Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Movie review: Melodrama trumps moral drama in ‘When the Game Stands Tall’
First Published Aug 21 2014 03:37 pm • Last Updated Aug 25 2014 12:38 pm

Good intentions and narrative overkill collide in "When the Game Stands Tall," a scattershot inspirational sports drama based on the real-life story of football’s longest winning streak.

That streak, 151 games from 1992 to 2004, is held by De La Salle High School, a Catholic school in Concord, Calif., coached by Bob Ladouceur (played by Jim Caviezel). The movie, based on sportswriter Neil Hayes’ book, starts with the end of the streak in 2004 as hardships befall the team, including the shooting death of a college-bound player (Stephan James) and Ladouceur suffering a heart attack.

At a glance


‘When the Game Stands Tall’

Opens Friday, Aug. 22, at theaters everywhere; rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking; 115 minutes.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The script by Scott Marshall Smith, who shares story credit with David Zelon, is compelling when it focuses on the moral lessons learned by Ladouceur and his team in dealing with their first loss in 13 years. Too often, though, the story falls prey to strained melodrama, such as when a star running back (Alexander Ludwig) confronts his trophy-seeking father (Clancy Brown).

Director Thomas Carter ("Coach Carter," "Save the Last Dance") puts his stress on the football action, which packs a visceral punch with hard tackles that will put the theater’s sound system to the test.

movies@sltrib.com; www.sltrib.com/entertainment

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.