My All American

Aaron Eckhart (Left) and Finn Wittrock (Right) represent the best of Texas
in 1969 college football in My All American. Photo Courtesy: Aviron Pictures

By Taylor C. Berrier

It’s holiday season everybody, ’tis the season to be jolly. People just become giddy during the holidays, like nothing can bring you down from the high of being thankful and giving to others, and scoring some sweet deals on Black Friday. But all that aside, there are none higher on their pedestals than Texas fans. Usually this comes from winning seasons by either the Cowboys or the Longhorns, but even when they aren’t winning like they used to, there is still this high many Texans feel by watching football, especially on the holidays. This was never more true than in 1969. My All American is a movie that takes you back to a time when college football reigned supreme and the nation certainly needed the distraction.

The holiday season not only brings with it the joys of football, but also the joys of cinema over enveloped with happy endings and sappy, feel-good plot lines that attempt to inspire and draw out the rawest of emotions. There is a noticeable overlap with the way football and movies accomplish this. This is where My All American succeeds, and succeeds to great heights.

Yeah sure, it’s pretty sappy and I don’t think anybody can deny this. Most people don’t know the story of Freddy Steinmark, but it’s a story that rings familiar in the hearts of all Texas Longhorn fans. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was part of the core curriculum at UT for all undergrads to know before they graduate. My All American is the core curriculum for all fans who enjoy both football and movies.

Finn Wittrock (American Horror Story) plays Freddy, a kid who was playing against the odds his entire life. The movie documents this young person as he learns the game of football and the challenges of life.

Aaron Eckhart plays Texas Longhorn coach Darrell Royal, where the movie begins and gets its name. Not necessarily told from his point of view, Royal gives his narration but the movie quickly transitions to its star, Freddy.

It must have been hard to make a feel good movie based in a time when at the same time our nation was dealing with Vietnam war and civil rights issues. The solution My All American found was to basically set all of that aside for just two hours and focus on one person who coincidentally wasn’t much affected by either one of those hardships during that time and to simply tell his personal journey. So don’t expect a perfect portrayal of 1969. It’s more a perfect portrayal of an athlete who happens to live in 1969.

The cast here does an amazing job with stunning performances. Freddy is the character everybody loves. And Coach Royal is the symbolic immovable object that is inevitable moved. To call it sappy is just borderline disrespectful. It’s heartwarming, is what it is, black and white, young and old. It’s a fantastic holiday movie directed by the classical Angelo Pizzo (Hoosiers, Rudy).

Hook ‘em Horns!

Go check out My All American in theaters now and check out the official trailer below: