Director: Angelo Pizzo
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Finn Wittrock, Robin Tunney
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
An unlikely football hero faces unexpected challenges with grit and grace in My All American , the true story of Freddie Steinmark. Although deemed too small as an athlete, Freddie (Finn Wittrock – The Big Short, “American Horror Story”) dreams of playing football and brings a fight to the game that is noticed by legendary coach Darrell Royal (Aaron Eckhart – The Dark Knight, Olympus Has Fallen), leading to a scholarship to play college football. With dedication and grueling practices, a victorious season is within reach, but Freddie then receives a shocking diagnosis and discovers what it truly means to have the heart of a champion.
Based on the amazing true events, ‘My All American’ tells the story of a player that pushed on and delivered as one of the most impressive players at the school for the entire season while unaware of a lingering condition, recounted by Coach Darell Royal (Eckhart) decades later. Refused scholarships and doubted due to his less than substantial height and build, young and incredibly talented Freddie Steinmark (Wittrock) refused to give up and ended up receiving a college scholarship from Coach Royal where he defied the odds, even while suffering an unbeknownst yet no less severe disadvantage.
Written and directed by Angelo Pizzo (writer of Rudy, Hoosiers) and based upon the book by Jim Dent, Pizzo does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘My All American’ which also marks his directorial debut, guiding the film with a true passion. The film also benefits tremendously from the talented individuals who comprise the cast including some familiar faces paired with some slightly lesser known talent including Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight), Finn Wittrock (The Big Short), Robin Tunney (TV’s The Mentalist), Michael Reilly Burke (The Collector), Rett Terrell (Vampires Suck) and more, all of whom deliver solid performances in each of their respective roles.
‘My All American’ is a wonderful and heartwarming film, and while it focuses largely on the game of football, even those such as me with minimal to no interest in sports should find no challenge being pulled into this one from the offset. Even while dealing heavily with depressing issues, the film also manages to keep things feeling consistently positive for the majority of its course, while never detracting from the importance of the more dispiriting content which is crucial. Marking the directorial debut of Angelo Pizzo who penned the powerful ‘Rudy’ among others, I would recommend giving this one a shot, possibly even if the concept doesn’t initially intrigue you; I certainly found myself pleasantly surprised with this powerful and emotional film.
Overall, ‘My All American’ is a fantastic film filled with moments that will make you cheer, others that will leave you grinning and a few that could potentially bring tears to the surface, and always brimming with plenty of heart along the way. Guided with care by Pizzo and featuring solid performances from the majority of the cast, I would definitely recommend checking out ‘My All American’ should you find the opportunity to do so, it’s a well done and heartwarming film that should easily be worth the cost of a rental for many if not at the very least worthy of a watch on cable.
The Blu-ray release of ‘My All American’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks magnificent, delivering a consistently sharp and detailed video presentation that holds up in every way and suffers no notable faults throughout, providing a clean and crystal sharp picture even during the heavily populated or fast paced sequences and never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a gorgeous high definition video presentation that should easily please.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds great and provides a clean and robust audio presentation from start to finish, utilizing all five available channels regularly in order to surround the viewer with plenty of crowd noise and other common game activity making its way throughout the speakers, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘My All American’ includes a couple of short behind the scenes Featurettes including interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew. The two included Featurettes are ‘The Spirit of Freddie Steinmark’ (running approximately 3 minutes in length), and ‘A Look Inside My All American’ (also approximately 3 minutes).