When the Game Stands Tall is the true story of Coach Bob Ladouceur (pronounced "lah-da-ser") who coached the De La Salle high school football time for 25+ years and led them to a 151-game winning streak. I love movies based on true stories, as well as inspirational sports films, and this combination of those genres was great.
Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) is in the midst of "The Streak" - 151 wins for De La Salle, over about a ten year period - until, at the start of the 2004 football season, he's suddenly not: the team loses their first game. The players and seniors, especially, are understandably upset, but Ladouceur is not: to him, it's more of making "a perfect effort" than winning every game. Two games later, the team starts winning again, and there's talk of another "streak" starting to take hold, which Ladouceur doesn't like; freshman and sophomores at the school are even starting to dream of the number the streak will be up to when they're juniors and seniors (33 games, at most). The coach must decide if he will stay at De La Salle - a job he's comfortable in and very good at - or take one of the many college football coaching positions that he has been offered.
This star-studded cast definitely helped keep the quality of the film high. Jim Caviezel plays the legendary coach, with Michael Chiklis as his assistant, and Laura Dern as his wife. I also recognized Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games) as one of the main football players. It was fun that this also took place from 2003-2004, as well, because I was in high school during that time; it was funny to see the players wearing varsity jackets that say '04 and '05 on them, since I graduated in '05 (and had one as well).
Yes, definitely see this movie, and stay through the credits, because real footage of the team and the coach is shown. Caviezel actually bears a striking resemblance to Bob Ladouceur, and I could see why they chose him for the role. De La Salle must be a private or Catholic school, as well, because we see religion weaved in to the movie in certain spots, and most of the players seemed devout. I joked on Twitter that "I'm starting to like football movies more than actual football" and it's true: I love movies that fictionalize and amp up the scenes where they're playing the game, and When the Game Stands Tall is a great example of this.
When the Game Stands Tall is in theaters today, August 22nd, and is rated PG with a runtime of 115 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.