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Reviews & Ratings for
Radio More at IMDbPro »

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52 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

sentimental but hard to resist

Author: Roland E. Zwick ( from United States
15 November 2004

'Radio' tells the true life story of a high school football coach who befriends a severely mentally retarded young man (whom they nickname 'Radio' because he loves listening to the radio so much), lets him hang out with the team, and, thereby, changes not only the boy's life but the lives of just about everyone in the South Carolina town in which they live. When Radio's behavior on the sidelines begins to serve as a distraction during the games, some of the less sympathetic, die-hard football fans of the town make an effort to downplay his role or eliminate his presence altogether.

Set in 1976, 'Radio' is a thoroughly predictable, sentimental heart tugger that will have people either gagging on the syrup or crying in their popcorn. For all its heavy handed manipulation, however, 'Radio' turns out to be a pretty decent little film due, primarily, to the superb performances by Ed Harris and Cube Gooding Jr., and to the fact that the movie doesn't overplay its hand as often as it might. In fact, it wisely underplays much of the conflict, allowing the moments of quiet subtlety to predominate. As played by Harris, Coach Jones is a solid, decent, caring man who can't help but give his love to a fellow human being who needs it. Harris' soft-spoken strength makes us believe in the goodness of the man. The film does an effective job conveying the incredulous reactions of many of the otherwise well-meaning town folk, as even Radio's own mother asks Joe why he is doing what he's doing. The scenes between Jones and this woman, lovingly played by S. Epatha Merkerson, are some of the finest in the film. The movie also isn't afraid to confront the issue of whether the people of the town - and that includes Jones himself - aren't actually being patronizing towards Radio in their treatment of him, and whether he isn't more of a 'mascot' for the team than a bona fide member. Gooding Jr. slips effortlessly into the role of Radio, making him a compelling figure even though he has virtually no lines of dialogue in the movie. Alfre Woodard is excellent as the caring but nervous school principal who sees Radio's presence on campus as a potential threat to student safety, but who has enough faith in Jones to give Radio a chance to prove himself. It's nice to see Debra Winger in a movie again, although her role as Jones' ever-patient, ever-supportive wife, doesn't give her much room to strut her stuff as an actress.

There's no denying that 'Radio' is a humanity-of-man type film that could easily set the teeth on edge with its Goody Two Shoes philosophy of life. Be that as it may, 'Radio' turns out to be a warm, uplifting film that even Scrooge would probably like.

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54 out of 65 people found the following review useful:


Author: vitroshe from Worcester
26 September 2004

I really enjoyed Radio and think it was one of the nicest movies I have seen. I think it a movie for everyone and teaches many lessons about life. I was also amazed to find out that the move was based on a real man. With all the tough road blocks Radio came across he continued to move forward even though the future was uncertain and he didn't have the mental capacity to understand much around him! I thought that Cuba Gooding Jr. played a tremendous role and should win an Oscar for this. I felt for him so much and it made me cry because of some of the hell he went through. I also thought Ed Harris played an incredible role as the coach. This movie really moved me and made my laugh, cry and ultimately feel good at the end! What a movie!

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37 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Excellent thought-provoking film done with super editorial work and world-class acting by Ed Harris & Cuba Gooding Jr.

Author: ajmclean_2 from Denmark
28 March 2005

The fact that the movie is based on a true story contributes to a better and, of course, more realistic experience and keeps the viewer focused on the basic theme of the movie. The story is filled with unexpected twists which keeps the viewer at all times from figuring the ending out. In one moment you think that something happens to Coach Jones or Radio. Well it does, but certainly not what you'd expect.

The film becomes at no point boring or too sentimental and the acting performances by Ed Harris & Cuba Gooding Jr. are some of their best in my opinion. The ending puts a long lasting smile on your face and makes you wonder if what you are doing is right. Well I guess that was what Michael Tollin & Mike Rich were trying to do. First-class movie.

Esbjørn Nordby Birch. Denmark.

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38 out of 59 people found the following review useful:

Radio Is The Real Deal!!!

Author: psteelgit from houston, tx
5 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

EXCUSE ME!!! HellOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! CUBA GOODING,Jr. Should Have Won An Oscar For His Portrayal In This Film!!! He WAS the film! While the film may be lacking in some areas, Cuba was awesome... and for me, this is the best role that he has ever played! The scene in the movie where he finds out that his mother has died made me break down and cry IN THE THEATER!! I guess I could really relate to this film because I saw the same treatment of people just like that at my own school growing up... what a tragedy! Getting to see the "real" Radio and coach at the end of the movie was really special too! If you can watch this movie and not be moved to tears, you need a heart check! If you liked "Simon Birch" and "The Mighty", you'll love "Radio" too! I wish they made more movies like this...Radio is the Real Deal!

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19 out of 24 people found the following review useful:


Author: bth2004 from United States
25 November 2005

This is one of the best films I have ever seen! How anyone can knock this movie just befuddles my imagination! First of all, Gooding's and Harris's performances were simply spectacular, especially Gooding. That is the only way I can describe the acting: spectacular! You have to imagine how difficult it would be to play a character like that and pull it off; then you see Gooding, and his performance was magical. As for the plot, since it was based on a true person, it goes where the lives of the characters go. For all the action buffs, it might be a little slow, but then it's not an action film. I definitely give this movie a 10. It deserves nothing less!

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22 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Sweet movie

Author: Brigid O Sullivan (wisewebwoman) from Toronto, Canada
3 April 2004

Not much to it but a validation of small town values and the embracing of a mentally challenged young man into its heart.

I read some of the reviews and was surprised at some of the hostility it engendered. I felt Cuba Gooding handled the part with dignity and respect unlike Sean Penn's drooling fool portrayal in "I am Sam."

The fact that this is based on a true story makes it all the more heartwarming. Sports are taken seriously in small town high school America (and elsewhere, I suspect) and I felt the portrayal of these competitive students opening their hearts to one less fortunate rang true, at least for me.

The coach was never forced to choose between his daughter and Radio but rather came gently to the decision himself under Radio's loving and open ways. Very well done to all. 7 out of 10.

Debra Winger, we need more of you in pictures!

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

On the air

Author: jotix100 from New York
5 February 2006

Can a mentally challenged black youth be a catalyst to unite people in a South Carolina town? The answer appears to be that in spite of his handicap, James Kennedy, understood much more than what he was given credit for and went to become a fixture in the sports scene. Also, the film is saying how many of us overlook people with problems that can be helped if only we have the patience Coach Jones showed to the young man because of his own guilt in his heart.

"Radio", directed by Michael Tolllin, is a formula film inspired on a true story. Yet, the movie is not a complete failure because of the inspired performances the director was able to get from his wonderful cast.

Coach Jones is instrumental in getting the young man, who is called Radio because his passion for collecting them, involved in sports, a passion he discovers in this retarded man who has had only hard knocks in his young life. Coming from a poor background, Radio, lives with his mother who is protective of him and questions the coach's intentions. Radio is seen by the school kids as a mascot, at first, then, his sunny disposition wins him the acceptance of everyone because he is a good person without an ounce of malice in his body.

The film owes a lot to Ed Harris and Cuba Gooding Jr. who make a great pair as the coach and Radio. Mr. Harris, one of the best actors of our times is never boring in anything he graces with his presence. He gets the essence of the principled coach who sees the possibility to make amends for something that bothers him from his past. Cuba Gooding Jr. is also at his best portraying the mentally challenged young man.

The supporting cast is excellent. S. Ephata Merkerson, one of the best actresses of her generation, does interesting work as the mother of Radio. Alfre Woodard, another good actress plays the high school principle with style. Debra Winger, only has a few scenes in the film.

"Radio", while being sentimental, will warm anyone's heart because it shows how we tend to see some people are in our society that we know nothing about and how quick we are to judge them. Michael Tollin puts a lot of ideas in the proper perspective for us.

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20 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Almost Too Good To Be True

Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
22 January 2007

This was unusual: a modern-day film which was ultra-nice. In fact, it was so nice it bordered on being too hard to believe in parts. As I watching this based-on-a-real-life story, I was thinking, "nobody is this nice, this tolerant." Mainly, I was referring to Ed Harris' role as "Coach Jones." I think they went a little overboard on his character, but that's better than the reverse: showing him worse than what he was in real life. Odd to see Harris playing the role, too, since he has a long resume of playing nasty, profane characters.

Anyway, I never complain about a nice, feel-good film, and it is nice to see a bunch of well- meaning, kind people. Those folks direct their friendship, love and compassion to "James Kennedy," better known as "Radio," a mentally slow high school kid played by Cuba Gooding Jr. The story takes place in the mid 1970s in South Carolina. Gooding does a nice job with the role, too. However, like Sean Penn's role of a mentally-challenged man in "I Am Sam," an hour-and-a-half of a character like this is plenty. After that, the loudness of those guys gets tiresome to hear.

Note: It was interesting in one of the documentaries on this DVD to find out that, in real life, in took years for "Radio" to make his transformation, not months as shown in the film.

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17 out of 26 people found the following review useful:


Author: mack3175 from Metairie, Louisiana
26 October 2003

I thought Uptown Girls was the most touching movies of 2003. But after seeing this movie, I now think it comes in a tie with Uptown Girls. It's perfectly well acted by Ed Harris and Cuba Gooding Jr. The story is set in 1976,football coach Harold Jones(Ed Harris) is hard drivin in pratice, he seems to have very little time for his wife and daughter(Debra Winger and Sarah Drew). But his view on life begins to change, when he meets James Robert Kennedy(Cuba Gooding Jr) who has a very slow learning process. Harold asks him to come to practice and help out a little. The two form a friendship, and Harold gives him the nickname Radio. But they soon begin to learn a lot from each other. A very beautiful film. That teaches us a lot about the human spirit. I shore hope that Cuba Gooding Jr gets nominated for an oscar.

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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Radio is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen.

Author: Eliason_Collateral10 from Ottawa, Canada
26 August 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Corniness Warning. As many fellow IMDb users already know, I'm not a corny, cheesy person. If you don't want to read this kind of review, then go.

To tell you the truth, you're hearing this from a man who laughed through Titanic and almost broke his parents' tape from continuously rewinding the propeller scene.


One day, I went off to the theatres with two friends to see Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, last year in August. The boring trailers rolled on until one started off so calmly. It was for Radio. The moment I saw the trailer, I just had to see this movie on opening weekend. When that weekend rolled along, Scary Movie 3 was out too so many teenagers were there waiting in line that Friday night. It turns out the movie sold out and those teens were so desperate to see a movie, they went and also sold out Good Boy and Radio. I couldn't get a ticket and the following weeks, I was busy with more important things. About 5 months later, my friend rented Radio. He let me borrow it and I watched it in my room. I'll tell you this now, this is the ONLY movie I have ever seen that got me crying EVER. When Radio's mother died, it just came out automatically. The next day, I went off to Blockbuster and bought the DVD.

Well enough of my stupid personal story, let me tell you about the movie.

Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as a mentally challenged man nick-named Radio. Ed Harris co-stars and this movie is directed by Mike Tollin. Based on a true story, Radio is a teenager who has a life by spending most of his day alone. He goes around with a shopping cart picking up whatever he can and is always carrying a radio around. He's got his own collection. At the end of every day, he goes home to his mother. He never went to school until later in the film. One day, Radio passes by the local high school while the football team is practicing. A football flies over the fence and Radio picks it up and continues on. Ed Harris plays Mr. Jones, the football coach. They meet and this is the life of Radio.

Throughout the whole movie, Radio and Coach Jones spend quality time together, both teaching each other things. It is beautiful to see how the movie goes to the highest joys, the lowest lows, and just seeing Radio live his life. You will laugh, cry, and live the life of Radio with him. This movie holds a special place in my heart along with Toy Story and others. This is a must-see for the whole family, by yourself, or if you're someone who just wants a great drama. Radio is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. Radio will never be forgotten by me. Never.

As Ed Harris' character said greatly near the end of the movie:

"We're not teaching Radio, Radio is teaching us."

My Rating: 8/10

Eliason A.

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