Movie Review: Varsity Blues

Varsity_Blues_(1999_film)_posterTo do a classic review of Varsity Blues seems silly, for every reason. Instead, take a quick trip down memory lane with me, enjoy Varsity Blues as if I were watching it with you and appreciate all my sarcasm and wit!

My notes don’t cover the plot so as a quick refresher.  High School Texas football is like a religious experience for most. Some pursue the great escape, but most are happy to revel in the limelight that is a state title. This makes state title winning coaches into Gods. This is the story about when the players turned against the God. That sounds way more complex than it is, trust me, this is no Any Given Sunday/Hamlet comparative piece.

220px-MTV_Films_Logo-Remember when it was a big deal that MTv was doing films? Me neither. THIS is an MTv film, I totally forgot that!1

-The grand musical score and very block form credits framed around the Texas state flag make this seem like as classic and American product as the 4th of July, when in reality its as knock off and American as Cinco de Mayo.

-I know that voice over voice, its Dawson! Are we going to the creek instead of West Texas? Dawson tells us its about winning at all costs. The tone is very heavy early on for MTv, for Dawson, for America, the preview was so much fun!

-So the end of the intro credits have the 4 major characters walking away from the camera as youths in their pee-wee jerseys. Super cliche, but I wish I had a similar video of me and my friends.

-So as Billy Bob is picking those 4 main characters up we see them all come out of their houses with book bags, but not Dawson who we are supposed to believe is the smartest kid in school. Hmmmm. Early continuity problems.

-A pig named bacon, now I’m hungry.

download-Young Paul Walker! The enormous sign on his front lawn indicates he is the best QB in the state of Texas and definitely better than Tony Romo. Oh poor Romo that was a cheap shot, he wasn’t even in the league in 1999.

-Paul Walker is dead these days, so much for the sequel/remake in about 10 more years.

-As Green Day’s “Nice Guys Finish Last” blasts through the speakers Tweeder talks about pig fucking. If only there were another 90’s anthem about pig fucking that would have been a better choice. Oh wait there was.

-Ali Larter is dressed as a cheerleader! Somehow she wears less later. This is not a complaint.

-Paul Walker doesn’t have a lot of moments anymore or is this movie. This speech before the entire school is really it.

-Dawson and Amy Smart, his girlfriend and younger sister of superstar QB Paul Walker, both hate Texas High School football and how it dominates life.

-Sleeveless Dawson! Sleeveless Joey would be better, but she is not in this movie.

-Some sort of pain reliever is being shot into Paul Walker’s leg. To the best of my knowledge this is way outside the bounds in Massachusetts, maybe its not in Texas, but I sure as fuck hope it is.

-QB power sweep, Billy Bob pulls and in being the lead blocker gets a concussion. Concussions were such a joke he is treated with smelling salts and the concussion protocol is administered by Dawson, a player on the team, not the trainer, who is standing RIGHT THERE!

-Our first play at the race card as Angelina Jolie’s dad (Jon Voight) calls the stereotypical black running back “boy”.

-These after high school parties in Texas seem pretty fucking epic and over the top and as everyone knows about them, including the adults, and no one cares because they are celebrating a win.

paul-in-varsity-blues-paul-walker-19058648-500-281-Paul Walker has a full ride to football powerhouse Florida State, Ali Larter wants to go to Florida State so she decides to be his wide receiver. Get it? No? She’s gonna fuck him. I’ve never met a girl who wanted her vagina referred to as wide, but hey they are doing it on the dryer and doesn’t heat expand things?

wooderson-There is an old creepy guy from the class of 1980, who still wears his football letterman’s jacket, at this party. Its like they took Matthew McConaughey from Dazed and Confused and found a way to make him creepier!

-Billy Bob is drinking boilermakers very heavily after getting his concussion. I did that once. In the mosh pit at a Mighty Mighty Bosstones show I was dropped on my head, continued to drink my face off and then puked for about 2 days. I’ve done dumber things, but not by much.

-Billy Bob pukes, in the washer, right next the dryer, where Paul Walker is doing Ali Larter in her wide vagina. Ali Larter in a bra! Its a wonder she bothered to wear clothes at all in this movie! Billy Bob pukes and rallies, another sub-par idea.

-Dawson starts changing the plays sending Pacey on post routes instead of running the ball. Angelina Jolie’s dad reams him out and sends him back to the bench as Paul Walker’s back up. Part of the above statement is entirely fictional.

-Dawson and Paul Walker’s dads are having a “whose dick is bigger” contest about who’s son is the better QB. They are all calling out Dawson for not wanting to participate. His mom appears to be the only positively supporting Dawson, but she is so shit faced I’m not sure she doesn’t have a concussion. In the William Tell esq, knock the beer can off the dad’s head contest Dawson breaks his dads nose.

-Close up on penis diagrams and then a very hot teacher, complete with the glasses, starts teaching sex education. If this isn’t a movie cliche it should be. Although no one teaches sex ed. better than John Cleese.

-Teacher starts with the ole “Penis, Penis, Penis, Vagina, Vagina, Vagina.” trick. Ali Larter is not in this class.

varsity-blues-”Boner is good!” This teacher is extremely quotable. And you thought I just wanted to look at her as the cliche. Hell no, the level of tawdriness that we as a culture have developed around sex makes scenes where teens and adults have to talk about sex provides for seemingly limitless awkward comedy that when properly channeled provides minutes of entertainment!

-The monologue Dawson took the movie for where he just lists different names for the penis. Its the monologue that helps him start to lose the good boy Dawson image. It worked so well I haven’t used his real character name once in this review and I don’t intend to.

-Billy Bob is in bad shape, so bad he passes out in the middle of class.

jv-Angelina Jolie’s dad overrides the nurses decision about Billy Bob telling him he has to play.

-Billy Bob looks bad on the sideline holding an oxygen mask to his face. Angelina Jolie’s dad puts him in the game anyway. Its obvious he has no business being in the game, but the Coyotes trail.

-Billy Bob passes out. And it totally should have been a false start that would have blown the play dead. Paul Walker gets sacked, his knee is crushed, he starts screaming in pain. He gets carted off. No one cares how Billy Bob is.

-Dawon is now the QB. 1 minute, 9 seconds left, the Coyotes trailing by 4. We all knew that was going to happen right?

-Dawson throws a bomb to Tweeder for a huge gain. The Coyotes have a chance!

-A football clock play spikes the ball to stop the clock. Dawson throws the ball at the opposing mascot, knocking him down for his clock play. It technically wastes a second, but its a funny running gag so its ok that its totally football inaccurate. /sarcasm

-Dawson calls a throwback to himself. He scores! They win!

-Paul Walker tore every ligament in his knee. The surgeon isn’t even sure how he was playing because of how much old damage he can see during the initial surgery. Angelina Jolie’s dad claims to know nothing about it.

hqdefault-Ali Larter reads the writing on the wall and knows that Paul Walker is a dead man as a football player. She leaves the hospital with Dawson and changes her clothes in his car on the ride to the after football party. So we have seen Ali Larter have significant dialogue in like 3 scenes and she is twice in her bra and once in a cheerleader top. After this movie I had Ali Larter and her wide vagina pegged for the Poison Ivy((Totally underrated!)) series not Heroes.

-Ali Larter doesn’t use a clever football pun in trying to lure Dawson into the sack. She should have. Or offered anal.

-The amount of alcohol and the activities at this party are very impressively similar to the parties we had just after I left high school.

"Ua Hiki Mai Kapalena Pau"-Tweeder steals a police car, drives to Hawaii and becomes a member of the Five-0 with Jin from Lost.

-Dawson goes to a store to buy a soda and gets given a warm, free 6-pack of beer and the town wonders why Tweeder would steal a police car.

-If MTv was supposed to bring anything to the table in terms of movie making shouldn’t have been music? So far this soundtrack sucks.

-Angelina Jolie’s dad overhears the Sheriff talking about how the players stole a police car, and Angelina Jolie’s dad tells him to take his concerns and shove it.

-Dawson dominates the next game and likes football again.

-As the sex ed teacher is driving away Dawson comments about how nice a car it is on a teacher’s salary.

-Dawson is randomly interviewed for the radio and sounds like a cliched dumb jock referring to himself in the 3rd person and thanks God.

-Seriously this soundtrack sucks. I have a music degree, I would  know.

-Dawson calls “hook and ladder left”, Billy Bob doesn’t know the play. When the play is explained to him though he knows he isn’t an eligible receiver. More football inaccuracies.

-Angelina Jolie’s dad calls out Billy Bob, when Billy Bob says his head is foggy he is reprimanded.

-Ali Larter asks Dawson what time he is coming over on ½ price gun club night!

-Dawson soliloquy. Don’t worry this isn’t any version of Shakespeare.

-Dawson shows up @ Ali Larter’s house. Her first question is if he wants whipped cream on his ice cream sunday. Are they going to do whip its?

ali-larter-varsity-blues5-sports-movies-taking-it-to-the-man-general-tsos-revenge-cqsi42dc-No whip its, Ali Larter walks out wearing nothing but a whipped cream bikini, a 1000 wet dreams were born and spank banks were filled.

-Ali Larter’s character is a really poorly written version of who Tyra Collette exemplified on the Friday Night Lights tv series.

-Dawson is planning something and in talking to the stereotypical black running back is made aware that he is the “black work horse”. Dawson never realized it, never having dealt with the racism at the creek.

-Amy Smart sleeveless!

-How many teens mixed percocet, vicodin, and beers to “make the panites drop” and killed someone as a result of the movie? Talked about missed class action lawsuit potential.

-Everyone has to meet Dawson at the mini mart at 10 because Goonies never say die.

-Amy Smart, sadly now with sleeves, dumping Dawson.

-Seriously fucking awful soundtrack.

tSquaASl50dm1cyyT7mgwPnxTcT-So 5 high school kids get into a strip club and are served booze on the house all night. Does this really happen in Texas?

-The Big Ole Billy Bob starts stripping at the strip club.

teachvarsity2-OHHHH This is where all the soundtrack budget went, to Eddie Van Halen for “Hot for Teacher”! I mean I know they had to sell the joke, but god damn the rest sucks.

-The strip club night out results in poor, sloppy play @ that game and in the huddle someone said “slobberknocker”.

Elway-helicopter-Does every football movie after 1998 have the QB dive head first into the end zone and have him get helicoptered like John Elway in the 1998 Super Bowl?

-Angelina Jolie’s dad throws his head set. The head coach I worked for would always throw his head set. It was my job to fix it and then try and explain why it was broken.

-Why is it that even after away games the team is in their home locker room and then shown on buses driving home to their school.

-When Dawson’s little brother walks into the house with Bacon the pig, Dawson runs out and finds Billy Bob Belushing Jack Daniels and shooting his football trophies. Dawson doesn’t let Billy Bob shoot himself.

images-Dawson’s little brother might be the best character in the movie. He has great lines and great looks throughout. The best being exemplified here.

Kyle: “These are my people.”

Mom: “Kyle, did you start a cult?”

Kyle: “I did.”

Mom: “That’s so cute!”

-Dawson gets his Brown acceptance letter in which he is awarded a full scholarship.

-Dawson tells his dad he won’t play and storms out of the house. Billy Bob then runs up to Dawson in school and tells him that he has a clear ct scan. Dawson is then at football practice and Angelina Jolie’s dad threatens Dawson’s full scholarship. Did anyone supervise this script?

-Amy Smart delivers the now cliche “wine and cheese” line expertly. And its possible the first time its used in a movie. See MTv IS ever working to break ground.

varsityblueswide-The Lord’s Prayer football cliche because there are no other religions in Texas.

-Final high school locker room cliche speech from the head coach about 48 months for the next 48 years of your life.

-And to conclude the football cliche portion of the movie, “football is war”.

-The running plays, when they stay inside the tackles, are very well executed. When they get outside the tackles not so much.

-I’ve seen this movie at least 10 times and I’ve ever heard this Offspring song. Not just at this point in the movie, but ever. Do I block it out every time?

-The stereotypical black running back pulls up lame and gets crushed. Angelina Jolie’s dad tells the trainer to “fix it”.

-Why is the trainer wearing a headset? I’ve never seen that. Ever, on any sideline.

-Angelina Jolie’s dad has Dawson take a knee and gets called out by the announcers and booed by the fans.

-Mutiny in the locker room, ya scurvy bastards!

-As the trainer is trying to “fix” the stereotypical black running back, Dawson tells them to stop, Angelina Jolie’s dad tells them to keep going, Paul Walker tells him to stop because Paul Walker had had it done plenty of times, and it cost him his future. Dawson quits, Tweeder quits, Billy Bob quits. Angelina Jolie’s dad attacks Dawson, literally hands around the throat choking. Angelina Jolie’s dad tries to rally the troops, but no one follows him out of the locker room, its the definition of “losing the team”.

-OK, so maybe this monologue is why Dawson took the role, not the one about purple headed yogurt slingers.

-Its an Offspring song I know!

 -Where are all the other coaches? The Athletic director? A teacher? An administrator? THERE ARE ZERO ADULTS on the sideline. Not even a drunk Walter Matthau or Angelina Jolie’s ex-husband.


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                                                                                                                                -The announcers are all over the fact that in amazement there are 5 receivers on the field. That wasn’t THAT insane and rare in 1999, was it?

-More Offspring? Continues shitty soundtrack this does.

-The last we see of Angelina Jolie’s dad is him packing his office.

-The continuity person on this film sucked as much as the music supervisor.

-Oh Foo Fighters a real song that is relevant even today! So the music producer got 1 not super obvious 1 right.

-Coyotes block the punt! There are 27 seconds left they trail by 3.

-Clock is running. They need a clock play to stop the clock. Dawson hits the real life cowboy mascot off his horse. Its a dangerous running gag.

-7 seconds left, Coyotes down 3. Hook and ladder play left.

-And now we have a classic musical score for the final play, John Williams lite as it were.

-Billy Bob carries 2, no 3, defenders in the end zone for the win!

-I’m still amazed by the lack of adult presence at a high school function that intentionally involves violence.

MV5BMTYzOTMzNTkxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMzM2MDI3._V1_SX640_SY720_-Dawson’s final voice over is a total ripoff of Richard Dreyfuss’s in Stand By Me’s ending except without River Phoenix dying in the movie of real life. Although Paul Walker is dead now so…yeah.

-The final line is totally trying to have the effect of the final voice over from Angelina Jolie’s current husbands movie Sleepers.

Varsity Blues:

And for some of us, it ended without us knowing. Maybe these were the last days. I never played football again. But I will never forget that day. Billy Bob cried ’cause he’s a bit of a cryer. And Tweeder drank beers ’cause…Well, Tweeder drinks beer. Lance is happy. He found his calling as a football coach. Wendell got his ride to Grambling. That statue still stands, but only because it was too heavy to move. Kilmer never coached again. I took my scholarship and will graduate from Brown University. The day was ours…and no one can ever take it away. 


On March 16th, 1984 John Reilly’s bloated body was found face up in a tenement building, right next to the bottle of boiler gin that killed him. At the time of his death, he was a suspect in 5 unsolved homicides. He was 2 weeks past his 29th birthday. Thomas Marcano died on July 26th, 1985. He was shot at close range 5 times. The body lay undiscovered for more than a week. There was a crucifix and a picture of Saint Jude in his pocket. He was 29 years old. Michael Sullivan lives in a small town in the English countryside where he works part-time as a carpenter. He no longer practices law, and he has never married. He lives quietly and alone. Carol still works for a Social Service agency and lives in Hell’s Kitchen. She has never married…but is a single mother supporting a growing 12-year-old son. The boy, John Thomas Michael Martinez, loves to read and is called Shakes by his mother. It was our special night, and we held it for as long as we could. It was our happy ending. And the last time we would ever be together again. The future lay sparkling ahead…and we thought we would know each other forever.


-I’m watching the credits on purpose to see how bad the soundtrack really is and I’ve never heard the song playing under the credits, again I’ve seen this movie a lot.

-Script supervisor Pam Vazquez be better at your job next time please!

-Music orchestrated and conducted by Decaf Howard Shore, I mean Ken Kuller.

-Music coordinator Thomas Gocubic. Ok, so you are the coordinator on this movie for the music production company of MTv. The music television network. You had a Green Day song,  a Van Halen song, 1 decent Offspring song (decent being kind), and a Foo Fighters song. That’s pathetic.

-STOP THE PRESSES! Maybe here is the problem credit. “Co-Music Supervisors Gary Calamar” , 1 name. Who was the other co? His imaginary friend? Calamar? Is he really a friend appetizer? Was a fried appetizer making decisions about this movie’s music? Probably, since MTv was involved.

-Ok they had an Aaliyah tune, I’ll give the squid that one.

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  1. Other MTv FIlms: Dead Man on Campus, Save the Last Dance, Crossroads, I have to end the list there, the whole list is 99% depressing. []

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