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Second String Is An Entertaining Movie
New TNT movie lets Bills fans live dream
by Steve Saslow
December 17, 2002

Second stringThe long awaited release of the TNT movie "Second String" takes place on Wed, Dec. 18th at 8pm. I had the fortunate opportunity to get a sneak peek at the movie recently and I must say it is must viewing for all Bills fans.

The movie is about a Buffalo Bills team that is built to win now but the entire first string offense and the backup quarterbacks come down with a serious case of food poisoning that knocks them out for the entire playoffs. The head coach played by Jon Voight has to turn to a quarterback he despises played by Gil Bellows. His character is a former Notre Dame great who didn't make it in the pros because he didn't mesh with Voight's coaching style earlier in his career and was blacklisted.

The movie's premise is very far fetched, who knows of a case of food poisoning that lasts three weeks? The nice thing about this movie is it is endorsed by the NFL. Footage used is real game footage, it also shows tailgating in the Ralph Wilson Stadium parking lot. In fact, one of the opening scenes brings back memories of Thurman Thomas' final year in Buffalo. It shows a screen pass that he turned into a touchdown.

Of course to the die hard football fan there are many inconsistencies that comes from using real game footage. The down and distance constantly changes inaccurately with the plays. Once you get past that you start to root for the underdog quarterback and his misfits of rookies, and outcasted veterans to pull off the miracle of winning the Super Bowl. It got to the point for me that it started feeling like a real Bills game. My wife had to remind me that it wasn't real!

There is also something for the casual or non football fan, it is a good heart warming tale that can hold that segment of the audience. The movie definitely lifts things from other movies (like all movies do). It is part Replacements, with the plot being a bunch of misfits, and part Any Given Sunday with the battle between an old school coach and his let it all hang out quarterback.

Bellows does a good job as Dan Heller making you pull for him like Doug Flutie, who plays himself rather stiffly in a number of scenes. Another ex-Bill making an appearance is Donovan Greer. Van Miller does play by play for the football scenes and he shows off his sense of humor. Chris Berman also made a cameo as himself.

The movie makes a reference to the four Super Bowl defeats and with the current unit looking at least a couple of years away from the big game, this may be as close as Bills fans get for a while to achieving that long unattainable goal.

TNT's Second String Webpage

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