[box cover]

Varsity Blues

In West Texas, high school football is not just a sport — it's a religion. It's a world where fathers relive past glories through their sons; where police officers don't dare arrest football players lest they face the coach's wrath; where to be a young man with a letterman's jacket is to be never without the company of young women and six-pack of beer under the counter of the local convenience store. It if sounds great to you, it doesn't to Jonathan "Mox" Moxon (James Van Der Beek), the backup quarterback for the West Caanan High School Coyotes, a young man who spends so much ass-time on the plywood that he often tucks Vonnegut novels into the playbook, biding his time until he receives his Ivy League academic scholarship and a one-way ticket out of West Caanan. But when unforeseen circumstances place Mox in the starting lineup, his free-thinking ways put him at odds with coach Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight), a magnificent asshole who will make his team pay any price as long as it means he will get another district championship. Even with its 'R' rating, Varsity Blues has all the hallmarks of a teen flick, full of horny young kids and teenage angst, but it still manages to deliver up an entertaining two hours. Van Der Beek — in his first film role since gaining national attention on Dawson's Creek — is a well-rounded protagonist, and his gridiron cohorts have just enough vitality and simple-mindedness to be convincing high school jocks. But it is Jon Voight who puts this movie over the top, creating one of the most heartless bastards yet seen on film. Varsity Blues may be aimed at the 13-25 demographic, but every goddam high school coach this writer ever suffered under was just like coach Kilmer, and Voight's performance is bound to strike a nerve with viewers of all ages. Good transfer, DD 5.1, trailer.

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