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April

Last Day At Lambeau Premieres: Kris Burke’s Review

"Last Day At Lambeau" premiered on April 18 at the 2012 Wisconsin Film Festival in Madison, WI

It’s been nearly four years, but the memories came rushing back like they were yesterday.

That sums up what was going through my head while viewing “Last Day At Lambeau” at the Wisconsin Film Festival on April 18 at Monona Terrace in Madison. It’s a film I honestly have been looking forward to seeing since the first teaser hit the internet months ago.

To give a brief synopsis of the film, it documents the fall of Brett Favre through the eyes of a Packer fan. Director Michael Neelsen grew up in Wisconsin and was raised a Packer fan and idolized Favre like so many Wisconsin youth at the time. It’s this same personal attachment to Favre that the director had that makes the film so powerful.

The film truly had it all. At the beginning, brief highlights of Favre’s time as a Packer are shown and then the film delves right into Favre’s final game at Lambeau as a member of the Packers—the 2008 NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants.

We all know how that game ended. Favre’s final pass was intercepted and the Giants won the NFC title in overtime, slamming shut the doors on the Packers’ Cinderella season and Favre’s career in green and gold.

What the film showed at this point was something I never really considered, mainly due to my disgust (which still lingers to this day) over the loss: Cheesehead TV’s Brian Carriveau points out a photo surveying the field from behind Favre on that fateful play—every receiver had some kind of cushion as Favre dropped back….except the one he tried to throw to.

The film also raised a valid point many of us didn’t realize at the time, perhaps blinded by the good thoughts of Favre’s early career. Favre was becoming an increasingly bad quarterback in cold weather. With the NFC title game in sub-zero temperatures, perhaps it really shouldn’t be that surprising that the Packers lost.

We know what happens next. Any Packer fan old enough at the time remembers how the whole Favre retirement and then un-retirement saga played out in that spring and summer.

3

April

Last Day at Lambeau: A Film Review

Last Day at Lambeau Film

Last Day at Lambeau Premieres April 18, 2012, Wisconsin Film Festival

When I first heard about the film project called “Last Day at Lambeau,” my initial reaction was, WHY? Why re-open Packers fans’ wounds when the scars have been healing so nicely? After watching the film, I learned the answer to that question (but we’ll get to that a bit later).

I received an advance press copy of the film in the mail last week. I resisted the temptation to watch it right away, instead deciding to wait for the weekend, when I would have more time to devote to it and watch it more than once, if needed (I watched it twice).

Saturday night came along and the time to watch had arrived. I popped the DVD into my DVD player with a certain level of trepidation. I didn’t really need to go back there, and was sure I knew everything there was to know about the events of that offseason.  I was wrong on both counts.

The name of the film is quite catchy, but doesn’t give the film justice, as this documentary covers the entire period from Favre’s last game as a Packer to his last season with the Vikings (specifically, his final game at Lambeau).

The film makes heavy use of interviews with media members, bloggers and fans in Green Bay who lived and breathed the situation. For someone who doesn’t live in Wisconsin, it helped to give me, for the first time, a true feeling for what it must have been like. Only now can I begin to truly comprehend thn emotional toll these events took on the citizens of Green Bay.

The film opens with some conversations with young autograph seekers outside of Lambeau Field, showing off their collections of cards and items players had given them. It sets the tone for the adulation these players receive in Green Bay, but soon after that, we are painfully re-living Favre’s last completion as a Packer – to Corey Webster of the Giants. And then all hell broke loose.

What follows is a detailed chronological examination of the Brett Favre retirement saga, in the poignant and reflective words of local media members, juxtaposed with the emotional reaction of fans.