Fantasy and Desire: On Friday Night Lights and Coach Carter
This chapter offers a contrapuntal reading of Peter Berg’s Friday Night Lights (2004) and Thomas Carter’s Coach Carter (2005), two films wherein high school sport adjudicates young men’s education and allegorizes economic prospects in the contemporary United States. The former is set in a predominantly white working-class rural community in 1980s West Texas and the latter in a predominantly black working-class urban community in 1990s Northern California. Both films feature individual salvation for the community’s young men tutored by a tough-loving patriarch and pivot on the masculine ambition to flee dead-end lives. However, these two films are not two versions of the same story. Rather, the success and possibility of Friday Night Lights is premised on the failure and impossibility of Coach Carter.
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