Short on Inspiration? Try “My All American”
By Skip Sheffield
Every so often we get an inspirational sports movie. For this year we have “My All American,” based on the book “Courage Beyond the Game: The Freddie Steinmark Story.”
Freddie Steinmark was a Colorado kid who was considered too small to play football. Nevertheless his strong will and determination was so fierce he became a star player on his Wheat Ridge High School team. Ultimately he was discovered by legendary University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal, who arranged for him to play for UT on a full scholarship.
Freddie Steinmark is played by stage actor Finn Wittrock, who like his character is inordinately handsome. Freddie was charismatic and attractive to the opposite sex, but he was also a devoutly religious Catholic, and when he met Linda Wheeler (Irish actress Sarah Bolger), he became devoted solely to her.
Coach Darrell Royal is played by veteran character actor Aaron Eckhart, who plays him as tough but compassionate.
Writer-director Angelo Pizzo has two previous successful inspirational sports movies: “Hoosiers” in 1986 and “Rudy’ in 1993. Pizzo understands how to build excitement even when the outcome is already known. Playing Freddie’s best friend James Street is actor Juston Street. Street replaced U Texas hotshot quarterback “Super Bill” Bradley (Donny Boaz) to lead Texas to a 1969 national championship and a victory over Notre Dame in the 1970 Cotton Bowl.
In addition to the inspiration of a little guy rising above his physical limitations, Freddie Steinmark faced an even greater challenge involving his health, and it was his courage and determination that gives “My All American” its real heart. If you are running short on inspiration, this little film should recharge you. If you are a cynic it won't matter