Friday Night Lights (2004)

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Released 13-Jul-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Peter Berg (Director) And Buzz Bissinger (Writer)
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Peter Berg Discusses A Scene In The Movie
Featurette-Player Cam
Featurette-Tim McGraw: Off The Stage
Featurette-The Story Of The 1988 Permian Panthers
Trailer-Universal Mediterranea
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 112:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Peter Berg
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Billy Bob Thornton
Lucas Black
Garrett Hedlund
Derek Luke
Jay Hernandez
Lee Jackson
Lee Thompson Young
Tim McGraw
Grover Coulson
Connie Britton
Connie Cooper
Kasey Stevens
Ryanne Duzich
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Brian Reitzell
Explosions in the Sky
David Torn


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Dutch
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
English Titling
French Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Ahh, sports movies. They're a tough ask. The best ones - Chariots of Fire, Raging Bull, Million Dollar Baby - aren't really about sport at all, which is probably the reason they work. By itself sport doesn't seem like 'enough' to fill up a movie, which either results in it feeling like a highlights package on steroids (Any Given Sunday) or being coupled with ludicrous, half baked 'human interest' stories (Remember the Titans). Clichés abound and you begin asking yourself if the screenwriter deserved to get paid anything, seeing as they've cherry picked the worst of a thousand tired scenes.

    Needless to say, when I sat down to watch Friday Night Lights my expectations weren't particularly high. It's a football movie - and not even a proper football movie, but an American football movie. But then something weird happened. It worked. Shot in a documentary style, with colour drained from the palette, and including plenty of grainy, hand held footage, the film doesn't sentimentalise its subject or its characters. Instead, it focuses on sport being used as a means to escape the inertia of life in a dusty, isolated town in rural Texas.

   Friday Night Lights deftly avoids being yet another story of hard done by kids using sport to survive. It treats the high school members of the team with respect as it follows them throughout the year as they head towards the championship and, for some of them at least, shots at college scholarships. There are some terrific scenes where young actors like Lucas Black and Derek Luke use some realistically and candidly written dialogue to explore their fears of failure, express their desires to move away and wonder what they'll do if they don't make it.

    The force holding the film together though is Billy Bob Thornton, who could have done this role in his sleep but chooses instead to invest it with some grit and emotional resonance, which helps the story immeasurably. By film's end the director Peter Berg has successfully managed to convince us that playing under the Friday night lights as a senior in high school may be one of the great experiences many of us will never know.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Assessing the video quality of this release proves somewhat difficult because of the deliberate stylistic choices of the director and his director of photography. It is presented at its original, intended aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1, with 16x9 enhancement.

    The picture is relatively sharp with good levels of detail. Shadow detail is as good as I believe the filmmakers intended.

    The colour palette is, expectedly, drained of brightness, and the washed out look very effectively captures the mood of the film. There are some fascinating uses of colour depending on the locations but monochromatic visuals dominate.

    Film artefacts? I didn't see any.

    The film looks deliberately grainy and as such it is difficult to assess compression artefacts. I don't think their existence is a blight on the transfer at all.

    There is some very mild aliasing but this is not a distraction.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    We have a choice of two soundtracks - the original English Dolby Digital 5.1 or French Dolby Digital 5.1. I listened to the English track.

    Dialogue is at all times easy to hear.

    There were no reportable instances of distortion.

    Audio sync was fine.

    The surrounds and subwoofer are not engaged in an overtly spectacular fashion, but both tracks provide wonderful depth and ambience to the film. Bass resonates wonderfully, and a few scenes are just made by the presence of well constructed surround sound.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio Commentary with director Peter Berg and writer Buzz Bissinger.

    Berg is an engaging speaker and teams well with Bissinger who offers a lot of insight into the history of the project and the team the story is based around. There are some nice moment of humour and plenty of anecdotes about filming.

The Story of the 1988 Permian Panthers

    A twenty minute mini documentary looks into the film's origins in the non-fiction bestseller by Bissinger. It is unusual and therefore valuable to have such an insight into real life events on which a film is based.

Deleted Scenes

    Most of these are extensions of scenes already in the movie. They are reasonably well presented and are a nice mix of emotional scenes and action sequences.

Peter Berg Discusses a Scene in the Movie

    The director speaks from the film set about shooting the Buddy's Burgers scene.

Ryan's Player Cam

    Ryan Jacobs captures some behind-the-scenes banter between the other actors on the team, as well as some of the crew.

Tim McGraw: Off the Stage

    A six minute interview with the country music star, which includes some snippets from Berg about McGraw.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    It looks as though both editions are the same, so opt for the cheaper version.

Summary

    Friday Night Lights is a surprisingly good film about the pressures of high school sport.

    The video and audio are fine.

    The extras package is not bad at all.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Scott Murray (Dont read my bio - it's terrible.)
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDYamaha DVR-S100, using Component output
DisplaySony 76cm Widescreen Trinitron TV. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DVR-S100 (built in)
SpeakersYamaha NX-S100S 5 speakers, Yamaha SW-S100 160W subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Waste of plastic -
I agree with the reviewer - this was a quality film -