Absorbing Life Lessons
Starring: Brian Presley, Melanie , Kurt
Russell, Christine Lahti, Marc
Blucas, Sarah Wright, Drew
Powell, Sianda Smit-McPhee,
Steve Turner, Kevin Covais,
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 121 minutes
Distributor: Anchor Bay Films/Liberty Media
Director: Don Handfield
Executive Producer: George Furla, Randall Emmett,
Alexandra Klipstein, Patricia
Eberle, Richard Rionda, Del
Castro, Shannon Gardner, Derek
Beumer, Michael Corso, Anthony
Gudas, Paul Ross, Tony Stack
Producer: Brian Presley, Kevin Matusow,
Writer: Don Handfield
Address Comments To:John Malone, Chairman
Greg Maffei, President/CEO, Liberty Media
Bill Clark, President, Anchor Bay Films
Chris Albrecht, CEO/President, Starz Media
(Starz Entertainment/Anchor Bay Films)
2950 North Hollywood Way, 3d Floor
Burbank, CA 91505
Phone: (818) 748-4000; Fax: (818) 748-4619
The story in TOUCHBBACK focuses on Scott Murphy, a farmer and part-time firefighter in Coldwater, Ohio. In high school, Scott was on the brink of getting a major football scholarship from Ohio State. However, he badly injured his knee scoring the winning touchdown in the state championship against a much bigger high school team from Cleveland.
Fifteen years later, Scott is struggling to make his farm work and to feed his wife, Macy, and their two young daughters. Tragedy strikes in the form of a frost. The frost threatens Scott’s soybean crop. If he can’t harvest the beans that very day, he will lose his farm, which is on the brink of foreclosure. He gets the last harvesting machine available, but the machine breaks down.
Sadly, Scott decides the only way out is suicide, so that his family can collect the fireman insurance he has. He stuffs a rag in his old rusted truck’s tailpipe. As the deadly smoke fills the truck’s cab. Scott is suddenly thrust back to his high school days, the week before the big championship game. Scott figures he has a chance to change history, but if he changes history, he might just lose his future wife, Macy. Scott has some choices to make.
TOUCHBACK is one of those “change-your-destiny” movies in the vein of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. It’s very well edited and directed, with excellent acting by the whole cast. The two leads who play Scott and Macy are ably supported by two veterans, Kurt Russell as Scott’s high school coach and Christine Lahti as Scott’s mother. As a result, TOUCHBACK is a very compelling and absorbing movie that holds the viewer’s attention throughout.
Of course, TOUCHBACK doesn’t reach the heights of emotional greatness of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, but very few movies do that. The problem that stops it from being a four-star movie is a plot point that occurs in the third act. It involves the solution to how Scott returns to the present day intact, alive instead of dead. The solution the filmmakers create is an unexplained Deus Ex Machina device. Basically, it’s an unexpected, artificial solution to Scott’s situation. In fact, the scene plays as if a quirk of fate entered the story to save Scott from himself. This scene occurs right before the movie’s morally uplifting, touching ending, so it doesn’t really ruin the picture. So, many viewers may not notice it or be bothered by it.
There’s a lot of light foul language in TOUCHBACK. Also, there’s a somewhat comical scene featuring some nude skinny-dipping at night, though nothing salacious is shown. In a couple other scenes, Scott’s old flame in high school, a pretty cheerleader, makes a couple light innuendoes about making out with Scott. Finally, TOUCHBACK imparts some strong, morally uplifting life lessons. For instance, it shows other people helping a person in need. Also, Scott, the protagonist, learns to do the right thing, no matter what the cost. That said, these positive lessons occur without reference to God or the Bible. So, there’s no real solid foundation for the movie’s promotion of right over wrong. Overall, therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children.
TOUCHBACK is well shot, edited, and directed, with excellent acting by the whole cast. There are a couple minor plot problems, however. There’s also a lot of light foul language in TOUCHBACK. Finally, there’s a somewhat comical scene featuring nude skinny-dipping at night and some light innuendo. That said, TOUCHBACK imparts some strong, morally uplifting life lessons. However, it does so without reference to God or the Bible. Overall, therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children.