“Touchback,” out on DVD Tuesday, is a feel-good tale of a down-on-his-luck guy who gets a chance to do things differently.
Scott Murphy (Brian Presley) was a Blue-Chip Football phenom in his small Ohio town. He's set to play for Ohio State and sees a great future ahead as a quarterback in the NFL.
All he has to do is get through his team's state championship game.
After a Joe Theismann-type injury ends his football career, Scott settles down in his hometown. Fifteen years later, he's married to a local girl with two daughters. He grows soybeans in a town ruled by corn crops. He's a good guy, well-respected, but barely scraping by.
He avoids football, even when his former football mentor, Coach Hand (Kurt Russell) offers him a job coaching the quarterbacks.
After a visit from a former teammate who is living it up in the NFL with Scott's ex-cheerleader girlfriend, Scott tries not to think about what might have been.
As summer turns to fall, his luck goes downhill and he hits a breaking point. He contemplates a foolish move and awakens in the past.
It's just before the big game. He's living back at home with his single mother Thelma (Christine Lahti) and dating the cheerleader.
Like all great “what-if” stories, he's come back equipped with 15 years of knowledge of what has happened and wonders if he can change just enough to keep what he loves in the future and rid himself of the things that held him back.
First off, he befriends Macy (Melanie Lynskey), the woman he married. She had taken care of him in the hospital after the accident and he fell hard for her. Of course, in high school, she can't figure out why the most popular boy in school is paying attention to her.
His team is playing the state championship game at home, because Ohio State has just installed a grass playing field and has a game of their own on the books.
Their opponent, Cuyahoga, is a football powerhouse and the odds are against Scott's team.
Game night comes and Scott must make the tough decision. Does he go with the play that can win the game and wreck his leg and his life, or does he do the safe thing, let someone else make the play and change his future?
“Touchback” is a tight little football game of a movie. Each quarter is well told, the characters are well played and believable. It's a family-friendly film with neighbors who are good-hearted and decisions that take moral courage to make.
There are several Oklahomans in the movie. Presley played quarterback at Jenks High School, and if you look closely at the Cuyhoga coaching staff, check out Barry Sanders.
This movie was released in 2011, but played in less than 100 theaters, so didn't do much business.
That could play in your favor. This is a movie worth watching at home with friends and family.
— Sandi Davis