Teen Romance and Football at the 'Heart' of Two New Films
by Ethan Anderton
December 8, 2009
Our teenage years are defined by reckless behavior, unrequited love, teen angst, and the majesty of high school making for memorable times, whether they were good or bad. Two upcoming projects aim to tackle teen troubles from two different ends of the spectrum as Variety reports Mandalay Pictures has optioned the rights to Elizabeth Eulberg's upcoming teen book The Lonely Hearts Club and THR says actor Lane Garrison (of Fox's "Prison Break") is writing One Heart, the true story of a football team from the Gainesville (Texas) State School that's made up of juvenile delinquents involved with drugs and violence.
On the more romantic end of the spectrum, The Lonely Hearts Club (which will be published at the end of the year) follows a heartbroken teen who comes to the conclusion that most high school boys are total jerks and declares herself founding member of said club, refusing to date again until graduation. It's like the exact opposite of American Pie! Other girls quickly join, taking the same oath and forming a movement that throws the high school into an uproar. Producer Cathy Schullman notes the story as "a terrific female empowerment message to a younger set." Honestly, I'm up for anything giving stronger, empowering roles to actresses, especially after a very stagnant year for captivating female performances which will make things somewhat interesting comes awards time.
On the other end of the spectrum, Lane Garrison's One Heart will delve into the hardships of Gainseville's 2008 season in which they lost every game and were outscored 300-14. The Tornadoes then went on the road to play Faith Christian School, whose coach mobilized his community so that the town cheered not for his Faith Lions but for Gainesville. Spoiler alert: The Tornadoes still lost, but it wasn't a wipeout. And for the first time, the players felt like a team and not the sum total of their crimes.
Of course Garrison had plenty of time to understand the criminal aspect of this story as he made his way through eight different prisons and thousands of inmates during his 18 months in jail on a conviction of vehicular manslaughter. And as much of a cliche inspirational sports movie that this project sounds like, it's obviously one that is very personal to Garrison. "I was moved to tears, because I knew who those kids were because I was one of them. I knew what it was to be locked away and feel hopelessness and feel like, 'Will I ever have another redeeming quality; will I have a second chance?'"
For my money, I'm willing to give both of these projects a chance. They're not the most original, but it should be a nice change of pace from the plethora of sequels and remakes on the way.