Harvard Beats Yale 29-29

The gridiron is a social microcosm in Kevin Rafferty’s (The Atomic Cafe) ultimate sports documentary, Harvard Beats Yale 29-29, which features a cast of characters who, unexpectedly, would later become household names. As the film opens, it’s November 23, 1968, and the undefeated Bulldogs of Yale and the undefeated Crimson of Harvard are meeting for their annual death match. The film came to define an era — how could it not? Look who’s on the sidelines — Harvard’s defensive guard is, surprise, future actor Tommy Lee Jones, who’s rooming with none other than Al Gore. On the field is Yale fullback Bob Levin, Meryl Streep’s boyfriend (the two were pasting up antiwar flyers around the campus before the game). Cartoonist Garry Trudeau draws cool-cat jock Brian Dowling for the Yale college newspaper; the quarterback is forever immortalized later as B.D. in Trudeau’s Doonesbury comic strip. Also on Yale’s side of the stadium is the ultimate cheerleader — and new Skull & Bones initiate — G. W. Bush, doing somersaults in a hazy background. The great game itself, as underdog Harvard improbably evens out the score in the final 39 seconds, is interwoven with player interviews until the match takes on social and political overtones. Rah! Rah! 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org/films. $6 to $7.
Fri., April 24, 7 p.m.; Sat., April 25, 7 p.m.; Sun., April 26, 2 p.m., 2009

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