"Varsity Blues" might be broadly defined as a high school sports movie, but it is more "Porky's" than "Hoosiers" - definitely a pig of a film.
This teen flick is awful in every way. It has foul, unfunny dialogue devoid of insight; no clue of what high school athletics (or high school, for that matter) is like; and it seems to think that fat people, binge drinking, alcoholic mothers, cheerleaders obligated to have sex with the quarterback, and moronic authority figures are intrinsically funny.
"Varsity Blues" features yet another of Jon Voight's paycheck roles as a cardboard evil symbol of the establishment. Here, he's "Bud" Kilmer, legendary high school football coach in West Canaan, Texas. For every great appearance in the likes of "Heat" or "Anaconda," Voight seems to be doing about three of these roles lately, like a '90s version of John "Dean Wormer" Vernon.
As our "hero," John "Mox" Moxon ("Dawson Creek" TV hunk James Van Der Beek) intones in the pedantic introductory voice-over, football is religion in West Canaan, and Bud Kilmer is its high priest. But how this uncharismatic snake got to be a legend is something this movie can't explain; it's hard to imagine him doing anything to a football team except exorcising the competitive spirit right out of it. He's won 22 district titles, but he can't seem to notice that Mox is a better QB than his all-Texas starter, Lance Harbor (Paul Walker of "Meet the Deedles").
Just in case you don't get the point, the first time we see Kilmer is in front of a pep rally, in which he repeatedly silences the crowd with a Strangelove-like involuntary-reflex Hitler salute! Kilmer is also a racist, we are told, who won't let his star black running back (Eliel Swinton) score a touchdown. (Tough way to win a district title.)
The Gestapo who enforce Kilmer's reign of terror are football-crazy, stupid dads, who sit around drinking beer and reliving their days of glory playing for West Canaan. Meanwhile, the football players throw orgiastic parties that cops would not allow in the most anarchic college town, and an especially sleazy subplot has Mox treating his teammates to an all-night drinking party at a strip bar, where they find out their bubble-headed bimbo Sex Ed teacher is one of the main attractions.
When Lance suffers a career-threatening injury because he was playing under the influence of pain-reducing drugs administered by Kilmer, Mox has to step in and save the day.
As portrayed by Van Der Beek, Mox is an anti-football, self-involved snob who has a full academic Ivy League scholarship. Even if he were played by someone who could act, it would be hard to sympathize with him.
Will Mox save the day by winning the big game, and save future generations of football players from Kilmer's tyranny? Is it possible that anyone with a brain will care?