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Parents' Guide to

The Akron Holy War

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

High school football rivalry docu has mild profanity.

Movie PG 2017 95 minutes
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This well-meaning sports documentary doesn't break any new ground. Besides being known as a hub for tire manufacturing in the 20th century and the hometown of the members of Devo, Akron, Ohio, is also known in some circles for a storied high school football rivalry. The Akron Holy War attempts to present the history of the rivalry between the Archbishop Hoban Knights and the St. Vincent/St. Mary Knights, the passion and intensity that drives the rivalry, and why this rivalry is different from the countless other high school football rivalries spanning the United States. Unfortunately, while this rivalry is clearly shown to mean a lot to the coaches, players, parents, and students who have taken part, the documentary fails at making this rivalry relevant for anyone living outside of northeastern Ohio.

One of the problems is that it's redundant. Basically, most of the movie is an endless succession of low-quality home video or sportscasts from old games paired with the recollections of the kinds of middle-aged guys who populate neighborhood bars throughout America and who are a little too eager to relive past gridiron glory. Over and over again, the dozens of testimonials try really hard to sell the audience on the idea that this rivalry is in fact "special" and "different" from other high school rivalries, but the narrative doesn't dig deeply enough to accomplish that. Hearing and seeing yet another spiel about this or that game and what it meant just gets boring after a while. That said, while this is no doubt a nice scrapbook in movie form for those who are passionate about this rivalry, it's difficult to imagine anyone outside the region being interested.

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