Touchback Blu-ray Review
TOUCHBACK is a family friendly film that focuses on the theme of being happy and content with where you are in life. How dwelling on “if only” or “what if” moments of your past cannot change your current circumstance, as illustrated with down on his luck Scott Murphy (Brian Presley). A former holder of the Ohio Mr. Football award for high school athletes across the state, he hangs onto his glory days. Sustaining an injury during the final play in the state championship game, Scott’s hopes and dreams for playing college ball and making it to the NFL are shattered (much like his leg). Fast forwarding to present day, the former athlete is now a farmer, has a sweet wife and two little girls to accompany his bum leg and pot belly. Financial institutions closing in on his farm land, broken equipment and weather turning against him, Scott reflects on the biggest ‘what if’ moment that changed the course he originally navigated for his life. Scott goes back in time to the final days leading up to his life-changing injury, the glory days of high school where he must choose: change the outcome of the final game or embrace the life he knows.
This is an excellent story that makes you reflect on personal ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ moments and the choices we make and the results of those choices. Even though the story is excellent, the editing of this film is a bit off. With slow moments that take you out of the film to heartfelt scenes that draw you back in, you start to feel like a yo-yo. The scenery is breathtaking, the bright colored trees turning color in fall is truly the perfect backdrop for a football themed movie.
Pointing out yet another area that distracted from the storyline, seeing Brian Presley and Marc Blucas as high school football players was a bit difficult to wrap my head around. They felt too adult to be wearing letterman jackets and goofing off in the halls of the school. The make up on Kurt Russell as the aged coach was quite good, but his actions failed to portray that of an older man, they were too quick and sure. The two female characters who go through the young to older aging process (Sarah Wright & Melanie Lynskey) were a bit better that the others, at least they were believable as high school teens.
One of the better parts of this film are truly wonderful quotes from various supporting characters. Moments Scott shares with his mom (fabulously portrayed by Christine Lahti), the bright words of wisdom that Macy (Lynskey) gives Scott in their teen years and pretty much every moment Kurt Russell is on screen. The inspirational dialogue could be taken as hokey or cheesy, but I found them to be a natural piece to this movie that teeters between football film and heartfelt drama.
Speaking of every time we are graced with Mr. Russell’s presence, he is the ideal person to play the role of Coach Hand. He conjures the essence of a great educator who cares deeply for his students, athletes and community.
We’ve seen this type of film in assorted forms before: MR. DESTINY, PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED, 13 GOING ON 30, FAMILY MAN to name a random few but TOUCHBACK shows us a different perspective of this genre. Even though this is might not be the most perfectly made film, it is the perfect film for a family to enjoy and reflect on the power of life choices.
Video (1.78:1): TOUCHBACK has some breathtaking scenery that is vibrant and bright on this Blu-ray.
Audio (Dolby TrueHD 5.1): The audio was a bit off between the music and dialogue. There could have been a better balance between the two, I had to adjust the volume a few times.
Audio Commentary: Writer/Director Dan Handfield and Producer/Actor Brian Presley provide a standard commentary adding details about sets, costuming, cast and football moments.
Making of TOUCHBACK (5:48): This is a nice making of feature that highlights the themes of the film and illustrates the creating of the sports sequences.