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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • 10 Deleted scenes
  • 2 Audio commentary
  • Photo gallery

The Last Game: DC

Warner Vision/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 94 mins . E . NTSC

  Feature
Contract

American Football, or Grid Iron, certainly has its place in the world of recognised sports. During its culmination each year in the Superbowl®™ (or Grand Final), advertising can get as steep as two million dollars for a 30 second slot. And these commercials are the highlighted feature of what is, really, just another game of football.

This goes to show the mentality of many Americans regarding football. There are those who are wholly mental about it, but they can also be easily dissuaded by the sparkling baubles and bright, pretty colours of advertising.

The Last Game is a documentary about American Football. Not in the big leagues, but at the high school level where players are constantly being watched by the major league teams wishing to spirit away another teenager from a small town life to fame and rigorous training. Told from the heart in a fashion that would most likely have the Yanks enthralled, here in Australia the documentary falls on its arse a little and needs the sponge boy to come out and help it up. While Grid Iron has its fans here, and even I enjoy the occasional game (though it took me three or four hours to narrow down the rules), I can’t see this rather gung-ho-American-life-aren’t-we-the-best doco being enjoyed all that much here.

We follow the exploits of America's greatest high school team, the Central Bucks West. They are coached by the supreme overlord of coaches Mike Pettine Sr., who is attempting to take them to the finals and maintain an inordinately long undefeated streak. However, this final game of the season, this Last Game, will see Mike Pettine Sr. come up against the second best team in the state, who are coached by Mike Pettine Jr.

I won’t tell you who wins, but I’ll tell you that Mike Pettine Sr. is coaching his final year at Central Bucks West. Will the torch be passed on or will Pettine Sr. go out in a blaze of glory? To be honest, I’d kinda gone beyond caring by this point. And this is the Director’s Cut. I can only imagine what the regular version was like.

To its credit though, it does feature some fantastic camerawork during the football matches, but as a documentary it concentrates mostly on the Pettine family with football almost playing second fiddle to the battle royale between the father and son coaches. The overall competitive nature of the coaches and their teams to be the best rings as almost offensive in its directness and this gives cause for consideration. Are the teams striving to be the best because the coach wants them to, or are they all pursuing a dream of football heroism in the big leagues? Or, do they just want to prove they’re the best and everyone else, like, totally sucks? Or, do they just wanna pick up head cheerleader Brandy for some shenanigans out by the lake?

Whatever the cause, this sport is viewed very differently than it is here in Australia. With our football we may get competitive, we aren’t so objectifying in our wishes of glory. Most people I know who play sport do it for fun and hanging out with friends and the beer afterward. I know I do.

I guess if you’re looking for some motivational film to inspire your team or whatever, you could do worse than this, but frankly I found it a true yawner and not as tense or exciting as the cover makes it out to be. This isn’t fiction, this is real life, and that does get tedious when the characters are folks you’ve never met, live a life you don’t understand and you couldn’t really give a flying fish about the sport in question.

  Video
Contract

The first indication that this is an American film comes in the disgraceful importing of their NTSC in the transfer. Is it so hard for the selfish oafs who transfer this stuff to bring up to PAL speed? The video quality is distinctly NTSC and the picture quality comes up as slightly soft-edged throughout, although it's only a recent film. Colour is bright and even and blacks are true, so there’s no worries there, but shadow detail is murky at best. The aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with anamorphic enhancement betrays the television roots of this program though it still, for the most part, looks okay.

  Audio
Contract

Dialogue is like Boot Camp throughout, with half the statements by players and coaches yelled or cursed at the earth. Adam Sandler’s Waterboy doesn’t turn up at any point, so there aren’t any real laughs here either. There are occasional moments of vulgarity that don’t get censored by this E rating (Exempt from classification due to the documentary nature) so beware of that if you are offended by such stuff.

Music supervisor Robert Walker does all manner of musical bits and pieces here to fit with the themes, but there’s no real score being a documentary that is almost wholly dialogue driven. The surrounds don’t do much and the subwoofer adds depth to the music and crowds (and occasional yelling) but also sits on the bench for most of the game. It’s all brought to us by our good friends at Dolby Digital utilising their special 2.0 mono mix.

  Extras
Contract

A bunch here, but no real touchdowns.

The first cab off the rank is the directors’ commentary which features T. Patrick Murray and Alex Weinress. There are a couple of long silences in here and lots of that awful type of commentary where they describe the scenes we’re looking at. Guh.

The next commentary is the coaches commentary in which we have Mike Pettine Sr. and Jr. who again choose to dissect what we can already see. There are some more interesting back stories on the training and stuff, so this one just nudges ahead of the other as to who’s best. Still, both are for the diehards alone.

Ten deleted scenes include some lengthier moments (the longest over 14 minutes) and a game highlight reel running 1:35. Nothing here adds or detracts from the piece though, they are just the same.

A photo gallery seems to be mainly stills, though there are a swag of other pics included. These run together as a short film and goes for 3:50.

Finally there’s an Easter Egg you’d have to be blind not to find, and even then it wouldn’t be too hard, but I’ll stick that in our Easter Egg archive if you need the help.

I found the extras here about as unenthused as I found the film, but the diehards may just find it the best extras they’ve ever seen. If that’s the case, good for you. Go for it.

  Overall  
Contract

This one is strictly for the fans of American football. I had an idea it may appeal to my general malaise and uninspired life, but unfortunately no, it didn’t. There is just too much good ol’ USA running throughout and while that may fly great in the States, here it is almost embarrassing. Add to that the crappy NTSC delivery and you've got an ordinary release of epic magnitude.

(Many thanks to Robert P. who brought some misleading statements in this review to my attention).


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3997
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      And I quote...
    "And I thought American football was stilted to watch. Try going behind the scenes. Yawnarama."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
          Akai
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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