A goofy high school football movie inspired by the 2009 season of the Abilene Eagles (of Abilene, TX), “Under the Stadium Lights” is aimed at an audience that already knows the outcome, the rivalries and the highlights. Occasional clips of the original games are presented with so little context that they seem designed to refresh memories rather than further the drama.
Some sports films are based on inspirational speeches; “Under the Stadium Lights” treats platitudes as the main event. The character of Chad Mitchell (Milo Gibson, a son of Mel), police officer and team chaplain – and off camera, producer of the film and author of the book it’s based on – invites players to “talk about the stuff that “they” can’t talk at home, “a device that ensures a constant stream of bestowal for director Todd Randall to cut off.
A few characters have enough screen time to sign up, such as Ronnell Sims (Carter Redwood), the quarterback, and his cousin Herschel Sims (Acoryé White), a running back, both of whom have parents who don’t. are not always there. Augustine Barrientes (Germain Arroyo), a linebacker known as Boo, resists joining a gang, while the selfless Chad learns to spend time with his family. Despite heavy billing, Laurence Fishburne only has a peripheral role as a barbecue co-owner who watches the climactic game from a hospital bed.
The hokiest lines go to Coach Warren (Glenn Morshower), who, catching a metaphor, explains to Chad why he thinks trucks have bigger windshields than mirrors: to keep people focused on the present and not on the past. “If we keep our thoughts in the windshield of life,” he said, “we’re going to be fine. “
Under the stadium lights
Classified PG-13. Talk about drug trafficking and drug use. Duration: 1 hour 49 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or purchase on Apple TV, Google Play, and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.