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Touchback | 2012 | PG-13 | - 3.4.4

A former high school football star (Brian Presley) who becomes a farmer is given the chance to find fame during the Ohio State championship game. But he ruined one of his knees the first time he played and so the second time he asks a coach (Kurt Russell) what to do -- change history or accept the past? Also with Melanie Lynskey, Christine Lahti, Kevin Covais, Sarah Wright and Marc Blucas. Directed by Don Handfield. [1:58]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - A teen girl riding in a pickup truck puts her hand on a teen boy's thigh and squeezes twice, and she invites him to come into her parents' home while they are away (implying sex), but he refuses; she crawls over him to get out of truck, laughs, turns and kisses him.
 High school cheerleaders wear short skirts that reveal about half their thighs, knees and lower legs. During cheerleading practices, two girls wear short shorts that reveal bare thighs. In a bedroom scene, a man sleeps alone and shirtless. A man wearing a bathrobe and cowboy hat stands in his yard. In a long shot at night, we see two teen girls removing their clothing and hear them jump into a pond; two teen boys are watching them with binoculars from a nearby pickup truck and drive to the dock (we see only the girls' bare arms) and one boy walks up with a quilt and tells them to get out and go home (he covers them fully with the quilt).
 A teen boy and a teen girl kiss very briefly at school twice. A husband and his wife kiss once. In a high school band, a girl flirts with a boy several times by smiling, blushing, and playing with her hair. A high school girl is approached by a classmate and football player for a relationship; she is frightened and turns him down.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A young football player is slammed hard five times in a game and is finally left on the field with one knee broken against the natural angle of the joint as he grimaces; we see him later as an adult with a steel brace on that leg and his limp is pronounced. A man pulls up his bare knee and lower leg to look at it and we see several scars and indentations where muscle is missing.
 A man drives his pickup out into a field, stuffs a rag in the tailpipe and apparently tries to kill himself with CO as we see him cough and pass out; he enters a dream sequence or near death experience where he finds himself at a point right before a big football game in which he suffered career-ending injuries 20 years ago (he awakens).
 Throughout the film there are flashbacks from high school football games with full body contact, shouting, tackles, falls, threats of broken necks and some injuries; we see players grimacing and grunting (no blood is visible).
 A harvesting machine breaks down; the farmer dismounts, picks up a broken blade, and slams it against the machine several times while shouting about bad luck. A small fire breaks out in a shed and volunteer firemen put it out as they argue about small town events. An older man and a younger man argue loudly several times. A mother shouts at her teen son several times about undisciplined behavior and staying out too late. Teens shout at one another in the school hallways, sneering at one another. Factory crew people shout about listening to a football game on the radio at work. Football teams shout at each other on the field and one player calls out, "I'm gonna break your neck, Backwater!" to taunt a rival player. A man argues with his wife several times about farming problems and debts and calls her stupid. We see a teen boy arguing with his mother.
 A man becomes angry that his high school football teammate became rich and married the man's girlfriend. A man is shown to be depressed and locked in cycle of debt and hopes that his crops don't fail while his house crumbles and his family suffers.


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LANGUAGE 4 - 2 scatological terms, 17 mild obscenities, name-calling (prison, backwater, lover boy, crazy, stupid, dummy), 10 stereotypical references to farmers, small towns, high school football stars, single moms, cheerleaders, dreamers, nerds, 4 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man swallows two pain pills and we see three bottles in his medicine cabinet. A man sits asleep in a pickup truck with a bottle of Jack Daniels in his lap until another man helps him into the house and he falls before finally entering the door (he is drunk), we see a similar scene with both men at age 17, a man pours a bottle of alcohol on the ground and tosses the bottle in a trash bin, and a teen boy opens two beer cans and gives one to a man until he objects to the boy drinking (the boy then gives both cans to the man).


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Professional sports, family, friendship, teamwork, sacrifice, hope, lost dreams, second chances, choices, "what if," community.

MESSAGE - There is a better life after football.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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