The Texas high school that served as the inspiration behind Buzz Bissinger's 1990 bestseller Friday Night Lights has been rocked by a sex-scandal-related suicide.
Mark Lampman, a social studies teacher at Permian High School in Odessa, was found dead last week (07May14) after suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Reports suggest he resigned from his job amid allegations of an improper relationship with a student.
Bissinger's book about the challenges of a high school football coach and his team was adapted into a movie and a spin-off TV series. A criminal investigation into Lampman's apparent suicide has been launched.
Meanwhile, school officials are keen to halt the vile social media postings about the drama. A statement from the board reads: "We know and understand emotions are raw, and we have seen a number of very inappropriate and hateful posts to social media sites this evening. Out of respect for the families involved in this tragedy, we are urging everyone to remove all angry messages from all accounts and refrain from posting any more. "This type of dialogue is not helpful, nor is it healing. We consider ourselves part of the same team - the same family - and we must work together to get through a difficult time like this."
Actors Ben Mckenzie and Logan Marshall-Green are set to turn the memoir of baseball pitcher R.a. Dickey into a movie as the first project for their new production firm. The pals, who met in 2001 and played brothers on hit teen drama series The O.C., are co-founders of A Thing Or Two Productions and they have optioned the film rights to Dickey's 2012 autobiography, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball.
In the book, the Toronto Blue Jays player detailed his childhood experiences of sexual abuse, claiming he had been molested by a 13-year-old female babysitter when he was just eight, and later by a teenage male.
The former New York Mets star also opened up about his suicidal tendencies throughout his adult life.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Buzz Bissinger will pen the script, while Southland star McKenzie and Prometheus actor Marshall-Green will produce with Michael De Luca.
Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger has opened up about the true extent of his pre-rehab breakdown last year (13), admitting he was starting to self-harm and take pills before seeking professional help. In a candid GQ article published last March (13), the writer declared he had blown $600,000 (£375,000) due to a compulsive shopping habit, and also confessed he was struggling with sex addiction.
Now he has explained his obsession with buying designer goods was just the "tip of the iceberg", claiming he was hurting himself physically and had begun taking prescription pills before checking into a clinic.
He tells Vanity Fair magazine, "There was a hell of a lot more going on in my life than shopping addiction. That was probably the tip of the iceberg... I went into rehab for a variety of compulsive and dangerous behaviours, shopping addiction the least of them.
"I was doing physical harm to myself and beginning to take pharmaceuticals. I did tremendous damage to my marriage and caused my wife unforgivable pain. I also hurt others. I no longer cared about anything. I had a breakdown on pretty much every front. It had been in the making for years. The GQ story really did create an enormous misperception, one that was my fault. But I do not regret it. It was my way of bottoming out and knowing that I needed in-treatment help. I could no longer continue the way I was living."
Bissinger, who wrote the Friday Night Lights novel which spawned a TV series and movie, is now adamant everyone should go into therapy to keep their lives on track.
He adds, "I think everybody should go to rehab. It's called rehab, but it's 60 days of stepping out of your life and thinking very hard and working, because you're seeing therapists basically 12 hours a day."
Our culture has a habit of putting celebrities on a pedestal. We sensationalize their every move and, as a result, wind up with superhuman figures to idolize and fear. But really, they’re just people — like any of us. They’re prone to ordinary hobbies, like lounging about and going for a dip. And they're susceptible to everyday weaknesses, like dropping six figures on Gucci merchandise. And that's why, to us, Buzz Bissinger — the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, former CBS sports radio host, author of the eponymous book that inspired the film and TV series Friday Night Lights, and self-professed recovering shopaholic — is just an average joe. The acclaimed writer penned a candid article for the forthcoming issue of GQ, opening up to fans about his egregiously expensive indulgence (he recalls a single instance that landed him $638,413 in the hole) and his decision to seek rehabilitation.
In all sincerity, Bissinger's quest for self-betterment is laudable. But his addiction is the stuff only Hollywood can dream up. Sure, there are shopping addicts among the hoi polloi, but most of 'em have to settle for cheap knockoffs or the barter system... Gucci-themed night outings aren't really a rock bottom many are capable of hitting.
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When it comes to the spotlit community, in fact, all addictions, compulsions, and even fears seem more glamorous. A few years back, when Argo was but a gleam of an idea, a pre-esteemed Ben Affleck had quite a proclivity for gambling, losing thousands upon thousands of dollars in high society poker games (and yet Matt Damon was still the better choice for Rounders). We're not talking about your thrice divorced uncle's seedy hold 'em gatherings in the storage unit he "inherited" from the elderly neighbor nobody has seen in a while. The folk that made up Affleck's games are Hollywood elites, industry moguls! Three-piece suit-wearing cigar toters who almost bankrupt the man in his State of Play days.
But what's cooler than big name card games or designer shopping sprees? Sex. Sex is cool, which logically makes sex addicts the coolest. As such, David Duchovny — who not only plays a sufferer of satyriasis week to week on Showtime's Californication, but has actually confessed to being one in real life — is the freakin' Fonz. Who also, come to think of it, seemed to have some kind of pansexuality disorder.
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It's easy to look like a winner when you're buying fancy clothes, scoring chips with royal flushes, or succumbing to your Mulderistic desires. But only celebrities can maintain this urbanity when fleeing in a misguided panic. Take David Boreanaz: the Buffy and Angel vet can't even traverse to the frozen foods section of his local supermarket. Why? Because he's dreadfully afraid of chickens. Now, an ordinary person would earn head shakes of shame and a few Twitter blocks if he or she were to speak candidly about this degree of alektorophobia. But with a star stature like Boreanaz's (and really, who ranks higher in this day and age?), we're all made to rethink our stance on the so-called innocent farm birds. They're natural cannibals, you know.
Chickens be damned. You'll likely rearrange your entire domicile upon hearing the domestic aversions certain celebs uphold: mirrors (Pamela Anderson hates them), houseplants (Christina Ricci detests them), antique furniture (Billy Bob Thornton is disgusted by it). To the yard sale with ye!
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While we may resent their ability to get away with anything, perhaps celebrity idolatry is a good thing: the next time you're ruing your own psychological maladies, fear not. Just wait for some actor or model to open up about his or her similar eccentricity. And then all you've got to do is hop on that bandwagon. "Sure, I'm psychotically addicted to tomato paste," you'll say proudly. "But didn't you hear? So is Skeet Ulrich." And you're gold.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
[Photo Credit: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage]
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Even though politics can be funny from time-to-time, there is nothing funny about plagiarism. (End Joe Biden laugh!) And that is exactly what Friday Night Lights creator Peter Berg is accusing presidential hopeful Mitt Romney of.
The writer-director of the sports drama issued a letter calling out the Republican for his use of an expression he created for the now canceled series. The phrase "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose" – which was made famous in the television show — has been used many times in Romney's campaign speeches and throughout his Facebook page.
According to The Hollywood Reporter Berg writes to Romney — who has admitted his family is a fan of the show: "Your use of the expression falsely and inappropriately associates Friday Night Lights with the Romney/Ryan campaign."
Unfortunately the author of the book that spawned the show does not agree, calling the letter "uninformed and offensive." In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter Buzz Bissinger said about his cousin (yep, you read that right), "I love Pete but he is being childish and petulant." He also took aim at his family member for taking credit for FNL. "I am frankly sick and tired of Berg and everyone else acting as if he was the creator of Friday Night Lights. Without the book there never would have been a television show. He should feel lucky that anyone cares about it."
Berg does say in the letter that he is grateful to Romney for one thing: "We are grateful for your support of our beloved show, but we are not in any way affiliated with you or your campaign. The show's (uh, er, um) creator — who in the letter compares the GOP candidate with a character on the show "who turned his back on American car manufacturers selling imported cars from Japan" — ends the letter (and hopefully the nasty back-and-forth) by saying, "Please come up with your own campaign slogan."
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While there is no small measure of delight inherent in the weekly spotlighting of on-the-rise talent, there is something further rewarding about showcasing up-and-comers from my own town. Such is the case with this week’s subject: the lovely, Austin-born Amber Heard.
This week, Amber will appear alongside Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary, based on a novel by, and tracking the continuing exploits of, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. In anticipation of the release of this Austinite’s latest film, here’s a look back at some of her previous work highly deserving of your attention.
Friday Night Lights
This 2004 film, which spawned its own television series two years later, is where Amber Heard first garnered attention.
Based on the book by Buzz Bissinger, the film follows the football team of Permian High School in Permian, Texas in the late 80s. Friday Night Lights adeptly chronicles the events of that season from multiple perspectives and eloquently investigates some fascinating connections between high school football and larger issues such as racism, small town economics, and the uncertainty of adolescence. If you are a fan of either football or simply fantastic characters and enthralling stories, Friday Night Lights is a film catered to your tastes. Heard, in her first feature film, plays the girlfriend of an Odessa-Permian receiver whose father, a former player, is intensely abusive. Her pleas for humanity during the father’s drunken tirades enhance the film’s emotional weight.
Even with the endless saturation of zombie media over the last several years, Zombieland managed to breath some new life into the shambling subgenre with its unique blend of satirical comedy and legitimate zombie-fighting action.
While Amber’s role in the film was small and her screen time brief, she succeeded in creating one of Zombieland’s most memorable moments. During the scene in which we are given insight into the background of the film’s young hero, played by Jesse Eisenberg, he is shown comforting his attractive neighbor who has just been attacked by what turns out to be the walking undead. When she inevitably transforms, Heard turns in a very savage and wholly convincing zombie performance; throwing her entire body into the part with great aplomb.
The film that, along with Harold Kumar Go To White Castle, officially ushered in the glorious return of the studio stoner comedy, 2008’s Pineapple Express was definitely a big hit (no pun intended). The film charts the exploits of two hapless potheads, played by Seth Rogen and James Franco, who inadvertently get caught up in a murder conspiracy. Here again, Heard’s role is a supporting one, playing Rogen’s age-disproportionate high school girlfriend. She engages in some impressive banter with Rogen, keeping his character perpetually humble.
Drive Angry 3D
Nicolas Cage plays a man with a dark and infernal past who is on a violent quest to avenge the death of his daughter and to recover his infant granddaughter from an evil cult leader. Accompanying him on this quest is a beautiful young woman—who also happens to be tougher than a railroad spike.
Drive Angry may have repelled a few potential viewers while it was in theaters, due to its silly trailers and heavy reliance on 3D. Truth be told, it is quite a silly movie. But it’s also incredibly entertaining (in an old school exploitation sort of way). Heard is razor sharp as the character Piper, who proves to be simultaneously the voice of reason for Cage’s bizarre protagonist and the perfect sidekick for his misadventures.
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane
Mandy Lane is a popular girl at her high school, but it’s been a while since she’s attended any parties. The last one she attended ended with the senseless death of one of her classmates. Almost a year later, she is convinced to attend a shindig at the ranch home of the father of another student. But as the evening progresses, several attendees begin to disappear one by one.
Up front we will warn you that All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is going to be a tough film to track down. It is not currently streaming and this American independent horror film was never released on DVD stateside. But should you possess a region-free player that would allow you to import this film, it is more than worth the effort. The film combines classic 80s horror tropes (the party horror movie) with the more extreme trends of modern horror. Heard is electric and eerily intriguing in the titular role.
Tonight, after five seasons of consistently low ratings, the sun finally sets on Friday Night Lights, the critically-acclaimed but little-seen series about a struggling Texas town and its beloved high-school football team. Given more than enough time to find an audience, the show, based on the Buzz Bissinger book of the same name, which also yielded a critically-acclaimed but little-seen movie, failed to latch on with anyone outside its small but vociferous cadre of true believers.
Alas, it seems that FNL was only mostly dead. TVLine reports that Peter Berg, series creator and director of the film adaptation, is currently shopping a new FNL movie that would piggyback on the events of the series finale. Could a movie based on a failed TV series, which itself was based on a failed film, really get the greenlight in today's increasingly bottom-line-driven Hollywood? Stranger things have happened.