Black Cloud, is an inspirational story about a young Navajo, Native American boxer, who overcomes personal challenges as he comes to terms with his heritage, while fighting his way for a spot on the US Olympic boxing team.
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In the radio broadcasting room, when Mr. William's asks the class if they're all in to participate on the radio, Shirleen, then her boyfriend are the first to raise their hands. But then, after the camera pans to the other students and back to them, his arm is around her shoulders and she has to prompt him to raise his hand. See more »
Look, I just want respect for me and my girls, that's all.
[after Newell shouted racial insults]
Yeah, well fighting Norville Newell is not a good way to get it, Kenny. Come on, I've been looking at their shit-eating grins for going on nine years now. Ten, if you count church. I saw you and I said, 'now there's a man who change all that.'
The first time you saw me, you thought you saw the new janitor.
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An above-average TV movie that avoids the pitfalls of cliche.
This movie began airing as "On The Edge" on the Dutch Hallmark Channel in December 2003. It's a solid piece of work on all levels, well above average for family-oriented TV movies. James McDaniel performs with typical power as Kenny Williams, a racially aggrieved black schoolteacher and basketball coach who has relocated from his home in Texas to the Three Nations Reservation in Utah. There the coach takes over the hapless girls' basketball team. Predictable culture clashes, high-school social conflicts, family tensions, and athletic drama unfold from there. But the story remains relatively spare, relying on believable characterization rather than its timeworn plot elements to carry the film. Williams' struggle to adapt to, and find acceptance in, his new community dominates the story. At one point, not long after a parent from a nearby white high school has all but called Williams a "nigger," the mother of a girl on the team dismisses him as a "white man."
It's surprisingly compelling material, but it means that the Native American community drops into the background despite the able performances of a large cast. This is a movie about a black coach in a Native American community, not a movie about a Native American community with a black coach. The latter would have been a more compelling story. The very similar "Stand And Deliver" devotes more attention to the students in the story and is a better movie for it.
The movie is beautifully shot. Interior scenes convey a feeling of authenticity with their lived-in-ness, and the exterior shots do justice to the majestic landscapes of the American West. Also, the soundtrack features several new recordings by singer/ songwriter Annie Humphrey. "Edge of America" and "Good Medicine" might be her best work to date.
Thankfully, the new coach is not able to turn his team into state champions overnight with a motivational speech at the end of the first act. Instead, we see Williams repeatedly making mistakes and struggling to learn from them for the sake of his own pride and the team's progress. His relationship with the girls on the team is complicated by their appreciation of his efforts and their frustration at his shortcomings. The story concludes with a satisfyingly low-key scene of homecoming for the team and their coach that steers clear of either the triumphalism or mawkish melodrama that mar most sports dramas.
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