Sources tell Variety that the movie is not a sequel to Universal’s 2004 film starring Billy Bob Thornton, nor is it based on NBC’s TV series with Kyle Chandler. Instead, it’s a new property, though still focused H.G. Bissinger’s non-fiction book about the 1988 Permian High School Panthers as the new Texas football team makes a run towards the state championship.
I’m pretty up-to-date when it comes to movie announcements. I follow many social media accounts for the latest updates in casting, trailers, and announcements. It’s rare for something to slip through the cracks on my watch.
Folks, I am here to say that this slipped through the cracks.
Friday Night Lights is both an iconic movie and television show. You can argue either way as to which one is better, but both are universally acclaimed. The film is one of the best football and sports movies ever made. The film gave us the electric Booby Miles, the play “I-right wiggle, 34 switchblade,” and an accurate representation of what high school football means to communities throughout the country.
In turn, the television show might be one of the best dramas of the 21st century. In fact, I will take it one step further and say that the pilot is in the top 10 for greatest pilots ever made. The biggest difference between the movie and the television show were the audiences who consumed the product. The film is catered more to football players while the television show encompasses a more general and larger audience. From the all-star marriage of Coach Eric Taylor and Tami Taylor to the icon that is Tim Riggins, the five seasons of FNL were one of the most enjoyable binges I ever experienced.
So that brings me to this news about “reimagining” the movie. If the new movie is based on the original book, what is there left to reimagine? Making a film about Texas high school football has been done multiple times already. What stories are there left to tell? If I’m writing the movie, I’m setting it in a different state with new, original characters with unique stories to tell. Perhaps Friday Night Lights in California or an inner city is the story that will bring in new viewers.
Despite my concerns, I can’t pass up high school football movies. I will easily see this on the first weekend. Here’s to making another cult classic.
Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.