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Ed Hudgins

"My All American" (movie review)

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"My All American" (movie review)

By Edward Hudgins

November 25, 2015 -- Sports is an arena in which individuals can excel in physical prowess and skill as well as in moral character. Both are on inspirational display in a new film, My All American, based on the true story of University of Texas Longhorns football Coach Darrell Royal (Aaron Eckhart) and star safety Freddie Steinmark (Finn Wittrock).

Making the team

Freddie is a Colorado boy in the 1960s who loves sports. His father (Michael Reilly Burke), a Denver cop, could have been a great athlete if not for an earlier injury. Dad pushes Freddie hard in practice, but this is not some “father and son in conflict” story. Freddie wants to excel! He does so on his high school football team, but because of his short stature, he can’t find a college that will offer him, from a cash-strapped family, a football scholarship.

But his high school coach calls him to the attention of Coach Royal who is determined to turn his Longhorns from mediocrities into champions. Freddie is flown to Austin with teammate Bobby Mitchell, who really is the big guy with the seemingly better chance of making the team. But Royal has seen films of Freddie playing. He thinks that this tough and determined young man is just what his team needs. He offers both Freddie and Bobby scholarships. When Freddie returns to Colorado and tells his father the news, we see the love and pride of a parent on full display.

Making of champions

Training in Texas is grueling. Coach Royal explains that “Football doesn’t build character. It eliminates the weak.” The film follows Freddie, a rising defensive star, and his teammates as they attempt to win their way to a national championship.

It also follows Coach Royal’s attempt to use a new offensive strategy, the triple option, as a path to victories. For non-football fans, think of the game as a very physical version of chess. Strategy and judgment count. Are his players smart enough as well as strong enough to pull it off?... (Continue reading here.)

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