When the news was released regarding a movie about Joe Paterno, with Paterno being played by Al Pacino, many Penn State fans were thrilled about the prospect. The excitement dwindled, however, when the trailer was released and the focus of the film was shown to be the 2011 Jerry Sandusky scandal that rocked Penn State.
HBO’s “Paterno” premiered earlier this month and came with mixed reviews. Touching briefly on the game that secured JoePa’s title as the winningest coach in college football, the storyline quickly moved to the post-scandal reactions from Paterno, his family, reporters, university officials and victims.
While the film’s most notable actor by far was Pacino as Paterno, the entire cast gave noteworthy performances, with Kathy Baker as Sue Paterno, Greg Grunberg as Scott Paterno and Jim Johnson bearing a striking resemblance to Sandusky.
While the movie utilized clips from Penn State football games, news footage and shots of campus, the scenes made for the movie were not filmed in Beaver Stadium or on Penn State’s campus.
The emphasis of the film, which seemed to strike a nerve with many viewers, was the image of Paterno at Penn State as an untouchable icon, regardless of the information released in the midst of the scandal.
While it received backlash from Penn Staters who believed it to depict JoePa in a negative light, the film covers a much-discussed, yet still a much-misconceived era in Penn State’s history.