Everybody's All-American (1988)

R | 127 mins | Drama, Romance | 4 November 1988

Director:

Taylor Hackford

Writer:

Tom Rickman

Cinematographer:

Stephen Goldblatt

Editor:

Don Zimmerman

Production Designer:

Joe Alves

Production Companies:

Warner Bros. Pictures , New Visions Productions
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HISTORY

The film begins with mock newsreel footage of “Gavin Grey” winning the 1956 Sugar Bowl for the Louisiana State University Tigers. Authentic black and white newsreel footage of Martin Luther King, Jr. and U.S. President John F. Kennedy is used to show the passage of time and the influence of cultural movements in the 1960s.
       End credits are superimposed over scenes from the film and football game footage, accompanied by the song, “Until Forever.”
       According to various contemporary sources, Tom Rickman’s adaptation of the 1981 Frank Deford novel, Everybody’s All-American, began development at Warner Bros. Pictures in the early 1980s. Michael Apted, who previously collaborated with Rickman on Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980, see entry), was signed to direct Tommy Lee Jones and Jessica Lange in the leading roles.
       Although the novel tells the story of a University of North Carolina football player, the 4 Jan 1984 Var reported that the school denied Warner Bros. use of its Chapel Hill campus for filming during the spring 1984 semester, claiming that the presence of a major motion picture crew would be too disruptive while classes were in session. As a result, production was temporarily stalled as filmmakers searched for a new location that would be available during the appropriate seasons. A 13 Jan 1984 HR brief stated that Warner Bros. grew nervous about the film’s $13--$15 million-plus budget and the disappointing box-office returns of Apted’s Gorky Park (1983, see entry), while the 26 Jan 1984 HR suggested the studio disapproved of Tommy Lee Jones as Gavin Grey. Lange reportedly refused to do the film without Jones, and the ... More Less

The film begins with mock newsreel footage of “Gavin Grey” winning the 1956 Sugar Bowl for the Louisiana State University Tigers. Authentic black and white newsreel footage of Martin Luther King, Jr. and U.S. President John F. Kennedy is used to show the passage of time and the influence of cultural movements in the 1960s.
       End credits are superimposed over scenes from the film and football game footage, accompanied by the song, “Until Forever.”
       According to various contemporary sources, Tom Rickman’s adaptation of the 1981 Frank Deford novel, Everybody’s All-American, began development at Warner Bros. Pictures in the early 1980s. Michael Apted, who previously collaborated with Rickman on Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980, see entry), was signed to direct Tommy Lee Jones and Jessica Lange in the leading roles.
       Although the novel tells the story of a University of North Carolina football player, the 4 Jan 1984 Var reported that the school denied Warner Bros. use of its Chapel Hill campus for filming during the spring 1984 semester, claiming that the presence of a major motion picture crew would be too disruptive while classes were in session. As a result, production was temporarily stalled as filmmakers searched for a new location that would be available during the appropriate seasons. A 13 Jan 1984 HR brief stated that Warner Bros. grew nervous about the film’s $13--$15 million-plus budget and the disappointing box-office returns of Apted’s Gorky Park (1983, see entry), while the 26 Jan 1984 HR suggested the studio disapproved of Tommy Lee Jones as Gavin Grey. Lange reportedly refused to do the film without Jones, and the project was shelved for what the 2 Apr 1984 DV called “budgetary considerations.” During this time, Rickman tailored the role of “Babs” specifically for Lange, hoping she would come aboard to reteam with Country (1984, see entry) director Richard Pearce, who was briefly attached as Apted’s replacement.
       Three years later, the 10 Sep 1987 DV reported Lange was still committed to star alongside Dennis Quaid for director Taylor Hackford. According to a 13 Nov 1988 LAHExam news story, Hackford first read the script during its development. Although he initially worried the subject matter was too similar to his other football-themed film, Against All Odds (1984, see entry), he eventually reconsidered. A 7 Oct 1987 HR article stated that Hackford wanted to shoot in Mississippi, but was met with opposition from state officials, who claimed the script’s racial subtext represented them in a negative light. In addition, Lange was unavailable until Jan 1988, and production could not film in Mississippi during the winter.
       As an alternative, the Greys’ alma mater was changed to Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, where two weeks of filming began on 7 Nov 1987. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that during this time, Hackford shot footage of the LSU pregame and halftime activities at Tiger Stadium, which were used to provide atmosphere for scenes featuring Quaid. The opening pep rally scene was shot in front of the State Capitol Building, with 1,500 students appearing as background actors. After a holiday break, production resumed 26 Jan 1988, on locations including the Country Club of Louisiana; a bankrupt restaurant; the deserted Capitol House Hotel, which stood in for the Greys’ Washington, D.C. apartment; the Charbonnet and Nottoway plantations; and a suburban home in St. Francisville, LA. The wedding night scene was filmed at a private lakeside residence, while the historic Spanish Town neighborhood served as the setting for the race between Gavin and “Narvel Blue.”
       Following extensive research at NFL (National Football League) Films in Mount Laurel, NJ, Hackford spent two weeks rehearsing the professional football sequences with players who were hired to reenact several difficult and historic plays. The games were staged at Baton Rouge’s Southern University and the War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, AK, and shot using the “tough, gritty texture” of 16mm film to provide a visual match to the NFL footage in the Denver Broncos sequences. According to the 2 May 1988 issue of Time magazine, Quaid broke his collarbone during one of the plays, and footage of the injury can be seen in the final film.
       An 18 Mar 1988 HR item indicated that principal photography was expected to conclude shortly, and the 7 Oct 1987 DV listed the production cost as $22 million.
       While several contemporary sources indicated the picture was originally scheduled to open in Dec 1988, the film’s release date was pushed up to 4 Nov 1988. Reviews were mixed, and the Jan 1989 Box reported an $11.5 million gross after four weeks in theaters.
       End credits state: “The Producers Gratefully Acknowledge the following for their assistance: The Administration & Faculty of Louisiana State University; L.S.U. Athletic Department; L.S.U. Marching Band; City of Baton Rouge; N.F.L. Films; N.F.L. Properties; UCLA Film and Television Archive; ‘John F. Kennedy—Years of Lightning, Day of Drums’ excerpt appears courtesy of The John F. Kennedy Center For the Performing Arts, produced by George Stevens, Jr.; ‘Sports Illustrated’ is a registered trademark of Time, Inc. used with permission. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jan 1989
Section R, p. 113.
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1984
p. 1, 12.
Daily Variety
10 Sep 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Oct 1987
p. 1, 26.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 1988
p. 5, 8.
LAHExam
13 Nov 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
4 Nov 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
4 Nov 1988
Section C, p. 17.
Time
2 May 1988
p. 95.
Variety
4 Jan 1984.
---
Variety
22 Feb 1984.
---
Variety
2 Nov 1988
p. 23.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Warner Bros. presents
a New Visions production
a Taylor Hackford film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d asst dir, Football unit
2d 2d asst dir, Football unit
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Rigging gaffer
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Cam op, Football unit
Asst cam, Football unit
Asst cam, Football unit
Asst cam, Football unit
Steadicam op, Football unit
2d cam op, Football unit
2d cam asst, Football unit
Key grip, Football unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Leadperson
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Stand-by painter
COSTUMES
Men's cost supv
Costumer
Women's cost supv
Costumer, Football unit
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus ed
Orch cond
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Supv ADR ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd ed
Sd mixer, Football crew
Boom op, Football unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Opticals
Titles des by
Spec eff supv, Football unit
MAKEUP
Spec makeup des by
Spec makeup asst by
Makeup supv
Makeup artist
Supv hairstylist
Hairstylist
Ms. Lange's hair des by
Makeup, Football unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Loc mgr
New Visions V.P. Development
Prod assoc
Prod liaison
Prod office coord
Prod secy
Asst to Mr. Hackford
Prod accountant
Loc projectionist
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Loc casting
Extras casting
Prod runner
Prod runner
Prod runner
Office asst
Office asst
Tiger handler
Tiger handler
Spec consultant
Spec consultant
Spec consultant
Spec consultant
Spec consultant
Craft service
Football crowd, Football unit
Coach/Tech adv, Football unit
Asst coach, Football unit
Trainer, Football unit
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Everybody's All-American by Frank Deford (New York, 1981).
AUTHOR
SONGS
“Touchdown For L.S.U.,” performed by L.S.U. Marching Band, written by Huey P. Long & Castro Carazo
“The Way You Look Tonight,” performed by The Jaguars, courtesy of Original Sound Record Co. Inc., written by Dorothy Fields & Jerome Kern
“Fight For L.S.U.,” performed by L.S.U. Marching Band, written by Castro Carazo & W. G. Higginbotham
+
SONGS
“Touchdown For L.S.U.,” performed by L.S.U. Marching Band, written by Huey P. Long & Castro Carazo
“The Way You Look Tonight,” performed by The Jaguars, courtesy of Original Sound Record Co. Inc., written by Dorothy Fields & Jerome Kern
“Fight For L.S.U.,” performed by L.S.U. Marching Band, written by Castro Carazo & W. G. Higginbotham
“Finger Poppin’ Time,” performed by Hank Ballard, courtesy of Gusto Records, Inc., written by Hank Ballard
“Tiger Rag,” performed by L.S.U. Marching Band, written by H.W. Ragas , James D. La Rocca, Larry Shields, Anthony Sbarbaro, Edwin B. Edwards & Harry De Costa
“You’ll Lose A Good Thing,” performed by Barbara Lynn, courtesy of Jamie Record Co., written by Barbara Lynn Ozen & Heavy Neaux
“Roly Poly,” performed by Charmaine Neville & Innovations, written by Oliver Bendt, Joachim Petersen, & Ernest Clinton
“I Need Your Lovin’,” performed by Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford, courtesy of Roulette Records, a division of AFZ Music Corp., written by Don Gardner, Morris Levy, James McDougal & Clarence Lewis
“Hot Nuts,” performed by Charmaine Neville & Innovations, written by Doug Clark
“Let’s Twist Again,” performed by Kicks, written by Kal Mann & Dave Appell
“Baby, Let Me Bang Your Box,” performed by Charmaine Neville & Innovations, written by Steve Verroca
“Ohh Poo Pah Doo,” performed by Jessie Hill, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., written by Jessie Hill
“Feel So Good,” performed by Shirley & Lee, courtesy of EMI a division of Capitol Records Inc., written by Leonard Lee
“Everybody Loves Somebody,” performed by Dean Martin, courtesy of Sasha Corp. by arrangement with Warner Special Products, written by Irving Taylor & Ken Lane
“One Night,” performed by Shirley Lewis, courtesy of Capitol Records Inc., written by Dave Bartholomew & Pearl King
“Let’s Twist Again,” performed by Chubby Checker, courtesy of Dominion Entertainment Inc., written by Kal Mann & Dave Appell
“Just Because,” performed by Lloyd Price, courtesy of MCA Records, written by Lloyd Price
“It’s Not For Me To Say,” performed by Johnny Mathis, courtesy of CBS Records, written by Al Stillman & Robert Allen
“When I Fall In Love,” performed by Nat King Cole, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., written by Edward Heyman & Victor Young
“Working In The Coal Mine,” performed by Lee Dorsey, under license from Arista Records, Inc., written by Allen Toussaint
“Rockin’ Pneumonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu,” performed by Huey Smith & The Clowns, courtesy of Ace Records, written by Huey P. Smith & John Vincent
“Hey Nineteen,” performed by Steely Dan, courtesy of MCA Records, written by Walter Becker & Donald Fagen
“Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” performed by Lloyd Price, courtesy of Speciality Records, Inc., written by Lloyd Price
“Until Forever,” performed by Deitra Hicks & Evan Rogers, produced & arranged by Narada Michael Walden, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., written by James Newton Howard, Glen Ballard & Narada Michael Walden.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 November 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 4 November 1988
Production Date:
7--late November 1987
26 January--March 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
16 December 1988
Copyright Number:
PA395857
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Black and White
gauge
35mm, 16mm
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
127
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29478
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After scoring the winning touchdown in the 1956 Sugar Bowl, Louisiana State University Tigers football player Gavin Grey is celebrated as a local hero and earns the moniker “The Grey Ghost.” At the beginning of his senior season, Gavin asks his studious nephew, Donnie “Cake” McCaslin, to escort his girl friend, Babs Rogers, to the first game. Cake complies, and is instantly smitten with the aspiring pageant queen’s beauty and charm. Although in awe of Gavin’s popularity, Cake is warmly welcomed into his social circle. One afternoon, Gavin’s teammate, Edward Lawrence, introduces the boys to his African-American friend, Narvel Blue, a former high school football star now working in a barbecue restaurant. Impressed by “The Grey Ghost’s” reputation, Blue races Gavin in a 100-yard dash. Although the outcome appears to be a tie, Blue graciously concedes victory to Gavin. Sometime later, Babs learns she cannot compete in the Miss Louisiana and Miss America beauty pageants unless she postpones her engagement to Gavin for at least two years. Gavin encourages her to follow her dreams, but Babs insists she wants nothing more than to be “Mrs. Gavin Grey.” At the end of another undefeated season, Gavin leads the Tigers to a second consecutive Sugar Bowl victory. He and Babs marry, and soon after, Gavin is drafted by the Washington Redskins. Shocked by the brutality of professional football, Babs suggests Gavin invest his postseason bonus money into starting a fallback business. Sometime later, he and Lawrence open a popular restaurant in Baton Rouge, and Babs becomes pregnant. Gavin offers Narvel Blue a chance to try out for the Redskins, but Blue declines, believing his football days are behind him. Over the ... +


After scoring the winning touchdown in the 1956 Sugar Bowl, Louisiana State University Tigers football player Gavin Grey is celebrated as a local hero and earns the moniker “The Grey Ghost.” At the beginning of his senior season, Gavin asks his studious nephew, Donnie “Cake” McCaslin, to escort his girl friend, Babs Rogers, to the first game. Cake complies, and is instantly smitten with the aspiring pageant queen’s beauty and charm. Although in awe of Gavin’s popularity, Cake is warmly welcomed into his social circle. One afternoon, Gavin’s teammate, Edward Lawrence, introduces the boys to his African-American friend, Narvel Blue, a former high school football star now working in a barbecue restaurant. Impressed by “The Grey Ghost’s” reputation, Blue races Gavin in a 100-yard dash. Although the outcome appears to be a tie, Blue graciously concedes victory to Gavin. Sometime later, Babs learns she cannot compete in the Miss Louisiana and Miss America beauty pageants unless she postpones her engagement to Gavin for at least two years. Gavin encourages her to follow her dreams, but Babs insists she wants nothing more than to be “Mrs. Gavin Grey.” At the end of another undefeated season, Gavin leads the Tigers to a second consecutive Sugar Bowl victory. He and Babs marry, and soon after, Gavin is drafted by the Washington Redskins. Shocked by the brutality of professional football, Babs suggests Gavin invest his postseason bonus money into starting a fallback business. Sometime later, he and Lawrence open a popular restaurant in Baton Rouge, and Babs becomes pregnant. Gavin offers Narvel Blue a chance to try out for the Redskins, but Blue declines, believing his football days are behind him. Over the next six years, Gavin continues to play for the Redskins and moves into a new house with Babs and their infant son. As the Civil Rights Movement sweeps the nation, Cake sees Blue brutally beaten during a sit-in protest and regrets not doing something to stop it. Tired of running the restaurant alone, Lawrence suggests that he and Cake visit Gavin in Washington, D.C. During their trip, Gavin tells Cake he is lonesome and has not made any close friends since college. The next night, Cake takes Babs dancing for her twenty-ninth birthday. She thanks him for the wonderful evening, but begins to cry over the realization that she does not have much of a life outside her marriage. Determined to lighten the mood, she summons Cake to go skinny-dipping. As he nervously watches her undress, she warns him not to misinterpret the invitation because she is pregnant with her third child. Once the baby is born, Babs exercises to get into shape before presenting an award to the new Miss Magnolia Queen, a title she held back in 1956. Crazed by the sight of his wife in her old ball gown, Gavin whisks her off stage to make love in one of the hotel bedrooms, which results in another pregnancy. One night, three masked men break into the restaurant after hours and murder Lawrence. Assuming the assailants were black, Gavin appeals to Narvel Blue, now a respected civil rights activist and restaurateur, to help find them. While Gavin is away playing football, Blue informs Babs that Lawrence was killed by loan sharks for failing to pay his gambling debts, and that he bankrupted the business. As financial hardship sets in, Babs’s former pageant sponsor, Bolling Kiely, offers to purchase the property if Gavin allows him to use his name to promote it. Because Gavin refuses to be involved, Babs accepts the deal and ends up running the restaurant on his behalf. Although she despises working for Kiely, she realizes she is a talented businesswoman. In the 1970s, Gavin retires from professional football. After accepting a commemorative jersey at a press conference, he turns down dinner plans with Babs and Cake in favor of partying with his former teammates. Returning to the house to pack for their move back to Louisiana, Babs relishes the thought of no longer being just a “player’s wife.” When she jokingly questions Cake about his perpetual bachelorhood, he confesses his lifelong attraction to her and says she has “ruined” him for all other women. Flattered, Babs kisses him, and they make love on the living room floor. The next morning, Cake awakens on the couch to find Babs making breakfast for Gavin, who is still drunk from the night before and does not suspect anything. During retirement, Gavin splits his time playing golf, working as a celebrity spokesman, and appearing at the restaurant, where he regales the patrons with old football stories. However, he quickly grows tired of the charade and accepts an offer to play for the Denver Broncos in Colorado. Refusing to uproot their family, Babs stays behind and gets a job managing Blue’s chicken restaurant, eventually helping him launch a campaign for the state legislature. Meanwhile, Cake accepts that his love for Babs will always be unrequited, and takes a job as a college professor in Pennsylvania. After sustaining several injuries, Gavin realizes he no longer feels fulfilled by the game of football and goes home to Louisiana. In 1981, Cake returns for Gavin and Babs’s twenty-fifth college homecoming reunion and brings his fiancée, Leslie Stone. Gavin asks Cake, an established historical biographer, to write his memoir, in which he hopes to chronicle “what it used to feel like to be a hero.” He confides his suspicion that Babs is having an affair, but Babs denies it. At the reunion, Gavin and the 1956 football team walk onto the field in honor of their historic Sugar Bowl win. Overwhelmed by the memories of his former glory, Gavin rushes out of the stadium. Cake assures his uncle that Babs has always been faithful, but Gavin deduces the truth about their brief affair. At the dinner reception, Gavin gives a speech dedicating his success and happiness to Babs. Cake encourages Babs to join her husband onstage, where she and Gavin kiss in front of a cheering crowd. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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