The inspirational sports drama “My All American” arrived on home video February 23. The film tells the true story of Freddie Steinmark, who played safety for the 1969 Texas Longhorn team. Starring Finn Wittrock as Steinmark and Aaron Eckhart as Texas coach Darrell Royal, “My All American” tells a moving story in the limpest, most generic way possible.
The bland execution is unfortunate, especially considering the power of Steinmark’s story. Wittrock gives a strong performance as Steinmark, accurately conveying the strength which allowed Steinmark to take on the obstacles that would prematurely end his career. As Coach Royal, Eckhart is fine, although he’s occasionally hampered by terrible old-age makeup.
Unfortunately, the screenplay by Angelo Pizzo (who also directed) is a never-ending series of exposition and cliche. The first half of the film seems written according to the Sports Movie Handbook, with an inspiring moment followed by a montage followed by a moment of conflict followed by an inspiring speech followed by another montage. Characters set the scene for the audience by saying things like “can you believe a man just walked on the moon?” At one point a character says of Steinmark’s father, “So he’s like one of those failed dads who’s living his dreams with you?” No one can ever accuse “My All American” of subtlety.
By the time the film morphs from a generic sports movie to a generic weepie, audiences may have long stopped caring. The film’s by-the-numbers storytelling makes the two-hour running time seem twice that long. “My All American” is the kind of film you forget as you’re watching it.