January 9, 2024

VARSITY BLUES (4K): Like Opening a Time Capsule

VARSITY BLUES 25th Anniversary (4K UHD)
1999 / 104 min
Review by Pepper the Poopy😼

It’s kinda funny how a movie that once made me nostalgic for older (and better) football movies has itself become a piece of nostalgia. It’s been 25 years since Varsity Blues was released and it's now something of a cult classic among those who were likely wowed by the film in high school. 

Those same folks will probably enjoy this 4K blast from the past, which looks great and sports an overall sharper image & detail, though many will likely realize what was once funny, intense and rousing now feels amusingly trite and dated (if they don't already). And that’s okay…I once thought 1977’s One on One (with Robby Benson!) was the ultimate sports movie. Now I know better, of course, but still enjoy that trip down memory lane from time to time.

Jon Voight regales his young co-stars with anecdotes from the set of Baby Geniuses
Varsity Blues admittedly features an impressive cast for its era, which undoubtedly makes the checklist of tropes and sports cliches easier to digest. And speaking of the cast, a lot has changed in 25 years. James Van Der Beek was once supposed to be the next big deal, Paul Walker was on the verge of stardom and respected actor Jon Voight had yet to become a paranoid punchline on Twitter. And hey…isn’t that Scott Caan, Ali Larter and Jesse Plemons in early roles? I’ll bet some of you forgot that.

In that respect, revisiting the movie today is sort of like opening an old high school yearbook…or a time capsule. Is Varsity Blues still enjoyable? For those weaned on MTV (who produced this) and recall the ‘90s with tremendous nostalgic reverence, of course it is. Whether or not they still consider it to be a truly great film is another matter entirely.



FEATURETTES (BLU-RAY) - Football is a Way of Life: The Making of Varsity Blues; QB Game Analysis (featuring real life coach Mark Ellis & quarterback Steve McCown); Billy Bob with No Bacon (interview with cast member Ron Lester); Two-A-Days: The Ellis Way.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Brian Robbins, producers Mike Tollin & Tova Laiter.


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