie the first time I saw it. I watched it when I was in college and I just do not think that my taste in movies at the time was developed enough to enjoy it, if that makes any sense. And, even though I knew that it was based on a true story, the ending really irritated me at the time. I liked the movie much better after the second viewing. Knowing how it ended and understanding the pace and tone of the film from having watched the TV show really helped a lot. It is not your typical light-hearted sports movie, it is actually more realistic and genuine. If you have not already seen it, I highly recommend checking it out because it excellent.

If you are a fan of the TV show but have not seen the movie, you will see a few cameos. For starters, Connie Britton plays the coach's wife in both, although they are different characters. You also see Brad Leland aka Buddy Garrity as one of the Boosters and Timothy F. Crowley aka Coach Crowley as one of the referees in the championship game.

During the Q&A after the film, Berg and Bissinger talked about a number of things, including the potential new Friday Night Lights movie. To clarify for those of you who do not know, the original movie is based on the book with all the real names of people in Odessa, Texas. The TV show is based on the movie and has a few similar storylines, but uses completely different characters and takes place in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas. The new movie would be about Coach Eric Taylor and his wife Tami from the TV show and pick up where the show left off. Berg explained that a script is being written by Jason Katims, but that is no guarantee a movie will actually be made.

They talked about how Bissinger did a lot of research on the town of Odessa, and the state of Texas in general, for the book and Berg did even more for the movie. When the book came out in 1990, it did not go over well with everyone in Odessa and Buzz even got a few death threats. However, both men explained that it was not their intention to make fun of people or make them look stupid, they simply wanted to capture the culture of Texas Football which, from what I can tell, they definitely accomplished.

Bissinger also talked about how out of control fame in this country has gotten. One of the football players that is featured in the movie, James "Boobie" Miles, was a star player in high school, which means he had his homework done for him, he was given the answers to all his tests and he was even paid by the Boosters for every game in which he played. When he did not get the chance to play football in college, he had absolutely nothing else to fall back on because no one even cared that he never learned how to read. Over the past 20 years, Miles has been in and out of prison, cannot hold down a job but, because he was portrayed in this movie, still gets asked for his autograph when walking through the mall.

Berg and Bissinger were both smart and interesting and had a lot to say about their crafts. One thing that I did not know was that they are actually cousins. Their dynamic was really funny and they mostly made fun of each other all night. Bissinger even joked that if Berg was not in show business he would probably be in jail. Berg is currently working on re-shoots for his upcoming movie Battleship and Bissinger has a new book called Father's Day that is coming out soon. It was a great night and I am really grateful that I got a chance to be there.

Unforunately, I do not think I will have time to see any of the other festival films, but if you do, please let me know what you saw and what you thought of it!