Over the last year, there were times where I thought that even if Hollywood wanted to make a movie about the downfall of the Penn State football program, there’s no way they could ever could. Following the story day-to-day, week-to-week and month-to-month, at times the truth seemed stranger than fiction, and it seemed impossible for any Hollywood movie crew to possibly capture the insanity of it all.
Yeah, apparently I was wrong.
That’s because on late Friday a report surfaced from Deadline New York, that there are in fact plans to make a movie about Penn State, and Joe Paterno’s life in specific, based on Joe Posnanski’s recently released, best-selling book Paterno. There’s even talk that one of the greatest actors in American cinema, Al Pacino, could take on the leading role.
From Deadline New York:
ICM Partners next week will be taking a package for a movie about former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, with Al Pacino attached to play the man called JoePa by most students at Happy Valley. The package will be built around Joe Posnanski’s biography Paterno, which is now atop The New York Times Bestseller List in its second week. Pacino’s manager, Rick Nicita, will produce.
So there you have it. Apparently Joe Pa is coming to the big screen, and if you read the Deadline New York report further, you know that this movie won’t just about the fall of Paterno the football coach over the course of the last year. Instead, like Posnanski’s book it will cover the broad spectrum of Paterno’s whole life, from his younger days at Brown, through all the wins, the scandal and his death in early 2012.
Whatever. The whole idea of a movie on Paterno makes me sick. And if you’re asking me if I’ll be watching this movie, the short answer is, “not a chance in hell.”
On a fundamental level, I’ve got to ask: What exactly is the audience for this movie? College football fans won’t want to see it. Parents won’t bring their children. Young guys won’t bring their girlfriends. Married couples won’t make a date night out of it. I mean really, who wants to spend three hours reliving what we’ve all tried to spend the last year forgetting.
Beyond that, the idea of taking Paterno’s life story has to make everyone feel a bit uneasy, right?
Whether we want to admit it or not, making a movie from this book is glorifying Paterno, and putting the spotlight back on a man who deserves no such treatment. I know the movie is supposed to take the entire picture of his life in broad strokes, but right now, who remembers much about the wins on the field, as much as the scandal off the field? Remember, the entire Sandusky scandal (and Paterno’s involvement in it) became about much more than college football, but instead became a story that every person in the country seemed to be invested in.
And it’s not something that any of us need to relive anytime soon.
For all his insight, opinion and articles on college football, be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.