Family TV Movie 'Field of Vision' a clear winner
Young and old alike will enjoy this movie that addresses a serious topic: bullying.
Mysterious footage captured on an old video camera shows star quarterback Tyler McFarland that some of his teammates have been bullying Cory Walker, the new transfer student. Standing up for Cory may just cost him everything. Will he do the right thing?
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The story is intriguing. A mysterious old video camera captures footage that shows Tyler McFarland (Tony Oller), the all-star quarterback at Sinclair High School, that his teammates are bullying the new transfer student, Cory Walker. Walker, an orphan shuffled from foster home to foster home already has enough problems when the bullies make him a target.
Tyler has a choice to make: ignore the video or share with his coach and risk losing the state championship.
The camera also reveals a message to Tyler's sister, Lucy (Alyssa Jordan Shafer) about Cory's life that could make a difference in the young man's future. The problem is convincing her mom (Faith Ford) that the video is real and not simply her imagination.
When you add to the mix a supportive father (Philip Casnoff), an ethical coach (L. Warren Young), and a bully (Dane Davenport), you have an interesting drama unfolding.
Each of the key characters is faced, in his or her own way, with making a decision to do the right thing, despite the expected cost.
Even though I'm a grandfather, I found the moving engaging and compelling. Whatever your age, you can remember bullies of the past, think about those you now face or prepare for the inevitable.
The producers of Family Movie Night reported that according to a recent Public Agenda survey, nearly three-quarters (74%) of Americans consider bullying harassment a serious problem in their local public schools and more than 45 percent of students admitted to having been bullied, teased or taunted at school, as noted by a Josephson Institute of Ethics survey.
I had the opportunity of talking with Faith Ford, who plays the mother, Jody McFarland. You may remember her as Corky Sherwood on "Murphy Brown" or, more recently, in "Kiss at Midnight" and the just-released "Prom."
Ford said she was drawn to the part of the mother because, "she wasn't self-righteous, she wasn't a know-it-all, but she listened and easily guided by letting them figure it out for themselves. and she wasn't so perfect, she didn't have dinner on the table every night."
We talked about the fact that "Field of Vision" is a message film about bullying. The obvious focus is upon the victim, but we talked about the bullies themselves, wondering if they might get the message as well.
"Here's the deal with bullies," she said. "Nine times out of ten they are afraid of being unpopular so they make an unpopular choice that ultimately makes them popular in some way, even if it's a negative way, which is kind of what happens a lot in the entertainment business. People fall into that trap sometimes and quite frankly, with a little guidance, bullies can be saved from that web of destruction that they've created, too.
"I think we do a pretty good job of showing that in this movie, that there's even hope for him. Here's where I felt that they laid it out very well. It didn't come from just the fact that this was a new kid in school.
"It came from the fact that he embarrassed him. So, it touched an emotional, sensitive note for him. He needed to be the strong guy, the tough guy who is always right."
Casting for "Field of Vision" was extremely well done. Tony Oller is a young actor with a lot of additional versatility in singing and dancing, comes across like that all around good guy star quarterback in high school.
The standout to me, however, was Joe Adler who played Cory Walker. His portrayal of this orphan-victim was skillfully understated. You admired the young man rather than pitying him. Having appeared in a few TV shows like NCIS and Detroit 187, Adler has just made his feature film debut in "Prom," again cast with Faith Ford.
Field of Vision" is the latest presentation as a contribution to the Family Movie Night initiative by P&G and Walmart. Research had revealed parents across America are seeking more family-oriented entertainment options, so the two companies made a commitment to be part of the solution. According to a recent Omnibus survey, 69 percent (69%) of moms said they wished there were more family-friendly TV programs that they can enjoy with their kids, and 75 percent (75%) of moms admitted to having to change the channel because the program they thought was family-friendly actually had adult content.
"Field of Vision" airs Saturday, June 11 at 8:00pm ET on NBC.
Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Field of Vision, bullies, bully, bullying, Family Movie Night
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