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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Documentary
This is a very, very well put together documentary about the seriousness of football in small town Ohio. The movie follows the senior season for three star football players from Massollin (Washington) High School, located one hour from Cleveland. The lives of the players off the field are also presented quite realistically, with discussions of teenage drinking, high...
Published on September 29, 2001 by K. Daman

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars hometown
I grew up in massillon ohio. it was where i was born and raised. while i may not like football, and i may not have succumbed to the hysteria surrounding the massillon/mckinley games, i loved being there. and i would just like to say in defense of my hometown, this movie was hyped beyond belief. everything in it is rather exagerated. yes, some of those people are...
Published on January 23, 2006 by NL4


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Documentary, September 29, 2001
By 
K. Daman "kydamans" (Lexington, KY United States) - See all my reviews
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This is a very, very well put together documentary about the seriousness of football in small town Ohio. The movie follows the senior season for three star football players from Massollin (Washington) High School, located one hour from Cleveland. The lives of the players off the field are also presented quite realistically, with discussions of teenage drinking, high school partying, college aspirations, failed ACT's, etc.
Having grown up in small town Kentucky, where basketball is king, I could relate to many of the issues illuminated during the movie. The intensity of the coaches, fans, principal and school superintendent was expected. The language, locker room shouting, recruiting allegations, and other pregame activity is not surprising. What was a bit disturbing is that the football players are placed under a great deal of pressure to "save the community" due to the financial woes of the school system. (Considering the money that is poured into this program, it is a small wonder that the school system is in financial jeopardy!)
If you enjoyed "Hoop Dreams," you will love this movie. It is rated "R," for good reason, but both men and women will find it engaging.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grrrrrrrrr 8, September 29, 2006
This review is from: Go Tigers! (DVD)
Go Tigers! is a wonderful, and wonderfully deceptive, movie. When viewed casually it flies by like an NFL highlights reel, slick, glossy, beautifully photographed, and expertly edited. These are universally familiar images, the great touchdown pass, the banks of lights, players banging into each other in testosterone-fueled euphoric celebration. Then you stop to remember. This is a documentary about high school football, and even more importantly, precisely what high school football means in Massillon, Ohio. (Turns out it determines the future of the school system!)

Go Tigers! is the brainchild of Ken Carlson, he wrote, directed, and produced - and, as luck would have it, he's from Massillon. This makes his achievement even more remarkable because the one attribute that dominates this movie is how even-handed and fair it is.

Movies in this genre fall into two groups, either they are love-struck anthems honoring the virtues of sportsmanship and its inspiring way of embodying all that is noble about life - or - they are supercilious indictments of the anti-intellectual hod-carriers and Neanderthals that brutalize each other instead of pursuing worthwhile activities - translating Proust into Sanskrit for example.

Massillon, Ohio is football crazy by any standard, but Carlson never takes cheap shots, he doesn't laugh at his subject, nor does he idealize it, he simply presents it. This is the very hard work of a documentary, and Carlson succeeds.

Where Friday Night Lights gave us a grotesque portrait of the psychological, and physical, damage done by football mania in Texas, Go Tigers! calmly introduces us to a funeral director presenting the "Obie Special," a deluxe coffin souped up to warm the cold dead heart of even the most rabid Tigers fan. The film counts on you to do the math for yourself.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kenneth Carlson's, Go Tigers., September 2, 2002
By 
This review is from: Go Tigers! (DVD)
"Go Tigers." A film that follows the lives of three high school football players through an eventful season. Although there is an exciting football story line, the main focus is on the people in the town of Massillon.
Director Kenneth Carlson does an excellent job of showing us the true meaning of "small town" America. Massillon is a town that is consumed by football, and it is made obvious to the film-goer with the shots of the town covered in "Tiger" signs and banners. There are many memorable scenes including the Tiger Lady and the soon-to-be-classic Bulldog Scene.
The cinematography in "Go Tigers" was great. The soundtrack of "Go Tigers" included a subtle underscore and the gripping music of Moby. During the final credits, the song "Friday Nights" by Katrina Carlson was a fitting end to a great documentation of Friday night football.
"Go Tigers" is a perfect blend of hard hitting sports documentation and gripping human interest. Whether you've heard of the Massillon Tigers or not, you'll enjoy this film. The players will grow on you and you will root for them to succeed. I highly recommend this film and the people in the town of Massillon should be proud of this film.
After seeing Go Tigers, I am looking forward to Director Kenneth Carlson's next film. DG
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two thumbs up for "Go Tigers", November 14, 2004
This review is from: Go Tigers! (DVD)
The documentary film maker, Kenneth Carlson, succeeds in building his comedy of manners toward a dramatic conclusion. This documentary is a comedy in the sense "Go Tigers" has a happy ending, the main characters' situations in life improve throughout the film and the film is generally sunny though there are dark undercurrents to life in the city of Massillon, Ohio.

"Go Tigers" is not about the game of football, it is about the effect of the game on a small town. Massillon is barely a city and its ~30,000 people maintain a high school football stadium for 15,000+ people with a professional quality field and sports plant. The Massillon High School is a football factory and the film follows three players and selected family members through an undefeated season.

There are some fantastic sequences of football that overshadow current U of A play because these boys are so consistently good. The game sequences gloss over the details of play, showing over the top fans, the band, parents of the central characters, cutting in and out to fantastic plays. That is why I say it is not "about" football because, while the score board and play boards are shown there is minimal coverage of rules, technique, field position or strategy.

Locker room half time pep talks are given center stage. The locker room scenes feature pointless rants and strings of obscenity by the players interspersed by level headed coaching and inspirational sermons by all Massillon's denominations. The team always comes out energized by this motivation.

Massillon is NOT a wealthy city, so a theme is "where does the money come from"? The choices made by citizens are a plot thread that runs through the lives of three players and their families. You'll need to see the film if you want to know more.

I will say, the strength and conditioning coach is an awesome, professional caliber athlete. There is an all too brief walk on part by an opposing team's mascots who are fall down laughing funny.

The film covers town darkness, but not with a great deal of emphasis. For example, the live tiger cub mascot mauls a small child in front of his mother. The film maker is not blatant about the subtle points that are made about Massillon.

My one criticism of "Go Tigers" is that this film is 20 minutes too long. It lingers over several football games in way too much detail, but at the same time not enough. The games are covered in a superficial way without enough reference to play to make the games interesting. Excited fans don't move the plot forward and you see them over and over and over and....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great high school football, July 24, 2005
This review is from: Go Tigers! (DVD)
I thought this movie was great. I love watching high school football or just football in all. This shows what OHIO high school football is all about. Not Texas, Not Florida, and Not California. It shows how strong the community and schools in ohio are when it comes to there football. Ohio is one of the top 4 recruiting states for college programs and this film is one reason why. If you like watching or playing high school football or any level of football i believe u will enjoy this film. Even if your not a Buckeye!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I hate Football....I love this movie!!, April 14, 2005
This review is from: Go Tigers! (DVD)
Not to bemoan the people of small town america but i'm glad I had the good fortune to grow up in a big city. Seeing the insane obession of people who live there lives for high school football is hilarous! If you love football and are from a small town, you'll root through the whole film, if you don't live in a small town and don't care for football, you'll chuckle through most of it. I recommend watching "Hands on a Hard Body" after seeing this, another great doc.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest, July 3, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Go Tigers! (DVD)
I've seen this movie, it's the best documentary, because it happened at my school and my senior year! If you love football you'll love this movie!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must see., September 6, 2002
By 
Mark Lowry (Manhattan Beach, Ca USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Go Tigers! (DVD)
"Go Tigers" is a fantastic, beautifully filmed and edited documentary about the most intense high school football program in the nation. A must see for any high school football fan and those interested in the underlying social commentary about American youth sports programs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific documentary on high school football, June 7, 2004
This review is from: Go Tigers! (DVD)
I bought this DVD in part because it was recommended to me by a fellow fan of H.G. Bissinger's magnificent book, "Friday Night Lights" who described this documentary as "FNL in movie form."
While I still found it inferior to FNL, "Go Tigers" is a suberb documentary in the vein of "Hoop Dreams."
Go Tigers follows the Massillon High School Tigers football team through the 1999 season. The Tigers are a legendary team in the state of Ohio. In fact, in 1951, a newsreel was put together chronicling the enormous success of the program - "11 state championships in the last 15 seasons, more college players and captains than any other school in the nation, etc." However, in 1998, the Tigers were a lackluster 4-6, a losing record almost unheard of in the program's long and storied history. The 1999 Tigers are not only playing to recapture the respect due their inheritance, but to convince the citizens of Massillon to approve a school levy that will bring in much needed funds to their deteriorating school. The players, coaches, boosters, parents, and everyone else associated with the team understands that the riding on the success of their team is not only community pride and bragging rights, but perhaps the fate of their school and thus, their football program as well.
The documentary mostly focuses on the Tigers' tri-captains: Their star quarterback, middle linebacker, and defensive tackle. These three are the core of the team, and on their young shoulders ride the hopes and dreams of an entire community.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly well-done and interesting documentary., February 14, 2003
By 
This review is from: Go Tigers! (DVD)
I live in a town that I considered to be big on high school sports. I was wrong. This film portrays a town controlled by football so incredibly well. It shows harsh and brutal reality, as well as unpredictability and compassion. This film follows the people of Massilon, Ohio, a town where the Massilon High School Tigers football team rules everything. It wonderfully portrays the people and the lifestyles of the town. The film follows the three team captain, the coach and lots of random other towns people. This documentary brings up big questions about whether sports are more important than education, social and ecemonical classes, high school "recruiting" and tax payers views on levy's to save the school. This team is so popular in this town that all the money from the school system is pumped into the football program. You play football or care about football or become an outcast. There are pep rallies every week, stores devoted completely to the team and they even have an actual tiger for their mascot. But with this football program being so big, the school is beginning to fail. A levy is proposed to help fix them, but with the tigers coming off of a 4-6 losing season, it seems impossible to pass a levy without having an awesome season. This documentarian has entered into this project not knowing the outcome and has made a brilliant film otu of it. This is a must see for nearly anyone. It is highly enjoyable, funny, suspenseful and dramatic. I loved it.
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Go Tigers!
Go Tigers! by Kenneth A. Carlson (DVD - 2002)
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