Sport has brought about plenty of good stories featuring tragedies and people overcoming them. The Fifth Quarter (directed by Rick Bieber) features both. Tragedy and heroism is usually a winning combination for a good film. This time, however, they don’t really add up to a win. Which is unfortunate because I think many won’t watch the film based on the quality and the story is an inspiring one.
Luke (Stefan Guy –first film) is a lacrosse and football player at his high school. His older brother Jon (Ryan Merriman – Final Destination 3, The Ring Two) was a star football player at the same school and is now going to school and playing at Wake Forest. Luke plans to follow in his older brother’s footsteps.
After school one day Luke gets a lift home from a friend and they get into an accident. He sustains a serious brain trauma as a result and is in a coma. Jon returns home from Wake Forest to be at his bedside. Despite the medial team’s best efforts the injury is too severe. No blood is getting to Luke’s brain. After some initial hesitations, his family decides to donate his organs. The hospital finds five recipients. For instance, his heart goes into a young mother living in Albany, New York.
Jon returns to school. He is having a hard time dealing with his brother’s death. Deciding it is best, he takes some time off, returns home and trains hard. When he comes back to the team it is time for the season opener. Jon decides to wear his brother’s number five in honor of him. Wake Forest, a team no one gave a snowball’s chance in hell, plays well despite the fact that they lose their starting quarterback and running back. They start the season 5-0. Fans start a salute in honor of Luke at home games in which the raise their hands with their five fingers extended. They call it the 5th quarter.
While Wake Forest is doing well, Jon’s mother (Andie MacDowell – Sex, Lies and Videotape, Monte Carlo) isn’t and his father (Aiden Quinn – Legends of the Fall, Unknown) doesn’t seem to be equipped to help her. The death of their son has left a hole in the once happy and stable Abbate family.
After a loss to Clemson, Wake Forest regroups and starts winning again. Wake Forest is going to play Georgia Tech for the ACC Championship. A team predicted to finish last is now competing for the championship. A season dedicated to the memory of his brother was becoming a miracle one for his family.
Everything from the production values to the acting on the film reeks of amateur hour. Nothing seems very realistic, which is a shame as it is based on a true story. The acting is not great and the dialogue is even worse. The editing is horrid as the story jumps all over the place. This causes you to watch it an instead of being moved and inspired you end up feeling the whole thing is a little forced. 15 yard penalty to everyone involved.
-The Making of The 5th Quarter