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Varsity Blues

264 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In small-town Texas, high school football is a religion. The head coach is deified, as long as the team is winning and 17-year-old schoolboys carry the hopes of an entire community onto the gridiron every Friday night. In his 35th year as head coach, Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight) is trying to lead his West Canaan Coyotes to their 23rd division title. When star quarterback Lance Harbor (Paul Walker) suffers an injury, the Coyotes are forced to regroup under the questionable leadership of John Moxon (James Van Der Beek), a second-string quarterback with a slightly irreverent approach to the game. "Varsity Blues" explores our obsession with sports and how teenage athletes respond to the extraordinary pressures places on them.

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This MTV-produced drama only looks like an adaptation of H.G. Bissinger's expert dissertation of the church of high school football, Friday Night Lights. The energetic, breezy movie has none of the seriousness of Bissinger's book except on its basic level: in West Texas, high school football is life. Into this world comes Jonathan "Mox" Moxon (James Van Der Beek), a brainy, uncharacteristic jock who sits on the sideline reading Slaughterhouse Five until the West Caanan High School Coyotes All-Texas QB goes down with an injury. Suddenly the spotlight and the tyrannical ways of coach Bud Kilmer (another ace evil turn by Jon Voight) are on Mox and the light is white-hot. There have been several films that show tough, honest kids doing their best against the worst of small-town coaches (Tom Cruise in All the Right Moves, for one) but Varsity Blues, in its glossy style, takes a more curious turn: studying what happens when celebrity comes to the well-adjusted high schooler. Mox starts seeing the rewards of stardom: a six-pack under the counter, acceptance in school, even easy sex from the girl who goes after the starting quarterback (Ali Larter). Will Mox win the big game? Will he bend to the wills of his coach? Will he stay with his old girlfriend? The questions are easy enough to answer, but the film has an ace up its sleeve: Van Der Beek has the stuff to carry the movie. Fans of TV's Dawson's Creek will see a slightly grittier dreamboat here, and Van Der Beek's care with the role makes the most ludicrous parts--including a trip to a strip club--manage a certain aura. --Doug Thomas


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Product Details

  • Actors: James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight, Paul Walker, Ron Lester, Scott Caan
  • Directors: Brian Robbins
  • Writers: W. Peter Iliff
  • Producers: Brian Robbins, David Gale, Elysa Koplovitz Dutton, Herb Gains, Martin Wiley
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: May 31, 1999
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000J11Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,890 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Varsity Blues" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jon E. Murphy on July 9, 2006
Format: DVD
The movie is based on a "piece" of everyone's life, in some small way, who have ever played football. Does it matter that HS kids get in a strip club and drink till 6:00am ? "NO" Does it matter that Hoss is sitting on a tailgate, drinking Jack like its water ... and shooting a shotgun, with the HS Football Field lights on ? "NOOOOO" !!!!

It is "Rocky" + "Friday Night Lights" + "Rudy" + "Stand By Me" = Varisty Blues.

If you played football, or ever hung out with the guys after a game, or ever LAUGHED at the guys who couldn't leave HS even after they graduated 9 years ago ... Then buy the movie, its worth it, and the soundtrack ROCKS !!!!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By D. Mikels on January 9, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
When I first saw this film, I hated it. I could not find a single likeable character in the movie: the backup quarterback who couldn't seem to make up his mind whether to be ambivalent or committed to football; an obsessed, fanatical head coach; shallow, self-absorbed, hedonistic jocks; a whipped cream cheerleader; a little brother with an identity crisis; and moronic football dads wanting to do nothing more than live vicariously through their sons. Outside of a headbanging soundtrack and sensational football action, I was anything but impressed with VARSITY BLUES.
Then I caught the film on cable recently, and watched it. Then I rented it, and watched it again. Perhaps I had been too judgmental my first viewing: VARSITY BLUES was slowly but surely revealing itself to me as a very entertaining movie. I came to appreciate Jonathan "Mox" Moxon (James Van Der Beek), a second string quarterback with aspirations to go to an Ivy League college suddenly thrust into the spotlight of his west Texas town as the new starting signal caller. I came to loathe Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight), the epitome of the abusive, cruel, vindictive, win-at-all-costs head football coach. I came to enjoy the small town "feel" of this film, where high school football players are placed on a pedestal and allowed to run wild. And what can you say about Billy Bob (Ron Lester) and Tweeder (Scott Caan), other than these two raunchy characters flavor this movie whenever they appear like onions in Texas chili?
Setting aside a hopelessly unrealistic player revolt (Where were the other coaches to take over when Kilmer left?), director Brian Robbins furnishes fast-moving, high-octane football scenes guaranteed to make those of us who have played the game (and still love it) want to strap on the pads again. VARSITY BLUES is less than perfect, like a six-pack of warm beer, but still satisfying to the last drop.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 1999
Format: DVD
Okay. It ma y appear that I am overreacting with giving this movie five stars. The critics didn't care for it. Most parents probably won't like it either. What we have here is basically a 90s verion of the 1980s classic "Johnny Be Good". This one was also reemed hard by the critics. They don't seem to realize the significance of a film like this. They aren't teenagers and the movie is not aimed to please them. It is aimed at people around my age "18" who enjoy watching movies that they can relate too. Since I enjoy just about every movie from Sling Blade to The Toxic Avenger, I found Varsity Blues to be very entertaining and heart felt. I did not play football in high school (acting is my trade) ,but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It is deeper than just football and sex. It shows teenage life and the everyday pressures that fall on our shoulders. It also makes for a great date flick. You don't have to keep glued to it to really undestand what is going on. If you ask me, it's worth owning. It has the endless replay value of Back to the Future and you will never get bored. The Texan accents are pretty good too. I would have to say the funniest scene is where Scott Caan Steals the cop car and goes parading around town naked with a bunch of girls.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 1999
Format: DVD
This highschool football drama is another teen flick to be added to the list of successful highschool pictures over the last few years - She's All That, Cruel Intentions, Scream. This film is beyond enjoyable, for the guys there's testosterone, the forever remembered whip cream bikini scene, a hot strip club scen where the lead boys meet a familiar face and the looks of leading ladies Amy Smart and Ali Larter. For the girls there's James Van Der Beek (moving away from his Dawson character), Paul Walker (a blonde haired, blue eyed football stud) and Scott Caan (who bares all in another memorable moment). The flick follows Johnathan "Mox" Moxon (Van Der Beek) who has been a second string football player for a vast amount of the season, that is until town favourite Lance Harbour (Walker) is injured and it's Mox's turn to be the star quarterback. Also in the team, is the emmensly obeise Billy Bob (Ron Lester), party animal and sexually active Tweeder (Caan - who livens up the movie) and coloured player Wendell (Eliel Swinton) who believes he doesnt get the playing exposure he deserves because of his race. The only thing stopping the boys from having fun is hard hitting coach Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight). By the end of the film, each character evolves and as usual Kilmer gets what he deserves. The film is funny, touching, sexy and sport-packed for a night's entertainment that'll last long after this film is finished
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