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September 28, 2018

When The Game Stands Tall (2014) --- “It's Not About How Hard You Fall But It's How You Get Back Up.”

Plot Summary
In 2003, high-school football coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) and his De La Salle Spartans have just completed an incredible 151 consecutive victories and 12-straight state championships. While the team's seniors receive offers from colleges all over the country, the advancing juniors look forward to making their mark. However, beloved "Coach Lad" has a brush with calamity, while the Spartans face their most-challenging, most unpredictable season yet. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) is the football coach for the De La Salle High School football team and under his tutelage, De La Salle has developed a 151 winning streak. But what happens when the streak is broken? When the Game Stands Tall (2014) is inspired on the true story of how the coach, the team, and the town handle the loss of their beloved streak and learn that winning is not everything.

     Director Thomas Carter (Coach Carter) has delivered another sports film that goes beyond the sports story and reinforces our faith in human spirit. When the Game Stands Tall mixes heartfelt emotion with strong acting to create an inspiring story about life, commitment, success, and giving honor to whom honor is due.
     De La Salle is a private Roman Catholic school so there are a number of references to God and faith, so this film also follows the story of people who have faith and practice it. As both a teacher and coach, Coach Ladouceur is determined to teach and inspire the team to be the best they can be and that winning is not the only goal. But Ladouceur is so focused on helping his team that he tends to forget the team he has at home and despite his efforts, not all the boys are willing to let go of the streak. Most of the boys are quickly willing to accept what the coach is trying to teach them, but there are a few who have a harder time letting go because they were spoiled by the fame of the streak. It’s not until an eye-opening incident, later on, that causes him to reevaluate his current lifestyle and gives him the opportunity to set a personal example to his students and his family.
     His teaching methods are not very conventional but they work in ensuring touchdowns and winnings as well as prepares the boys for life outside of high school. For example, he has the team volunteer at a veteran’s rehab facility and there the soldiers share their stories with the boys. Through their stories, they teach the boys what it means to work as a team and that there is nothing wrong with winning as long as you don’t lose sight of what really matters in life. In the end, losing the streak helps teach the team and the coach what is truly important in life; to be the best person you can be and to appreciative those closes to you. The cast does a great job in bringing these characters to life with Jim Caviezel and Laura Dern as Ladouceur’s wife being the most noteworthy characters.

     Overall, When the Game Stands Tall (2018) is an inspiring story that teaches you that being your best person is the goal, not winning. In fact, you only truly lose if you don’t get back up because you stopped trying, you gave up. The story is inspired by the true story of the De La Salle football team, and while it was completely accurate in certain areas I found it to be very inspiring and heartfelt. The story uses strong acting and heartfelt emotion to carry its message, and the final result is wonderful. If you are a fan of Coach Carter, The Miracle Season, and The Blind Side, then I highly recommend this film.

"This is a question that's going to follow you. 'How did you lose the streak?' And every time, you're going to answer the truth. 'Bellevue played better than us and we lost a high school football game.' That's football, but it's not you. Don't let a game define who you are. Let the way you live your lives do that."
- Terry Eddison

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  7.8 of 10 star
Worth Buying:  7.8 of 10 stars

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Blind Side, The (2009)
Coach Carter (2005)
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We Are Marshall (2006)
Woodlawn (2015)

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