Does anything make for a better movie than high school football in Texas? I don’t think so, and Friday Night Lights might just be the best of its kind. It spawned a beloved TV show of the same name that ran for five seasons. Based on the book Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger, this movie chronicles the true story of the 1988 Permian Panthers of Odessa, Texas. It’s now over ten years old, but Friday Night Lights is always worth watching again. Look out for these ten things the next time you decide to rewatch.
- Actual Permian High football coaches have lines during game sequences
Director Peter Berg wasn’t satisfied with the performance of some of the actors playing assistant coaches, so he used real coaches from Permian High to deliver lines during games for authenticity.
- The real Boobie Miles is in the film
The real James “Boobie” Miles played one of the assistant coaches during the film, although he didn’t have any lines. You can see him standing next to Derek Luke, the actor playing Boobie Miles, during the locker room scene at halftime of the state championship game.
- Live action sequences from the 2003 Permian High football season are used throughout the movie
That’s right, those action shots you see during the film are the real 2003 Permian High Panthers. Peter Berg matched his actors’ uniforms and jersey numbers to the 2003 team so they would blend in better.
- Connie Britton and Brad Leland play similar roles in the both the movie and TV show
Connie Britton as the coach’s wife and Brad Leland as the booster both reprised almost identical roles for the TV show in 2006.
- The book’s author is cousins with the film’s director
Buzz Bissinger, who wrote the book the movie is based on (as H.G. Bissinger), is cousins with Peter Berg, who directed the film and created the TV series.
- Roy Williams, wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, has a cameo
Roy Williams graduated from Permian High School, but his cameo appearance is as an assistant coach for Midland Lee, Permian’s arch-rival.
- Some of the actors had never played football before
Derek Luke, who played Boobie Miles, and Lee Thompson Young, who played Chris Comer, had never played football before making this movie.
- The movie’s producers were asked to tone down the racism present in the book before they were given permission to use Permian High School facilities for the movie
The movie doesn’t explore racial themes with the same depth as the book, and that’s because Permian High School authorities insisted that many of the racist incidents found in the book be left out. They didn’t want a negative portrayal of their town on the big screen.
- Director Peter Berg has a cameo
Peter Berg can be seen in the stands jumping up and down at the end of the movie when the Panthers are trying to score before the last play of the championship game.
- Odessa, TX is much bigger than the movie portrayed
At the time the movie takes place, Odessa actually had a population of about 100,000 people! In fact, there were two large high schools in Odessa: Permian High and Odessa High. In real life they play each other every season, and Bissinger devoted a chapter in his book to their rivalry.
I’ve always loved a good football movie, and Friday Night Lights is one of the best. Hopefully these ten little known facts about the movie will give you some fun things to watch for the next time you sit down with it.
Did you know that Family Dicks series that has been recently released to the public contains a lot of similar things to the movie of Friday Night Lights? It’s very taboo aspect of gay relations within family members. Step-fathers and step-sons trying their luck with sexual relations. It’s taboo, it’s very graphic and it’s of course only for adults. BTW. do you see a resemblance of some actors from the movie with the guys in the episodes of this series? 🙂 Check it out!
It really is a quite difficult to conceive a realistic approach for a TV Show and then earn the sizeable audience that the show actually deserves. Same has been the case with Friday Night Lights; it had the exceptional realistic plot that included the deep exploration of central America and also some very sound characterization of the cast but still failed to achieve the targeted number of audience.