Director: Boaz Yakin
Writer: Gregory Allen Howard
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer and Chad Oman
Denzel Washington as Coach Boone
Will Patton as Coach Yoast
Of course, the story itself is also an important one. Such extreme racial divide still prevalent in the 70s. Who knew? Certainly not me, at least not to this sad-sack extent (Segregated restaurants? Yikes!). And despite most of the basic plot points of the film having been seen a thousand times before (too many clichés to enumerate here), I was totally “into” this movie because I cared about the people in it and the situations presented within. Why, you might ask? Simply put, the director seems to have perfectly molded all of the ideal elements needed to create an entertaining picture. He took the cliches and mixed them in with a great cast. All solid actors across the board, many of whom are given a three-dimensional quality for you to care about. Added some needed humor, a quick pace, which may have otherwise dulled people to death, captivating football scenes, sympathetic characters on all sides, and ultimately, a profound message which you can’t help but root for in the end. “It’s not the outside of a person that counts…it’s the inside”. Sappy, right? You’ve heard it a million times, right? Well, so had I, but this film still had me sogging up my nachos, an event that occurs only once or twice every year.
Ultimately, I think this film was helped by the fact that it was based on a true story because of that added sense of security, knowing that it all really happened, investing more in the characters. And as per most true-life movie tales, and my personal favorite part of all these films, an excellent “where are they now” summary completed the presentation of this movie. I love that! Woo-hoo! Great move, Boaz! So if you’re a parent, bring the kids. And if you’re a kid, bring your parents. And if you’re a jaded movie geek just looking to rip into a movie that doesn’t really offer much originality but does more than make up for it with an outstanding cast and message, I say…stay home. Don’t ruin this one for the rest of us.