"Rudy Meets It’s a Wonderful Life"
What You Need To Know:
The production quality of GREATER is excellent. It is well written and entertaining. Brandon’s heartwarming story keeps viewers involved for practically the whole 130 minutes. It’s clear from the beginning that Brandon is a strong Christian who feels called by God to become a football player. He cites his faith throughout the movie and witnesses to his fellow players. Even through adversity, he remains humble and determined. However, GREATER has some brief but light foul language, alcohol use and intense moments, so discernment is required for younger children.
(CCC, BBB, L, V, N, AA, D, M) Very strong Christian, biblical worldview supports trusting in God, witnessing to others, family togetherness, church attendance, prayer, and Bible study; three utterances of a**, one “butt,” one “suck,” one reference to “sex specs,” a man vomits; football gameplay gets rough in some places; no sexual content; men shown in their underwear in a locker room, man shown wrapped in a towel; one scene of drunkenness, references to alcohol throughout, a man holds an alcohol bottle, college students drink; a man smokes a cigarette; and, some bullying and protagonist’s father is an alcoholic separated from mother.
GREATER is the true story of Brandon Burlsworth, considered one of the greatest walk-on football players in American history.
Shortly after getting drafted for the Indianapolis Colts, Brandon died tragically in a car accident. Leading up to his death, however, is a touching story of how he beat the odds to gain a full-ride football scholarship at the University of Arkansas.
Brandon grew up in Harrisburg, Arkansas, in the 1990s. Having always been a “big kid,” Brandon struggles to succeed in football. However, he doesn’t let his struggles his dream of earning a football scholarship for the University of Arkansas. Through trust in God and a consistent regimen, Brandon is able to make it to the University, not on a scholarship, but as a walk-on.
Weighing in at 300 pounds, and desperate to play on the team, Brandon soon works his way down to 260 pounds. The coaches, impressed by his dedication and rapidly increasing skills, offer him a full-ride scholarship and a starting position.
Brandon’s joyful and humble attitude inspires his team members to work harder, and he eventually led them to a winning season. In 1998, Brandon was named Arkansas’ first All-American football player since 1993, and was selected in the NFL’s third round of drafts in 1999.
Brandon was killed in a car accident eleven days after being drafted. GREATER opens on the day of Brandon’s funeral, and follows his story as his family members mourn and reminisce about Brandon’s successful college career.
Throughout his life, Brandon was sure that had had a purpose for him. He felt called to play on the Razorbacks football team. His mother was always supportive, but his brother, Marty, was skeptical. How could a “chunky kid” like Brandon get into a college football team, let alone on a scholarship?
As Brandon’s career progresses, Marty learns that it’s not enough just to hear God’s call: you have to act on it. Brandon’s obedience to God’s plan has more important outcomes than anyone predicts. While Marty grieves his brother’s death, he comes to realize the true reach of Brandon’s godly influence on his friends and teammates.
The production quality of GREATER is excellent, and the movie is well written and entertaining. Brandon’s heartwarming story keeps the viewer involved for the whole time. It’s clear from the beginning that Brandon is a strong Christian, and he feels called by God to become a football player. He cites his faith throughout the movie and witnesses to his fellow players. Even through adversity, he remains humble and determined. However, GREATER has some brief but light foul language, alcohol and cigarette use, and some intense moments, so discernment is required for young children.