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 writes for The Morton Report.

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