Varsity Blues

Yee-ha! These are wild Texas boys who play football for the West Canaan Coyotes. They date cheerleaders who wear whipped-cream bikinis, hang Stetsons on their hard-ons when they drive around naked and hope that coach Bud Kilmer (Voight) won't shoot them up with steroids if they sustain injuries that might kill the coach's chances of winning another division title.

Director Brian Robbins (Good Burger) and screenwriter W. Peter Iliff (Prayer of the Rollerboys) have wrapped their moral fable in a glossy package of hard football action and towel-slapping, hard-body fun that might seem exciting if you've never seen a movie before. Even tots are weaned on animated tales — be it Bambi or The Lion King — of youthful ideals being swallowed by adult ambition. The acting offers compensation, though it's too bad that veteran Voight chews the scenery without shame or variation, since the young cast shows promise. Van Der Beek, of TV's Dawson's Creek, is solidly appealing as Jonathan Moxon, the second-string quarterback who disdains fame until he replaces injured star Lance Harbor (Paul Walker). But as sure as somebody in this flick is going to be called Billy Bob — and sure enough, Ron Lester plays him — you're going to find Varsity Blues awfully familiar.

From The Archives Issue 805: February 4, 1999