Being from Texas I am more than familiar with where football falls on the list of priorities. If I am not mistaken, its God, Family, and then football, and there are not many shadows that loom larger in the football world than the University of Texas. Part of how that legend began, is the great Longhorn teams of the late sixties and early seventies and among those times there was a player named Freddie Wittrock and the film is “My All American” and who better to take on that task than Angelo Pizzo.
Now the name may or may not ring a bell, but the movie he wrote will. With names like “Rudy” and “Hoosiers”, I think you know what kind of story this is going to be. Freddie (Finn Wittrock) is a star football player in a small town in Colorado. For him there is pretty much nothing he can’t do. Well except play football in college, as everyone pretty much thinks he is too small. Everyone except Darrell Royal (Aaron Eckhart), who sees something in Freddie that others didn’t. So of course Freddie comes to Texas and becomes a star, because if he didn’t this movie isn’t getting made. Films like this though, are made to make you feel good, but they also show you how you can beat the odds if you just give it your all.
This story will bring both tears of joy and sadness, just like the ones that came before it.
I know I keep bringing up the “formula” of these movies, but it is such a big part of them it’s hard not to. While all these sports films have the same beats, they are different stories, which all just happen to be sports related. You have the underdog who is not supposed to make it, as well as the montage or two in the film that shows how they are succeeding. Add the event that changes everything, only then leading the team to “win one for the Gipper”, this is not uncharted territory we are in here. With all that said, the truth is “My All American” is not that bad of a movie. While is the basics are something you have seen many times before, the story still serves its purpose and does the job of making you feel good.
Like his previous movies Pizzo is a jack-of-all-trades and also directs this film and does a good enough job at that as well. This story is right up Pizzo’s alley, and he knows his material and the desired effect he wants his audience to have. I like these movies, having always been a big fan of “Hoosiers”, and could sit through more of these same stories, because simple enough I like to feel good about things. So when you go see “My All American” don’t expect them to reinvent the wheel, because as the old saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. That also may have come from Texas.