DVD Review: 4th & Goal
Release Date: September 20, 2011
Distributor: First Run Features
· Nina Gilden Seavey
· George Rush
· Gibril Wilson
· Albert Toeaina
· Randy Bush
· Bret Jones
· Tim Brown
· DeQwan Mobley
· IMDb: 4th & Goal
by Chris Delloiacono
Published: September 17, 2011
I’m more of a hockey and baseball man myself, but I do enjoy watching football in small quantities. I don’t really have a favorite team anymore. I’ve rooted for the Jets, Seahawks, Patriots, and Steelers at various times in my life. It’s always been more about liking individual players than diehard rooting for a team. I’m clearly in the minority when it comes to a lack of rooting interest in the gridiron game. “4th & Goal” fell into my particular model of football enjoyment by making this about a collection of people.
I’ve reviewed a number of documentaries on various subjects at The Trades, but this was one of the finest. The long term nature of the documentary makes it stand above so many other films that follow a subject for a few weeks or months. “4th & Goal” begins at City College of San Francisco (CCSF), which has one of the best junior college football programs in the nation. We get to know a number of the top players in the program as they complete an undefeated season. The film then segues into their recruitment to division one programs around the country.
From there the film makes the leap to the attempt to go pro. The driving force of the film is maintaining excellence at the top of the college ranks, the draft day jitters or being forced to go free agent, and finally making it through training camp to join a pro roster. The early focus on CCSF coach George Rush illustrates a demanding regimen for the athletes and a built up respect. We get to know Gibril Wilson, Albert Toeaina, Randy Sims, Bret Jones, Tim Brown, and DeQwan Mobley through the course of six years, so it’s a pretty revealing triumph and “tragedy” film.
Nina Gilden Seavey has directed a powerful film with unexpected depth. The only real DVD extra is a text piece by Seavey about her path to the final film. It’s interesting that she wanted to make this type of film for a long time, but couldn’t get a sign off from all parties involved. Seavey chanced upon a group that had begun filming a piece on CCSF players and was able to continue following these athletes. It’s a fortuitous bit of luck that allows an in depth presentation on these men.
Personally, I don’t love college sports. I find it ridiculous that many athletes get a free ride through school, yet don’t come out with an education. I understand the huge sums of money these programs bring to the school, but it infuriates me so many deserving students can’t afford astronomical tuition to attend “elite” schools. It’s also hard to stand the athletes that make it to the pros and are in constant trouble. Looking at the film offers a view of a group that’s made of mostly exemplary young men that worked for and deserve their scholarships and any other success they gain.