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Review: ‘My All-American’ leaves a mark

I have to confess: I’m not a big fan of football in general, so I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of seeing “My All-American." Fortunately, you don’t have to be a fan of football to enjoy the new inspirational movie based on University of Texas football legend Freddie Steinmark.

Written and directed by Angelo Pizzo, whose past credits as a screenwriter include “Hoosiers” and “Rudy,” “My All-American” follows Steinmark (played by Finn Wittrock) as he grows from a small tyke playing football in his neighborhood league to a young man with dreams of someday playing professional football in the late 60s, despite the fact he’s shorter and smaller than most coaches would prefer. Legendary coach Darrell Royal (Aaron Eckhart) sees something in Steinmark no one else does, and the happy-go-lucky young man is finally recruited to play for the Longhorns. Steinmark’s undying optimism is put to the test when he experiences an injury that threatens his lifelong dream of playing football. As Royal reminisces, Steinmark's upbeat attitude left a lasting mark on the entire University of Texas football program.

Since this is based on a true story, some football fans will know the outcome of the story, but for those who don’t, I suggest bringing a few tissues to the theater when you watch this movie. Yes, you should definitely see it, and it’s wholesome and inspirational enough for the entire family to enjoy. Steinmark's legacy seems to have been meant to teach us that hard work, faith, and perseverance can make dreams come true. 

Steinmark as played by Wittrock appears as a great role model, likable and courageous as his tale unfolds. While many low-budget inspirational films suffer from poor production values and weak scripts, “My All-American” tells a great story without being preachy or overbearing. It also features some good acting and is fast-paced enough to keep your attention.

I didn’t expect to like this movie, or to like it as much as I did, and that's a comment I overheard uttered by many leaving the theater after my viewing.

As we head into the holidays, consider grabbing the kids (10 and older) and heading to the theater to see this one. I doubt you’ll regret it.

“My All-American” is rated PG and is now playing in theaters.