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“Woodlawn”: Football biopic film explores questions of faith, hope

Margaret Marin, Reporter

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Opening weekend for movies are a very important and crucial challenge to take. As a director and a writer, you have to take consideration of what moviegoers want to see in order to make money at the box office. With directors like the Erwin Brothers, this American football biopic is sure to touch the hearts of millions.

WoodLawn was directed by Andrew and Jon Erwin and is based on the life story of former Miami Dolphins running back, Tony Nathan or better known as “Touchdown Tony”. This faith biopic is rated PG for Racial Tension and Violence and it’s intended audience is everyone of all ages. WoodLawn was released October 16 worldwide and opening weekend, the movie grossed an average of $4 million. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an overall 91% score and IMDb gave an 7.3/10.

In 1973, spiritual faith and trust enters the hearts and minds of players on a racist Alabama high school football team. Tony (Caleb Castille) and many of his other teammates are given a sermon by a man named Hank (Sean Astin), who doesn’t refer to himself as a mentor or counselor to the boys. Originally, WoodLawn’s head coach Tandy Gerelds (Nic Bishop) gave Hank five minutes to speak to his team about God before he would send them out to practice. Hank speaks to the team for over an hour before eventually convincing most of WoodLawn’s football team to convert to Christ. In coach Gerald’s amazement, he questions himself asking “What just happened?”

The team decides to put racial tension behind them after discovering Tony’s talent as a running back in the middle of a game, out running many of the white football players. This of course angers many white fans and players after Gerald’s decision to put an african american player on the field. This decision also results in WoodLawn’s first win of the season. WoodLawn continues to show their by love and faith in God by praying with Hank before and after games. The team also begins a winning streak. Coach Gerelds at first, isn’t too impressed with Hank’s actions with his team before later giving his life to God. Although Tony is known as Woodlawn’s star athlete, continues to struggle with racial tension and harassment of angry fans. He believes if he can keep his faith in God, anything is possible even for an african american.

WoodLawn is a definite movie you need to catch this fall. Not only is this a great American football story of former running back Tony Nathan but, it also is a great movie for those searching for answers about God. This movie serves the purpose of sharing and spreading the good news to the public and non-believers. It also serves the reality of racism and how it should be handled with respect for one another. The actors bond was so realistic on camera, there were moments that I forgot this was actually a movie. The film had moments of laughter, tears, shouts of praise, and moments of pure silence. WoodLawn is definitely one of Hollywood’s greatest films.

 

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Keeping Colton High School informed and entertained since 1917
“Woodlawn”: Football biopic film explores questions of faith, hope