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The powerful film Greater, which details the inspirational life of the late Razorback All-American walk-on Brandon Burlsworth, continues to be popular in DVDs and Blu-rays at Wal-Mart and elsewhere following a limited national release last year that left it ranked 205th among 735 films released.

Greater's box office gross totaled $2 million and it wound up ranked 46th for all limited-release films in 2016, according to, which keeps track of such things.

Burlsworth, from my hometown of Harrison, was a third-round draft pick by the Indianapolis Colts who, even before he arrived there, had slotted him as a likely starting guard. His years as a Razorback between 1995 and 1998 led to him twice being named All-SEC and inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Fame. Brandon died April 28, 1999, just 11 days after being drafted into the NFL when his car crossed the centerline near Alpena and hit a truck as he headed back to Harrison after working out in Fayetteville.

Brian Reindl, the creator, producer, writer and, well, head coach of the Burlsworth film, told me he feels good about how his only film fared publicly. He only wishes every person could see the movie (and its theme of hope, grit and overcoming) simply for the inspiration it invariably brings.

"I wish I could figure out a way without spending millions in advertising to let everyone know about this hidden gem," he told me last week. "I wish everyone could see it and a lot have, but it's far from everybody including here in our state."

The tens of thousands who have seen Greater and those who write about the film industry have been largely impressed by how it touches one's spirit. For instance, the website Hollywood Jesus listed it as number one in its story "9 Of The Best Movies You've Probably Never Seen."

"Nationally, it also was rated No. 7 in all Christian-based films, although I consider the film to be based in hope more than anything else," said Reindl, who the other day was still trying to learn where Greater finished among independent films.

While many were involved during the four years it took to see Reindl's unlikely dream become a reality, he immediately credits his associates, director David Hunt and Tim Duff, for their determined efforts in production, editing and supervision.

"I do know this," he said. "We made a film that people love that motivates them to be better people, better sons, daughters, mothers, fathers and Christians as well."

Wal-Mart sure thinks so. The big-box behemoth has gotten solidly behind the movie in a Wal-Mart kinda way since its release last year. The film arrived as DVDs and Blu-ray discs in America's some 3,900 Wal-Marts during December. Along with Target Stores, Amazon and, they've since sold 125,000 movies.

And beginning next week, the top 63 Wal-Marts across the country, including several in Arkansas, plan a promotional push for Greater, where each store will offer a big supply. "One of the biggest problems has actually been keeping the stores stocked with the DVDs," Reindl said.

In addition, the movie is available on video on demand and other digital services, as well as the website So, valued readers, if you still haven't seen Greater and feel like feeling great one evening, there are lots of ways for you to find it, along with hope and inspiration.

Ms. Buffalo River?

If corporations can legally be considered individuals under the law, it's not all that outrageous for a forest, mountain or river to get the same consideration in a courtroom.

Yet common sense says it sure feels funny to take that seriously, doesn't it?

The New York Times reported last month that a Denver attorney and a politically leftist environmental group have asked a federal judge to give the Colorado River similar legal standing as a person.

Is this undoubtedly radical, yet not wholly laughable, notion way beyond the pale, not considering where we are in the nation today and the notorious Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals?

If this concept takes wings, the Buffalo National River, our country's first so designated, could file suit should it suffer damage caused by human abuse or negligence (as in polluted by raw waste that stretches beyond its legally prescribed area of containment).

The paper reported that, if approved by the court, future lawsuits might seek to block everything from pipelines to housing developments, "and force everyone from agriculture executives to mayors to rethink how they treat the environment."

"I don't think it's laughable," Reed Benson, chairman of the environmental law program at the University of New Mexico, told the Times. "But I think it's a long shot in more ways than one."

"The suit was filed ... in Federal District Court in Colorado by Jason Flores-Williams, a Denver lawyer. It names the river ecosystem as the plaintiff--citing no specific physical boundaries--and seeks to hold the state of Colorado and Gov. John Hickenlooper liable for violating the river's 'right to exist, flourish, regenerate, be restored, and naturally evolve'," the story said.


Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist. Email him at

Editorial on 10/08/2017

Print Headline: Growing Greater

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