Commentary

April 13, 2012

Fly Over: Touchback

Written by: Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
More articles by »
Touchback movie poster
W

hat if you could go back and have a chance to redo the most important, tragic and pivotal day of your life? Would you make different decisions, knowing it would change your life’s trajectory?

That is the opportunity, and dilemma, facing Scott Murphy (played by Brian Presley) in “Touchback,” a film written and directed by Don Handfield. Presley is best known for his TV credits, which include “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “7th Heaven,” and “General Hospital.”

Part drama, part fantasy, in “Touchback,” the Sci Fi Channel meets Lifetime meets ABC Family. In many ways, it struck me as a modern take on a famous movie from the 1940s, which I won’t name so as to avoid spoilers.

The movie starts in the town of Coldwater, Ohio, in 1991. We see Murphy as the star quarterback of his high school football team win the state championship on the final play of the game. While diving into the end zone, however, he badly mangles his left leg, ending his football career and his dreams of getting out of the town he and his teammates derisively call “Backwater.”

Fast forward 15 years. Murphy, now with a beard, crow’s feet around his eyes and 30 extra pounds on his gut, is a farmer in Coldwater with a wife and two young daughters. He walks with a limp and inexplicably still wears a cumbersome brace on his left leg.

While he seems happy in his home life, his family is struggling financially. Circumstances deteriorate and he attempts suicide. The attempt apparently fails, but when he comes to, it’s the fall of 1991 and he has been reincarnated as a senior in high school, replete with his letter jacket and platinum blonde cheerleader girlfriend.

The championship game is coming up, again, and he must decide what choices to make this time around.

We can forgive the fact that a 34-year-old man is playing an 18-year-old high school football player; this of course happens all the time in Hollywood. With his golden boy good looks, Presley is convincing as Murphy, the quintessential high school jock, known – as we are reminded many times throughout the film – as “Mr. Football,” a title bestowed on him for being the best high school football player in the state.

Kurt Russell is great in a supporting role as Coach Hand, and a good ensemble of relatively unknown actors fills out the cast. The somewhat frumpy New Zealand-born actress Melanie Lynskey has a good turn as Murphy’s unlikely wife.

The movie does not examine how concepts of fate or free will come into play – that film would have been better and more interesting. Like Murphy himself, “Touchback” takes the time travel and reincarnation at face value, as just a stroke of good luck. Still, for a PG-13, family-oriented flick, it’s pretty good.

Touchback is rated PG-13.



About the Author

Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
Tristan Hinderliter is a full-time Public Affairs Officer and part-time pop culture critic. When he's not listening to the Adam Carolla Podcast, he's usually watching movies. His favorite directors include David Lynch, Paul Thomas Anderson, the Coen Brothers, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher and Alexander Payne.


All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

How do you stack up?

With upcoming changes to the enlisted performance report and Air Force promotion system, it’s important to understand how you stack up against your peers, not only within your job, but within your unit as well. The days of receiving time in grade and time in service points are numbered. They are being replaced with a...
 
 

CCAF offers jump on education

The Community College of the Air Force was established in 1972 to recognize academic achievements for technical training by Air Force schools. It awards an associate in applied science degree to enlisted members of the active-duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command who have completed the course work. Degree programs are...
 
 

Chaplain’s thoughts …

“You can’t gain weight, unless you overeat!” This gem of a quote from dear old dad is just one of many homespun lines of paternal wisdom that marked my childhood. My dad left little doubt about his opinions, which of course is the stuff that I dreaded as a child, yet qualitatively appreciate as an...
 

 

Fly Over: ‘Ant-Man’ and ‘Terminator Genisys’

‘Ant-Man’ The long-awaited movie so many of my friends were skeptical about has finally arrived. “Ant-Man” is by far one of the most hilarious and awesome movies “Marvel” has released. In a way it is an origin piece, but don’t let this deter you from seeing it. In the movie, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is...
 
 

This week in history

1965: Project Skoshi Tiger The 4503rd Tactical Fighter Squadron (Provisional F-5 Evaluation Squadron No. 1) activated 50 years ago to conduct the operational testing of the F-5A, known as Project Skoshi Tiger. In the late 1950s, most countries lacked the money for enough frontline jet fighters to defend themselves. Therefore, they often bought older, cheaper,...
 
 

Apply 6S for leadership success

Over the last 20 years of my Air Force career, there seems to have always been a common theme regarding our resources: reductions, reductions and more reductions. Some of the cutbacks to our resources have included less money in our annual budgets, fewer aircraft added to our inventory and fewer personnel added to our overall...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>