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Varsity Blues

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Brian Robbins
Produced by Brian Robbins,
Tova Laiter
Written by W. Peter Iliff
Starring James Van Der Beek,
Amy Smart,
Paul Walker,
Ali Larter,
Jon Voight,
Scott Caan,
Tiffany C. Love
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) January 15, 1999
Running time 106 min
Language English
Budget ~ US$16,000,000
Gross revenue $54,294,169

Varsity Blues is a 1999 film that follows a small-town high school football team and their overbearing coach through a tumultuous season. The players must deal with the pressures of adolescence and their football obsessed community while having their hard coach on their back constantly. In the small town of West Canaan, Texas, football is a way of life, and losing is not an option.

Varsity Blues drew a domestic box office gross of $52 million. Its budget was estimated at $16 million.



Jonathan "Mox" Moxon (James Van Der Beek) is an academically gifted back-up quarterback for the West Canaan High School football team. Despite his relative popularity at school, easy friendships with several other players, and smart and sassy girlfriend Jules Harbor (Amy Smart), Mox is dissatisfied with his life. He wants to leave Texas to go to school at Brown University. He also dislikes his football-obsessed father and dreads playing football under legendary coach Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight). Bud Kilmer is a verbally abusive control freak whose philosophy can be summed up as "win at all costs." He has a strong track record as coach, remarking in a speech that "in my thirty years of coaching football at West Caanan, I have brought two state titles, and 22 district championships!" Kilmer's philosophy finally takes its toll on Coyotes' quarterback Lance Harbor (Paul Walker). It is revealed that Lance, who is Mox's best friend, had been manipulated into taking cortisone shots into an injured knee that finally gave out on a huge sack. Lance is rushed to the hospital, where doctors are appalled at the massive amount of scar tissue found under his knee.

Mox, who has accompanied Lance to the hospital, is shocked when Kilmer tells the doctor that he knew nothing at all about Lance's knee problems, when in fact Kilmer ordered the trainer to inject the shots.

In need of a new quarterback, Kilmer reluctantly names Mox to replace Lance as captain and starting quarterback. The move brings unexpected dividends for Mox, one of them being Darcy Sears (Ali Larter), Lance's beautiful blonde cheerleader girlfriend, who is interested in marrying a football player in order to escape small town life. Darcy even goes so far as to attempt to seduce Moxon, sporting a bikini made of whipped cream over her otherwise naked body, but he rebuffs her as gently as he can.

Becoming fed up with Kilmer and not feeling a strong need to win, Mox starts calling his own plays on the field without Kilmer's approval. He also finally tells his football obsessed father off at one point screaming at him "I don't want your life!" Moxon's father had been a football player at West Caanan, and although Kilmer dismissed him as a "no talent pussy" he did say that he at least listened (unlike Moxon). Kilmer, who becomes aware that Mox has won a full scholarship to Brown, warns Mox that if he doesn't fall in line, he will alter his transcripts in order to reverse the decision on his scholarship.

Another friend of Mox's, Wendell Brown, is injured on the field shortly thereafter. Kilmer manipulates Wendell into taking a shot of cortisone to deaden the pain from his injury, allowing him to continue even in the face of a permanent injury. Wendell, who is desperate to be recruited by a good college, grants his consent. At this moment, Mox tells Kilmer he'll quit the team if the needle enters Wendell's knee. Undaunted, Kilmer orders Charlie Tweeder (Scott Caan), a friend of both Mox and Wendell, to take the snaps. Tweeder refuses. Mox tells Kilmer that the only way they'll return to the field is without him. Realizing that he will be forced to forfeit the game, Kilmer loses control and attacks Mox. The other players break up the fight and then refuse to take to the field. Knowing his loss of control has cost him his credibility, Kilmer tries in vain to rally support and spark the team's spirit into trusting him, but not one player follows him out of the locker room. Kilmer continues down the locker room hall, and seeing no one following him, turns the other direction and into his office. The team goes on to win the game without his guidance.

In a voice-over epilogue, Mox states that he "never played football again. Lance went on to a successful coaching career (he did not work at Wal-Mart as feared by Darcy), Wendell received a scholarship to Grambling, Billy Bob cried because he's a bit of a crier, Tweeder drank beer because, well...Tweeder drinks beers. Kilmer retired, never to coach football again. However, his statue still stands only because it was too heavy to move. I took the scholarship and will graduate from Brown University."


Like all other Ivy League universities, Brown University does not offer scholarships based on academic or athletic achievement.[1] Such schools do however, pay for students in grants, provided they meet the academic criterion necessary for matriculation and have sufficient financial need.

This film was shot in and around Elgin, Texas, which is about 15 miles east of Austin. The football stadium scenes were shot at Georgetown High School, in Georgetown, Texas, North of Austin

Robert Brown, who had a small part in the film, still resides in North Austin and currently plays wide receiver for the Austin Vipers.



  • 1999 Teen Choice Awards
    • Best Breakout Performance: James Van Der Beek (won)
    • Best Dramatic Film (nominated)
  • 1999 MTV Movie Awards
    • Best Breakout Performance: James Van Der Beek (won)
    • Best Movie Song (nominated)
  • 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
    • Best Male Newcomer: James Van Der Beek (nominated)


  1. ^ Brown University - Financial Aid Initiatives Unique to Brown University

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Varsity Blues is a 1999 film about a small town in Texas where high school football is a religion. The head coach is deified, as long as the team is winning and 17-year-old schoolboys carry the hopes of an entire community onto the gridiron every Friday night.

Directed by Brian Robbins. Written by W. Peter Iliff.
Make your own rules. taglines


Jonathon "Mox" Moxon

  • [to his father] I. Don't want. Your life!
  • Now if we go out there, and we half-ass it 'cause we're scared, all we're left with is an excuse; we're always gonna wonder. But if we go out there, and we give it absolutely everything - that's heroic. Let's be heroes."

Coach Bud Kilmer

  • [to Mox] You got to be the dumbest smart kid I know.
  • It makes me wonder if you know the different between a sneeze and a wet fart!
  • Never show weakness, the only pain that matters is the pain you inflict.
  • The hard work of so many, sacrificed by the disrespect of few.
  • [to Mox] Your daddy was a no-talent pussy, but at least he listened!

Charlie Tweeder

  • [Mooning Mox and Billy Bob through the truck window] Good moonin, Boys! Good moonin! I have been up since the crack of dawn and I had to ass you a question.
  • [singing] She broke my heart, so I broke her jaw.
  • [after stealing a cop car] I'm gonna go to jail!
  • Jonathan Moxon your are under arrest for not being naked with some sophomore chick who wants to bathe you with her tongue, now take off your god damn clothes and get in the car.
  • Ladies, shut up and hold on to your nipples!
  • Well we're all naked in there and we've got handcuffs and cool shit to play with so take off your clothes and get in the car.
  • Looks like she fell out of the I-wanna-suck-your-dick tree and hit every branch on the way down!

Billy Bob

  • It's a strip club, man. I'm here to work!
  • A 10... a 10... a fucking 10!
  • [staring at Miss Davis's breasts] Miss Davis, would you go to the prom with me?


  • Miss Davis: Now I want y'all to repeat after me: penis, penis, penis; vagina, vagina, vagina!
  • Sam Moxon: I raised you to be a winner, so dammit boy, win!
  • Sam Moxon: I'm really proud about Brown son, but I need to talk to you about Gilroy.


Billy Bob: I sure do love that dog.
Mox: I think it's a pig.
Billy Bob: Yeah.

Miss Davis: Can anyone tell me a common slang term for the male erection?
Student: Boner? Is boner one?
Miss Davis: Yes! Boner is good, boner is very good!

Mox: The male erection? Uh, pitchin' a tent, sportin' wood, icicle has formed, the march is on; stiff, stiffie, Mr. Mortis, Rigger Mortis has set in; uh, flesh rocket, Jack's magic beanstalk, tall Tommy, mushroom on a stick, Mr. Mushroom Head, purple-headed yogurt-slinger...and, uh, Pedro.
Miss Davis: Pedro?
Mox: Mmhmm.

Charlie: Will you listen to me? Women are all just panty droppers. You understand? That's it.
Mox: What?
Charlie: Listen. You give 'em Percocet, two Vicoden and a couple of beers, and the panties fall off. This is nice. It's very nice.
Mox: [laughing] It's nice?
Charlie: It's nice.
Mox: Tweeder, you think you'll enjoy prison?
Charlie: [not paying attention] I don't know...What?

Charlie: Hey you wanna see the new Tweeder end zone dance?
[Tweeder dances]
Charlie: You know what it's called?
Mox: What?
Charlie: The new Tweeder end zone dance.

Mox: I'm a good boy. I've always been good. What's my upside to being good? [looks at a box of condoms] I'm 18 years old. It's not like I'm married to her. She invited me over. I'm just being polite, right Kyle? Kyle?
Kyle: I only answer to one name. Ali-Actabaor-Shabaz-Da.
Mox: That's a bunch of names.
Kyle: There is only one God. All praise and honor be to Allah.
Mox: Yeah. Well, would Allah nail Darcy if he had the chance? I think so.

Charlie: Say I'm stupid and I'm about to get hit in the nuts.
Billy Bob: That's funny.
Charlie: Ain't it funny? That's what I mean. See they need to change the name of the show to America's funniest shots in the nuts.

Police Officer: These kids, they're just running around wild these days. Them kids last night, they stole a cop car.
Bar Man: No.
Police Officer: Yes! Them boys been exposing themselves.
Bar Man: Exposing themselves?
Police Officer: Yes. They put them wieners on the glass at the Alano Club, while the ladies were rehearsing the Christmas pageant.
Bar Man: They put them wieners on the glass at the Alano Club?

Mo Moxon: Kyle, did you start a cult?
Kyle: Yup.
Mo Moxon: That is so sweet!

Darcy: Baby I got so excited thinking about next year and Florida state and the future, I think I need to be your wide receiver.
Lance: Here baby.
Darcy: Well not "here" here, but somewhere here.


  • Make your own rules.
  • In a town where winning is everything, these guys have nothing to lose.
  • It takes a hero to know what's worth winning.


External links

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