As the calendar turns from August to September and the cooler temperatures of fall take hold, the average sports fan’s thoughts turn toward the gridiron. Are you ready for some football?! If so, Family Movie Night has got you covered. Game Time: Tackling the Past, the latest installment in the highly-rated series, airs TOMORROW, Saturday, September 3rd 8/7c on NBC.
Life is easy on cruise control, but character is revealed when chaos enters. And so it goes for pro football star Jake Walker (Ryan McPartlin, Chuck). The popular veteran tight end is on pace to set the all-time receiving yards record that will guarantee him a spot in the Hall of Fame. However, during training camp, Jake receives an unexpected call from his brother Dean (Josh Braaten; Semi-Pro, Dumb and Dumberer); their father Frank (Beau Bridges) has suffered a major heart attack. Jake immediately returns to the small hometown he’s avoided for almost 15 years. As he is reunited with the family and friends he abandoned long ago, Jake is flooded with memories of the past, both glory and regret. Jake dutifully tends to his family, but past hurts and misunderstanding begin to resurface, leaving him counting the days until his departure.
Jake then receives a second unexpected call, this time from his agent. Amid concerns about his surgically repaired knee, Jake has been released. Rather than face the certain media circus, Jake reluctantly decides to extend his stay at home. Attempting to make the best of the situation, he begins reconnecting with the community that once revered him. Jake is reintroduced to Sarah (Katie Carr; Heroes, Raising Helen), his high school sweetheart, and helps Dean take over their father’s high school coaching job.
As the real Jake begins to emerge to see that life is much more than chasing records and fame, he is thrown yet another curve. When Jake receives a lucrative new offer to play for another team, he is forced to choose between the glory of his old life and the peace of his new one.
Game Time delivers everything viewers have come to expect from the Family Movie Night series: a well-written story, solid acting performances, and values that transcend the plot. As one might expect, the movie is about football, but it’s really not. Rather, football is the canvas on which the substance of the movie is painted. Game Time is really about making choices, setting priorities, the value of family, teamwork, and character. The essence of the movie is summed up well in Jake’s realization that “…it’s one thing to look like a good man; it’s another to be one.” Check out the video below to view scenes from the movie and hear from the actors themselves.
This movie features one other thing we have come to expect from FMN, sponsored by Walmart and P&G: product placement. While that may bother some viewers, we’re not among them. The sponsors have rather little competition in the genre, so what’s to stop them? Besides, we think they should instead be lauded for their continued support of family-friendly programming. Judging from the ratings, our opinion may be shared by many others. Last month’s FMN installment, Who Is Simon Miller? on NBC was the top-rated show in the 7 – 9 PM CST time slot with 3.31 Million viewers — 28% more viewers than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which aired in the same time slot on ABC! Let’s make Family Movie Night #1 again! Gather the family, pop some popcorn and settle in for a great family movie TOMORROW NIGHT.
Game Time also features Catholic actress Catherine Hicks (7th Heaven, Ryan’s Hope) as Jake’s mother Anna — see if you can spot her Mary medallion — and Karen Walker (Marley and Me) as Jake’s sister-in-law Lisa. Like Family Movie Night on Facebook, follow FMN Twitter, and check out more video clips on the FMN YouTube channel.