i’m a sucker for this kind of movie and i’m not really sure why. sure samuel l. jackson does a good job, but the film isn’t really that great.; a lot of the times it’s actually rather stock. the slow motion, the inspirational underdogs banding together to make a great team and, in the process, becoming better people. it’s cut from the same cloth as miracle, lean on me, dangerous minds and hoosiers. one reason i liked it is because i like basketball movies, but, more than that, i liked it because i like the idea of people bettering themselves through discipline and intelligent choices. jackson is a great choice for the type of coach who can both inspire, and relate to, lost youths. i think i also liked it because carter’s view of basketball, and its place in life, is similar to mine. basketball is great and you should work hard to be good at it, but it should be a tool – to get you into college, to teach you discipline and teamwork, or to make you more fit. it’s not the central part of life that many wishful youths might think of it as.
ike i said – this isn’t a film that’s all that well-made – it’s predictable and stock, but i liked it in spite of those flaws. it’s a bit on the long side and i noticed a few scenes that could have been cut, but, again, i’m willing to overlook that fact. B-.
p.s. i’ve just read one review (Ebert) and one summary of this film which both get the amount that carter gets paid as coach incorrect. ebert says it was an unpaid position and the other summary says it was a $900 position. both are wrong. it was $1500 for four months of work.