“Last Day at Lambeau” reveals a polarized Pack

Director Michael Neelson documents the sour split between Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers in "Last Day at Lambeau," airing during the Milwaukee Film Festival.

By - Oct 2nd, 2012 04:52 pm
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Brett Favre and the images associated with his name are ingrained deep within the minds of many Green Bay Packers fans.

His on and off the field identity crises spanned a broad spectrum of disappointment and elation—a game winning drive one week, or six interceptions the following; a laid-back-good-old-boy from the South one minute, a prima-donna-athlete the next.

His personalities are so numerous, he seemed to don as many as he did team uniforms throughout his career.

Last Day At Lambeau documents the sour split between Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. Director Michael Neelson presents an exceptionally objective representation of both fan and media reactions between the dates of Favre’s initial retirement from the Green Bay Packers in March of 2008, to his final game at Lambeau Field in September, 2010, as a member of the rival Minnesota Vikings.

Through interviews with sportswriters, radio personalities, and both Viking and Packer fans, the film’s overtone of duality holds you as indecisive as its subject.

The film features such media personalities as Wayne Larrivee, the voice of the Packers, ESPN Milwaukee radio host Steve “The Homer” True, a collection of Packers beat writers, and voice of the Vikings, Paul Allen, among many others. The film provides an in-depth timeline of how the Favre saga unfolded.

The film invites viewers to muse the question of who spurned whom. Was it Favre, who after sixteen years of success in Green Bay, felt unappreciated under management changes? Had the Packers, after exhausting the talents of one of the game’s all-time greats, decided Favre had overstayed his welcome? Was it Green Bay fans that had wrongfully condemned Favre for his desire to play beyond his time with the Packers? Or, were Minnesota fans hypocritical in their open-armed reception of their once hated foe?

As someone sitting front row for the Favre vs. Packers bout, my mind was taken back to images or an overweight third-string rookie quarterback who was focused far less on first downs than the number of Old Styles he could down.

It is well documented that then Atlanta Falcons head coach, Jerry Glanville, thought so little of Favre and his on-field competence in his first season with Atlanta that he referred to him simply as, “Mississippi,” reserving his talents for betting opposing coaches during warm-ups that Favre could throw a football from the field to the upper deck of the stadium.

Despite these strikes against the once highly regarded second-round pick, newly appointed Packers’ general manager, Ron Wolf, who had evaluated Favre in his previous post as a member of the New York Jets front office, saw Favre’s potential. Wolf offered the Falcons a first round pick—a round higher than Favre had in fact been drafted—in exchange for the human enigma out of Southern Mississippi. The Falcons greedily accepted and have regretted the deal ever since.

In consideration to the risk taken by acquired and nurtured Favre, the manner in which he unceremoniously exited the organization, attempted to return after resigning his position (a position set to be filled by now-defending MVP Aaron Rodgers), or his outright challenge of the organization by joining a bitter rival, have left me unable to side with the individual. With the lengths to which so many have gone for Brett, he hardly seemed to reciprocate in his own actions.

Fortunately, the film neutrally presents the bare facts surrounding the ordeal, inviting the audience to decide which Favre has made the lasting impression.

It is no wonder that a player so heralded for his spontaneity on the field should act so accordingly in his behavior off of it. Favre held the attention and admiration of Packer fans for fifteen years, a dichotomy of joviality and pugilism, interceptions and touchdowns; a breathing metaphor of the plus and minus.

Favre was determined to leave fans in the only way he knew–on the edge of their seats.

Last Day at Lambeau, one of the Milwaukee Film Festival’s Spotlight Presentations, is screening at the Fox-Bay Cinema Grill, on Tuesday, Oct. 2. You can find more information on the film, and other future screenings, at lastdayatlambeau.com

The Milwaukee Film Festival runs through Oct. 11 at the Oriental TheatreDowner Theatre and Fox-Bay Cinema. Check out TCD’s Flick by Flick guides for films opening this weekend and throughout October. For more information, visit the MFF website.

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