During the coronavirus shutdown, each day we will bring you a recommendation from The Post’s Peter Botte for a sports movie, TV show or book that perhaps was before your time or somehow slipped between the cracks of your viewing/reading history. This entry happens to impressively cover all three mediums.
Friday Night Lights
Book: Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream, By H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger (1990)
Available: Amazon, Kindle
Movie: Friday Night Lights (2004)
Streaming: Amazon Prime
TV: Friday Night Lights (2006-11)
Streaming: Amazon Prime, Hulu
Whether you’re looking for a page-turner, a two-hour flick or a binge-worthy TV experience, you can’t go wrong with “Friday Night Lights,” incredibly well-told stories in all three categories about the importance of football in small towns across the state of Texas.
Buzz Bissinger’s book grippingly spins the tale of the 1988 Permian Panthers in Odessa and their run to the state 5A semifinals, where they lost to a Dallas-based school (Dallas Carter) that featured future Giants captain Jesse Armstead. (Permian won the state title the following season.)
The book initially was not received well in Odessa and much of the football-crazed state, and an investigation over some of its contents later led to Permian being declared ineligible for postseason play in 1990.
More than a decade later, Peter Berg’s film introduced the story to a national theater-going audience, with Billy Bob Thornton starring as coach Gary Gaines, Derek Luke as injured star running back Boobie Miles and Lucas Black as quarterback Mike Winchell.
The TV version starred Emmy winner Kyle Chandler as coach Eric Taylor of the Dillon Panthers, and immediately built a strong cult following during its five seasons on the air. Connie Britton, who also played Gaines’ wife in the movie, consistently stole scenes as Taylor’s spouse amid a supporting cast that also featured Minka Kelly — Derek Jeter’s former longtime flame — and a pre-stardom Michael B. Jordan.
Quote of Note: “Odessa is the setting for this book, but it could be anyplace in this vast land where, on a Friday night, a set of spindly stadium lights rises to the heavens to so powerfully, and so briefly, ignite the darkness.” — H. G. Bissinger
Quote of Note II: “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” — Kyle Chandler as coach Eric Taylor
Botte Blows: 4.7 of 5.
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