Remember The Titans

Review Date:
Director: Boaz Yakin
Writer: Gregory Allen Howard
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer and Chad Oman
Denzel Washington as Coach Boone
Will Patton as Coach Yoast
Based on a true story set in 1971, a black coach is hired to take over a newly integrated football team of black and white students. The old white coach is kept on as his assistant, while everybody from the players, to the coaches, to the townspeople have trouble adjusting to the forced racial integration. Racism and intolerance follow as the coach attempts to whip everybody into shape as one team working towards the same goal.
A well-packaged, well-acted, well-intentioned feel good movie that brings nothing new to the table yet still manages to pull you into its wonderful world of harmony. It is important to note that as with all films of this nature, there is always a very fine line between sappy melodrama, selling it all on the “TV movie of the week” mentality, and a real story with an honest to goodness message. This film manages to ride that fine line very well for most of the way through, primarily due to its solid cast, steady pace, no major lulls or sermons delivered here, and Denzel Washington, who once more, checks in with another outstanding performance. Of course, many will say that Denzel isn’t exactly stretching his acting muscles here, playing the straight-talking leader-man once again, and surely, all of these people will have a point. But the bottom line is the bottom line and the bottom line in this case is that the charisma and talent combined in this one man is what make this entire story stick together to such a greater extent, and that’s really all that matters.

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.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian