I'll admit. I just watched "Hoosiers" and didn't see what the big deal is. Sure, it's a good movie, but the best sports movie ever made? I don't know about that. And, lo and behold, two weeks later and completely by coincidence, I watched "Coach Carter," another movie about high school basketball. And you know? I liked it nearly as much.
The previews for "Coach Carter" were pretty lousy. We've seen this generic sports formula a hundred times before, and with a title like "Coach Carter," what can you expect? The thing is, we like generic sports movies. As long as they're based on real events, it's okay if they're about an underdog team who rises from the ashes - we like to watch that kind of thing. And many of us like Samuel L. Jackson, because he is one smoking badass. Of course, if you've watched "Goodfellas" recently you'll recognize him as the scrawny guy who likes like he got extracted right from an episode of "COPS," but that's for another day...
"Coach Carter" tells the true story of a defiant coach who took an underperforming high school basketball team and transformed them into an undefeated powerhouse, until he found out many of them were flunking their classes and decided to lock them out, subsequently forfeiting many of their games. Of course, much of the story has surely been altered to appeal to the general movie going audience, but the story is a unique one - that of a coach who challenged his players both on and off the court.
There is nothing exceptional about "Coach Carter" and it will not go down as a classic in any way or form, but it is a fun, well-done movie with decent acting and an inspiring story. I've seen basketball scenes better, but just like any sports sequences they draw you into the film all the same. More importantly, the off-court stuff is pretty well-done, even if not all the characters are given an adequate back story. Jackson, while not at his finest, still brings good depth to his character. I especially began to respect the performance once he realizes his players are failing their classes. The honesty he brings to the role is very convincing.
If you like sports movie, you might as well check out "Coach Carter." It's isn't the most daring of films, but still is fun and at times exciting - sort of like this absolutely fabulous review [note sarcasm].
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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