The Abbate family of Marietta, Georgia lost 15-year-old Luke in a tragic car accident on his way home from school in 2006. Later that year, older brother Jon Abbate, a junior at Wake Forest University and a defensive linebacker for the Demon Deacons, received permission to change his jersey number to 5, the same number worn by Luke in high school field hockey. The Abbates also honored Luke by sparking a season-long tradition of holding up five fingers during the 4th quarter of every football game, thus renaming it the 5th quarter. These actions helped inspire the Deacons to their most successful season in the school's history, going 11-2 and winning the conference championship.
Sure sounds like a recipe for a heartfelt and inspiring sports film. If only The 5th Quarter did the story justice.
First, it's hard to call this a football movie when 30 minutes pass before a football-related scene; the first game doesn't even happen until the film's midpoint. Granted, Luke died several months before football season, but there's probably less than a half hour of total game footage in The 5th Quarter. And footage is the right word; real shots from the games are intercut with new scenes of the actors cheering on the sidelines and in the stands. The results are choppy montages of football with no real semblance of what's happening in the game aside from the occasional touchdown and blocked kick.
More importantly, The 5th Quarter dodges the main point: How did Jon Abbate and his family find hope in tragedy to inspire the Deacons to win football games? Did the team play better in the 4th (5th) quarter because of the outstretched hands of fans? Was their successful run due to what happened on the field or behind the scenes?
It's never made ...1
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The 5th Quarter
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