In a swamp of based-on-a-true-story sports films, Peter Berg's gritty adaptation of Pulitzer prize-winner H.G. Bissinger's book stands out by virtue of its impressive visual style and the filmmakers' decision not to massage the facts into cliched conflicts with neat, feel-good resolutions that produce the proper sense of uplift. Odessa, West Texas, 1988: High school football isn't just a big thing, it's the only
thing. Businesses shut down on Friday nights so store owners can join the crowd of 20,000 other residents at the stadium where the Permian Panthers play beneath lights that can be seen for miles around. The young teenagers lucky enough to make the dema...