Film Room

Two movies blending health and football are headed for theaters. One pits a doctor against the NFL. The other tells the true story of a terminally ill college player. Here's how they stack up.
November 16, 2015

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

CONCUSSION (release date: Dec. 25)—Ben Baskin Category MY ALL AMERICAN (release date: Nov. 13)—Jacob Feldman
Will Smith deserves an Oscar nod for his portrayal of Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered CTE. David Morse is superb as late Steelers center Mike Webster. Acting Aaron Eckhart, as Texas coach Darrell Royal, is the biggest name, but Finn Wittrock, as protagonist Freddie Steinmark, impresses most.
Smartly and boldly splices in real game footage for a powerful punch. But Luke Wilson is hard to take seriously as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Action Football snobs shouldn't scoff at the gridiron scenes, filmed in stadiums around Texas with extras including former Longhorns QB Case McCoy.
Stays true to the facts but takes creative license to make abstract ideas concrete, which could leave some viewers confused. Accuracy Director Angelo Pizzo consulted with players from the 1969 Longhorns to ensure his final product could accurately be called a true story.
Does an excellent job explaining what CTE is and how players get it, without being too complicated. Reel Science Steinmark, a safety, has Ewing's sarcoma, but there's little information about the disease that changed his life.

THEY SAID IT

"I'M JUST LOOKING FORWARD TO HOPPING ON THE WIFE."

Bret Bielema

Arkansas coach's misstatement after his team defeated No. 18 Ole Miss 53--52 in overtime, which he quickly corrected to "hopping on a plane with my wife."

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE

The owner of the OHL's Flint Firebirds reportedly fired the coach because his son wasn't getting enough playing time. Then the whole team quit, including said son.

PHOTOCOURTESY SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT (CONCUSSION) PHOTOCLARIUS ENTERTAINMENT (MY ALL AMERICAN) PHOTOWESLEY HITT/GETTY IMAGES (BIELEMA) PHOTO

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)