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WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL

          

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014

Of all the titles released in movie theaters this year, none is as awkward as "When the Game Stands Tall" (PG), which has just been released on Blu-ray and DVD. But few films reach the heights achieved by this one, combining a true story, stirring drama and a sincere but never cloying message of faith.

Even during a year with a surprising number of religious-themed movies, this one tops them all.

Neither religion nor faith overwhelms "When the Game Stands Tall," but it's a central theme, implied throughout, and in the end, validated.

At the center is the true story of high school football coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel), who led his team to a remarkable winning streak of 151 straight games through the 1992-2003 seasons.

          

Jim Caviezel as Bob Ladouceur, coaching the team.

Caviezel is great in the lead role and receives terrific support from Michael Chiklis as his assistant coach, with Laura Dern as his supportive wife and myriad young actors that shine as the players.

Once again it seems that movies have to go with a sports theme to come up with a strong film about love and family and honor, and with a PG rating that suggests it's a family-friendly endeavor.

         

Laura Dern, Jim Caviezel, 'When the Game Stands Tall'

The film begins in earnest, however, with the end of that streak and a tragedy that sends the team spiraling. But this is a movie with more on its mind, demonstrated with a subtlety that is used all too seldom these days.

It's a shame Hollywood can't get outside that genre for more of the same — but at this point we'll take our uplifting movies where we can find them.