It seems like only a matter of time before there will be a movie based on the life of Brett Favre. A larger-than-life gunslinger who became a football ironman after being given up on by the Atlanta Falcons after one year, he’s right out of central casting – from the ability to play injured to his southern drawl to his love of playing the game.
A documentary film – Last Day At Lambeau – by first-time director Michael Neelsen is scheduled to debut at the annual Wisconsin Film Festival next month as one of the headline feature films of the festival.
The documentary, which will be shown to festival judges at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at the Manona Terrace in Madison, depicts the ugly divorce between the Packers and Favre, who came out of retirement and forced the hand of the Packers to either trade him or release him. The trade to the Jets, which was tied up with a clause that would make New York compensate the Packers with a pair of first-round picks if they traded Favre to the Vikings, only cemented the animosity. It covers the time span from early 2008 when Favre threw his last pass as a Packer – an interception in overtime that led to the Giants’ game-winning field goal that sent them to the Super Bowl – until Oct. 24, 2010, Favre’s last pass thrown at Lambeau Field, which was an incompletion that skidded off the hands of Randy Moss to end a furious comeback.
The film has been described as “even-handed” – neither lionizing nor vilifying Favre or the process that led to his exodus from Green Bay. That isn’t an easy proposition, since Favre is as identifiable with anyone in Packer history with the exception of Vince Lombardi.
The documentary is centered more around how fans of the NFL identify with players and the feeling that they are somehow members of their own extended family, as opposed to the hard-and-fast business decisions made by NFL executives when it comes to molding the future of the franchise. The film doesn’t deal with the gamble the Packers (rightly) took in putting their confidence in Aaron Rodgers, but deals much more with the love-hate relationship fans have with their heroes.
The film will includes interviews conducted with Packers radio play-by-play man Wayne Larrivee and Vikings play-by-play man Paul Allen – two men with the same job, but on the opposite side of the NFC North Mason-Dixon line.
Like him. Love him. Hate him. Favre is an icon for a reason. Years from now, Hollywood might put his story on celluloid. Until then, the Palme d’Or of the Wisconsin Film Festival awaits. Favre may not be playing, but his biopic is.
Former Viking Brad Culpepper, who went on to create a niche for himself in the Tampa area later in his career, weighed in on the bounty issue, saying on an Orlando radio station last week that the Vikings practiced moves that would drive a quarterback into the ground during a sack – implicating both Dennis Green and Tony Dungy, the latter of which you shouldn’t ought to do. His quote was, “If you pull on (the quarterback’s) arm and land on their shoulder, you can dislocate it and then they’re out. We used to practice that, too.” The quote is the typical tough talk of former players who claim their era was the toughest the game has ever seen. That’s how defensive players talk. It’s who they are. However, it doesn’t pass the sniff test.
The Packers are rumored to be interested in signing defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove, who was instrumental in the “Beat Down Brett” flashpoint at the center of the Bountygate scandal. The Vikings hope that they sign him quickly, before Roger Goodell brings the hammer down and turns a 16-game season into an eight-to-12-game schedule. It’s a bad time to be a Saints defensive free agent, which may explain the release of Remi Ayodele, who is likely also subject to suspension.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.