I honestly don’t think I could see someone like Lebron taking the SAT’s.
Samuel L. Jackson stars as the titular, controversial Coach Carter, a no-nonsense hardliner who firmly believes that scholarship and a sense of ethics go hand in hand with excellence on the basketball court. The coach is so firm in his convictions that he benches his undefeated team of high schoolers when they turn in poor academic grades, much to the chagrin of the players’ parents and many fellow teachers.
The inspirational sports film comes out about once a year, and there always the same. It just depends on who you have in it that makes it different.
The biggest problem with Coach Carter is that the script is terrible. When I mean terrible, I do mean, terrible. Every single line here is like a little cliche that has been used in almost every other sports film, and brings nothing new to the table. This all so generic and with everything that happens I just started laughing by how terribly predictable it was, and since these people are black it’s even more hilarious to listen to these “characters” talk “gangster”. Some of the most unintentionally hilarious stuff I’ve ever heard.
Another problem with this script and this film is that it’s way too long with a terribly preachy feel. This is all fact-based which I liked, but the fact that this film tries to keep on spoon-feeding us what and how we should feel about education when it comes to sports, just simply annoyed me. The social issues it explores kept me interested but they hit it over my head way too much. Also, this is a film that runs for about 2 hours and 16 minutes. Yeah, it’s a long one.
However, what this film does right is that it actually is somewhat entertaining and inspiring beneath all the cliches and preaching. I liked how they explore the fact that more student athletes should rely on school work, rather than sports to get them through life. I think I liked this mainly because not many sports film show this, and instead show that sports will get you through life and just make you happy forever. Some of the basketball game scenes were fun too, as they are shot with a nice and slick style to keep you in the game.
Samuel L. Jackson is the real reason why this film is a step-above from making this total crap. I like how subtle Jackson takes this role as Coach Carter in the beginning, but then when he has to, turns the knob and becomes this totally angry but still smart basketball coach who wants nothing more than just the best education possible for his players. Now of course there is the yelling, screaming, and hollering we have all come to know and love about Sammy, but there’s a lot more to that, and he makes it worth while. The rest of the cast is OK including Ashanti, Channing Tatum, Rob Brown, and Robert Ri’chard. Nothing special, mainly because Jackson knocks them all out of the water.
Consensus: Coach Carter is terribly-written because its huge amount of cliches and preachiness that bores along with its over 2 hour time-limit, but it’s occasionally inspiring, and an always reliable Samuel L. Jackson makes this easier to deal with.
Interesting look, at a guy I had no idea about.
Rob Brown stars as trailblazer Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Dubbed the “Elmira Express” because of his tireless drive, Davis also lived up to the title off the field fighting for racial equality. Director Gary Fleder’s inspiring biopic co-stars Dennis Quaid as Ben Schwartzwalder, the crusty Syracuse University coach who teaches Davis the game and in return learns much from his bold civil rights achievements.
The key to a good football movie is to be more than just a movie about football greats. Sure, the game sequences need to be authentic, but to fully capture an audience, a football movie needs to be about life, not just the big game.
Usually, when it comes to sports movies, or sports biopics, I always know a thing or two going in, about the subject. But with this one, I didn’t know who Ernie Davis was, and at the end of watching this, I think I really did get to know him, which is how all biopics should be. Davis was more than just a black football player, he was an out-spoken hero in the Civil Rights movement and we see how he fights through all the racism everywhere he goes, just to finally win the game.
However, the film does get a bit too preachy with its message about racism, mostly because the same message has been used in many other race meets sports films like Remember the Titans, Ali, and countless others. And a lot more of this film is very predictable, and basically stuff you have seen before.
Rob Brown here is good as Ernie Davis, and plays him with barely any knowledge of who this real character is, and plays it strongly. The best in the cast here is Dennis Quaid, who plays the tough-but-fair coach. He’s a dick for the whole first hour or so, and then you can see him transform as a character, as Davis starts to transform into a better human, and it all seems believable.
I think the main thing the film was going for is being influential, and it really is. It gives the viewers the look at a life, probably no one has ever heard of, and makes us feel like we can do something like he did.
Consensus: The Express is predictable, however, it features two powerful leads, and an inspiring story, about the life of a forgotten American life, that is also the most important one too.