Like your sports movies with a side of guts triumphing over tragedy? My All American is your movie.
This fact-based tale is the story of Freddie Steinmark (American Horror Story’s Finn Wittrock), a determined young athlete who goes from a small Colorado town’s football program to the starting lineup of the 1966-69 Texas Longhorns.
Aaron Eckhart plays legendary Texas coach Darrell Royal and the story is told from his point of view. A modern-day young reporter asks Royal who his best player was and he begins the story of Freddie and the amount of heart he brought to Austin.
Steinmark grew up near Denver and though many people though he might be on the small side for football, his father (Michael Reilly Burke) was a relentless taskmaster, working his son hard and giving him a no-quit attitude that pays off.
In high school, he meets two new students who will change his life.
Sweet Linda Wheeler (Sarah Bolger) hears about how Freddie is popular and nice and it’s pretty much love at first sight. At practice, he meets a transfer student from California. Bobby Mitchell (Rett Terrell) is a foot taller and a hundred pounds heavier but Freddie is not intimidated. Instead, his sunny personality makes the guy his best friend.
It’s Mitchell’s films that Royal originally sees, but he watches Steinmark’s as well. The fact the smaller player does not quit gets him a full scholarship along with his bigger friend. Their sophomore year coincides with the debut of Royal’s new offense — the wishbone. After a mistake ridden trial period, the Longhorns start their climb to total game domination.
Steinmark’s senior year, Freddie can’t get rid of a pain in his leg. He plays hurt all season. Between the crucial game against Arkansas that clinched the National Championship and a trip to the Cotton Bowl against Norte Dame, Freddie visits a doctor and is quickly sent to M.D. Anderson Medical Center in Houston.
The young man’s attitude is what makes “My All American” work as a sports movie that compare’s favorably with “Rudy” and “Hoosiers.”
A bit of trivia. For those of you who don’t know why we should watch a movie about Texas football, there is this: Darrell Royal played his college ball with the Oklahoma Sooners in the late 1940s.
Give this film a chance and that goes for all you women too.