Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Norman Rockwell scene this ain't.
I wasn't in the creative mood tonight so I thought of catching a movie that boiled down between the more popular comic book-based movie or something that piqued my interest for weeks now. I picked the latter since the next showing was closer to the time I arrived in and I didn't want to wait more than I wanted to. You know what? I couldn't have been more right in picking a movie that spoke to me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Sure the movie, Glory Road may be as formulaic as the previous sports movies Disney et al have shown and you'd think that one would be blase about watching another movie about a ragtag team being coached to victory by the one person who believed in them. But this one works because this one has a lot more heart not like those in previous sports movies. There's a lot more at stake than the coveted trophy or the chance to show the world that a group of unrelated rejects can band together just before the final buzzer to snatch a goal. It was also about maintaining dignity amidst an almost impossible fight against racial segregation still prevalent during the 1960's in America.
The trailer that started it all for me.
There's also the right casting which lead to an obvious likeability of the lead characters. This then lead to another strength that the movie affords us to witness which stems from the two kinds of family ties both the players and the coaching staff had: the natural, the one that suffered just the same because of their kinship with the people involved with the team and the uneasy affinity the black and white players built over time with each other which the filmmakers masterfully wove into the story without shoving it down our throats (you know how exhausting it is to hear the same message preached by Hollywood over and over again to the point of us being jaded). Josh Lucas' Coach Don Haskins was as much a father figure to his team, disciplining, building them up, and looking out for them as if they were his own kids. But the thing is that even if you know how things turned out the end (college and professional basketball are now being dominated by blacks while white men can't jump) the uphill struggle for these characters are as real for us as it was for them. Now of course, this being a Hollywood production, real life events weren't interesting enough when projected on the bog screen hence the need to embellish parts of the story for the sake of dramatics. But don't let this stop you from watching this movie as there are some surprises left while the credits are rolling in the end. Catch it on the big screen while you still can, if not purchase an original DVD for your yourself. Don't rent, buy! It's worth the wait, your while, and every cent you're putting down for a story and film like this.
* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.