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Three reasons why high school football ruled in the '80s

The high school football season kicked off last night here in Florida. Thankfully, the '80s were the decade of high school football -- at least on the big screen.

Ever notice that all the good high school football movies happened in the '80s? College flicks -- that was more '90s. Just like our lives! We live in golden times - let no one tell you different.

I hate to recycle blog items, but this is my previously published tribute to the sport that I've been a referee for now going on 10 years. (The fans at Boca Ciega High School would love to roll the Lair today, if that gives you any idea how my first night went. But I defend my calls! I was right!) But back to the topic at hand...

Here's a closer look at the best and worst of the bunch of high school football movies from the 80s.

THE BEST: All The Right Moves (1983)

Stars: Tom Cruise (, Lea Thompson (, Craig T. Nelson, Christopher Penn (

The plot: A football player and his coach look to escape the steel towns of Pennsylvania.

Realism factor: Aside from the fireworks going off when rival Walnut Heights scores a touchdown, I think it's fairly flawless. Craig Nelson is the embodiment of every high school coach I've ever met (he would of course later go on to prove this again in TV's "Coach.") And yeah, Tom, that WAS pass interference! Next time, go for the ball.

Favorite line: "You're not god, Nickerson. You're just a typing teacher."

THE WORST: Wildcats (1986)

Stars: Goldie Hawn, Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Nipsey Russell, Bruce McGill.

The plot: A female track coach accepts her dream job -- head football coach ... at the worst school in the city.

Realism factor: The female coach is possibly the only realistic angle to the entire movie. Otherwise, you have players break-dancing on the field (that's 15 yards unsportsmanlike conduct), profanity during the plays (another 15 yards and possible ejection) and a 400-pound player jumping high enough to block a field goal. (No flag, but come on!)

Favorite line: "If you're going to shake my hand, I'd rather do you did that before you checked his jock."

THE GUILTY PLEASURE: The Best of Times (1986)

Stars: Robin Williams, Kurt Russell.

The plot: Two men seek to turn their lives (and the fortune of their town) around by replaying an important game from their high school days.

Realism factor: You wouldn't ask how realistic "Field of Dreams" is, would you? Same deal here. Just enjoy the shot at redemption (and secretly wish it could happen to you as well.)

Favorite line: "I was lucky." "No Jack, you were due."

Posted by Steve Spears at 01:27:18 PM on September 5, 2009