Blu-ray Review: My All-American

By , Contributor
A reminder that life is all too short and none of us know when our number will be up, My All-American is an old-fashioned inspirational sports biopic. Writer-director Angelo Pizzo is no stranger to this territory. Pizzo wrote and produced Hoosiers (1986), Rudy (1993), and The Game of Their Lives (2005). The subject here is real-life late-'60s era college football player Freddie Steinmark. The true story is a matter of public record, but its outcome remains something of a "spoiler" for those unfamiliar with Steinmark's life.

Pizzo makes his directorial debut with All-American and he presents Steinmark's career in straightforward, workmanlike fashion. Finn Wittrock (American Horror Story: Freak Show, The Big Short) is quite frankly too old to be playing high school student (turned-college player) Steinmark, but he makes for a likable presence. Countering Wittrock's 'golly gee' approach to Steinmark's wide-eyed enthusiasm and determination is Aaron Eckhart as University of Texas head coach Darrell Royal. Coach Royal is the one person willing to give the short-statured Steinmark a real chance on the field.

Sarah Bolger (TV's Into the Badlands and Agent Carter) is sweetly effective as Freddie's love interest, Linda. Ultimately All-American feels like a cookie-cutter sports drama/tragedy, with Bolger's stock girlfriend and Eckhart's coach clicking dutifully into place as cliches of the subgenre. Everyone involved certainly seems well-meaning, but it has a by-the-numbers feel. Perhaps the source biography, Jim Dent's Courage Beyond the Game: The Freddie Steinmark Story, digs deeper into what is an undoubtedly remarkable story. 
 
my all american BD (303x380).jpg Universal brings My All-American to Blu-ray with a faultless 1080p transfer of Frank G. DeMarco's cinematography. Composer John Paesano's score is a featured element of the lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix.

While an extensive look at the real Freddie Steinmark's life would've been welcome, Universal's extra features are far from inspiring. A pair of "featurettes" are really just promotional pieces that run just a couple minutes each. Both "The Spirit of Freddie Steinmark" and "A Look Inside My All-American" are basically little more than extended commercials for the movie. The Blu-ray Combo Pack includes a standard DVD and a Digital HD copy.

My All-American lacks a personality of its own, but that doesn't mean it's difficult to watch. It's sturdily made and decently acted, it's just too bad Steinmark's life story doesn't resonate a little more deeply by the time the credits roll.

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is music and film. As “The Other Chad,” he has written for the online magazine Blogcritics since 2008. When he’s not writing, Chaz can be found trolling jazz clubs, attempting to find somewhere to play his sax (whether anyone wants to hear…

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