FILM REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Greater–The Inspiring True Story of Brandon Burlsworth
I am excited to share my thoughts on the faith based, heart grabbing film GREATER, releasing in theaters on August 26, 2016. The movie stars Neal McDonough and newcomer Chris Severio as Brandon Burlsworth.
Brandon Burlsworth is perhaps the greatest walk-on in the history of college football. Brandon had always dreamed of playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks, but was considered too short and too fat to play Division I. Undeterred, Brandon took a big risk and walked on in 1994.
Written off by fellow teammates and coaches, Brandon displayed dogged determination in the face of staggering odds. An extremely devoted Christian, Brandon never cursed or drank. He was genuinely humble and low-key. He worked harder than anybody, on and off the field, becoming the first Razorback to earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree while still playing. The overly-fat kid who was once an embarrassment to his teammates and an annoyance to his coaches, ended up becoming the most respected player in the history of the program, changing the lives of all he touched.
Eleven days after being drafted into the NFL, Brandon was tragically killed in a car accident, crushing all who knew him. Brandon was “too good to be true”. How could something like that happen to this guy? The age-old question slammed down upon all with terrible force: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Brandon’s story is more than mere football. It is the ultimate expression of the question “Why?” Greater will provide hope and inspiration as it strives to wrestle with this challenge and find reasons to trust. It is “Rudy” meets “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
To me, this was the story of the rewards from never giving up, learning to be faithful, and the bond between brothers. Brandon is extremely close to his older brother Marty, who at 17 years older is something of a father figure to Brandon. Marty inspires Brandon to succeed, celebrates with him when he does, and consoles him when he doesn’t.
I enjoyed seeing Brandon push himself to be the best. He did whatever it took, whatever his coaches told him and more to achieve his dreams. I have two young sons and I hope that they will take these same lessons with him in their lives, both on and off the sports field.
I liked how the film didn’t just focus on the football aspect or the faith aspect of Brandon’s life; we also get to see how he sometimes struggled socially, liked to be by himself, and even battled with obsessive compulsive disorder. I believe this is so important to show, because there are so many kids out there with issues like this who need to know they’re not alone and they can be successful just like Brandon was.
Both my husband and I were very touched by Greater and had tears in our eyes by the end. Yes, it’s a faith based film and to some that will make it a little corny or sappy in some parts, but the actors’ performances get you into the story and feeling their emotions.
I recommend the film Greater to sports fans, parents, and anyone who loves a story with a lot of heart.
I have a special giveaway for my readers courtesy of Grace Hill Media. Two winners will receive a promotional Brandon Burlsworth GREATER jersey, with his number 77 and in the Arkansas colors, as modeled by my son here!
Giveaway is for US only and will end 8/31/2016. Please leave a comment telling me who you’re rooting for this college football season!