TV Movie Review – Game Time: Tackling the Past

The only movies that have made me cry – really sob – are Rudy and Brian’s Song. Sports movies, both of them. And I hate Notre Dame, and am not particularly fond of the Chicago Bears! But themes of struggle, camaraderie, & impossible odds mixed with the violent beauty of athletic competition gets me right here [points somewhere in my chest area]. In addition to being well-made, those two films work for me because they featured real schools/teams wearing authentic uniforms. I’m immediately biased against a sports-related film or TV show involving fictional mascots, colors and logos. I can’t explain it, but I’ve never been able to get past it.

Maybe it’s lingering euphoria from the NFL’s compacted post-lockout action or the excitement of this exact moment in time – my fantasy football draft having been completed within the past 48 hours, preseason week 3 (the closest to the real thing) wrapping up, and the college season days away from kicking off – but even the forthcoming P&G NBC Family Movie was greeted with open arms by moi; faux uniforms, fictional franchises and all.

Now, NBC’s newest made-for-TV flick Game Time: Tackling the Past didn’t extract a single tear, makes use of an imaginary professional team, and is a bit too heavy-handed with the morality play but the Mrs. and I still enjoyed it for what it is: a what-matters-most story of family, teamwork, and honesty.

Would I have preferred if those lessons were shown instead of shown + told…and told repeatedly?  Yes.  And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I felt a tad disrespected as an audience member not to be entrusted to draw my own conclusions in the all-too-familiar story arc of Jack Walker; fall, enlightenment, redemption.

Still, Beau Bridges gives a quality performance as does Ryan McPartlin, who is very convincing as an egomaniacal, chiseled pro tight end, and Katie Carr as his presumed old flame who also finds herself back in their small hometown of Riverton, NC after her plan for stardom in the Big Apple gets detoured unexpectedly.  There are valuable life lessons in Game Time: Tackling the Past, for sure, I only wish they were tackling with more subtly and nuance than they were.  In the end, this isn’t a bad way to spend 2 hours this Saturday evening with the whole family.  After all, it’s the weekend of the 4th and final preseason football games, so the high school action you’ll be watching during the TV movie is not going to be that far removed from the quality in professional stadiums.

Game Time: Tackling the Past airs this Saturday night at 8pm ET/7pm CT.

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*Note: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Dad Central Consulting on behalf of P&G and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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