Movie Review: BS High (2023)

Synopsis: In August of 2021, the Columbus, Ohio-based Bishop Sycamore High School football team was blown out by IMG Academy in front of the nation on ESPN. Shortly after an investigation of the school and the team's coach, Leroy Johnson, revealed BS High wasn't a real school and its players weren't even high school students.

Review: I came across this documentary a few days ago and thought it was intriguing enough to add to my library. Since it was raining this morning, I decided to give it a try and it proved to be as interesting as I thought.

There were a couple things that really stood out for me regarding this movie's discussion of the scandal. One of the main ones was how Johnson's point of view about the scandal differed greatly from his players and those who investigated him. The latter considered him a con artist while Johnson thought of himself as someone who was trying to help disadvantaged youth use football as an opportunity to get into college.

What was even more interesting was some of his arguments kind of made sense. After all, his efforts did get his players national exposure, even though the game itself was a blow-out and some of his tactics (like misleading players about where they would be practicing and having the team play multiple games in 48 hours) were questionable.

I also liked how the documentary didn't just focus on Johnson but on the world of high school sports in general, specifically on how nothing Johnson did was technically illegal and is even a tactic used by other private charter schools. It's one of those things that really made me think, which not all documentaries manage to do. Oh, and the part about Ohio officials being suspicious of the school even before it played that big game on ESPN but not doing anything to stop it until they were embarrassed really stood out as well.

Final Opinion: It was an interesting documentary that I think attempts to portray Johnson as a villain but also gives him just enough balance to make that assessment somewhat disputable from a certain point of view. Plus, it paints a picture of how certain people can use high school sports to their financial advantage without breaking any laws. Overall, I'd say it's worth taking the time to watch.

My Grade: A


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