"Friday Night Lights" Movie Review

Lions' Williams has acting debut with cameo appearance in high-school football drama.

Lions' rookie wide receiver Roy Williams is generally a reserved, humbled person. Apparently, his acting career will follow suit.

Williams had a cameo appearance in the high school football drama "Friday Night Lights," a motion picture based upon the best-selling book which portrayed the true story of the 1988 Permian Panthers -- where Williams attended high school.

Williams, an Odessa, Texas native, where the story is based, had a brief role as an assistant coach for an opposing team. His line? "He's not going to play," in reference to an injured Panther player.

But the movie itself was much more deep despite casting only one big name actor (Billy Bob Thornton) and a collection of young acting talent that performed well.

In Odessa, Texas (or anywhere in Texas for that matter), football is life. The No. 1 spectator sport in the state is high school football, ranking above the second most witnessed sport ... middle school football. That mindset is readily apparent in the film as well.

In spite of Thornton's believable presence as head coach Gary Gaines, it was country singer Tim McGraw that stole the show. With an incredibly limited acting past, McGraw performed surprisingly well as the controlling and occasionally abusive father to player Don Billingsley -- all the while missing the country singer trademark "cowboy" hat.

Although Hollywood entered the fray (surprise, surprise) to dramatize the relationship between father and son (the younger Billingsley has claimed that his father was portrayed poorly, and his behavior was not accurate) it was an overwhleming subplot that gave the film wheels during slow spots.

McGraw's performance has easily assured him of future acting roles.

One intangible that the movie also harbors is a non-comittal to girlfriend-relationships that have become status quo among many football films, focusing solely on the X's and O's, team unity and perserverance amid controversy and tragedy.

Although it avoided the racial undertones that were prominent in the book, "Friday Night Lights" was a hard-hitting film both emotionally and physically. Above all, and unlike its predecessors, it was realistic.

"Friday Night Lights" solidifed itself as yet another formidable football movie that will capture -- and maintain -- both the casual and diehard football fan's interest.

LionsFans.com Movie Grade: Two Thumbs Up.

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