Up-and-coming sports reporter rescues a homeless man ("Champ") only to discover that he is, in fact, a boxing legend believed to have passed away. What begins as an opportunity to resurrect Champ's story and escape the shadow of his father's success becomes a personal journey as the ambitious reporter reexamines his own life and his relationship with his family.
Samuel L. Jackson,
40 years ago, Don Haskins went on the recruiting trail to find the best talent in the land, black or white. 7 blacks and 5 whites made up the legendary 1965-66 Texas Western Miners. They were mocked and ridiculed for their showboating and flaunting of black players on the court. Yet, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, Haskins and his Miners came together as a team united to reach the National Championship game against powerhouse Kentucky. Written by
The photo shown at the end of the movie is a photo of the real 1965-66 Texas Western team, rather than of the actors playing those parts in the film. See more »
The final game with Texas Western and the University of Kentucky is televised by NBC. The "Snake" logo from 1959 is shown with the 1979 "Proud as a Peacock" logo. The movie takes place in 1966, so the 1956 "Living Color" Peacock should have been used. Anyway, at the time the Peacock wasn't the logo of NBC and only the "NBC Snake" would've been used. In either case, NBC didn't televise the NCAA Championship until 1969. See more »
Coach Don Haskins:
[while recruiting Orsten Artis]
Brother, without a little work I don't think you can get past an old-timer like me.
Get past you... I will go past you, through you, over you, under you, around you. As a matter of fact I will spin you like a top, twist you in a pretzel, eat your lunch, steal your girl and kick your dog at the same time... pshh, get past you.
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Living in El Paso TX waiting for friends to finish their time serving in the Army at Fort Bliss leaves me a lot of time to study local culture and history in this border town, and I spend a lot of time going to the movies.
Recently, Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer made a film based on a true story about a small time basketball coach who, in 1966, took the lowly Texas Westerns to the NCAA championship. Called "Glory Road" tells the story of Don Haskins -- the first college basketball coach to integrate his team with African-American players causing an immediate firestorm of controversy. The film explores Haskins's struggles, along with those of his team as they battle for ultimate victory.
Did you like "Remember the Titans?" I mean really like it? Because producer Jerry Bruckheimer and the Walt Disney Corporation have plowed through the annals of sports history to serve up almost the exact same story, this time taking their dubious intentions to the world of college basketball. I wasn't a fan of "Titans;" I found the film an insufferable, simplistic creation that made a mockery of real-life racism in the 1960s and "Road" simply reheats the same stew.
Bruckheimer has chosen James Gartner to make his directing debut with "Road," and the newcomer seems like an apt choice, since this a film that doesn't require much direction. "Road" is formula at its most poisonous, with Gartner mechanically visualizing the Crayola script, regardless of how ridiculous the film gets.
"Road" is grabbing at inspirational and heart-warming messages, but the screenplay is entirely obnoxious, plugging up any honest thrill of this story with appalling caricatures of Caucasians (who wave Confederate flags at the final game), one-dimensional supporting roles (Emily Deschanel, as Haskins's wife, is given nothing to play), and bestowing immediate sainthood on any black character within striking distance.
The script even gives one player a heart defect for him to overcome, just to jackhammer home the point that these guys had everything against them. There is simply nothing resembling real life in the film, just basic cable motivations and infantile storytelling that somehow lucked itself into a big screen release pattern and budget. I can't fault Bruckheimer for softening the story, but in his pursuit to make a film that has vicious mass appeal, he's bled the humanity and emotional weight completely out of this significant historical achievement.
If it wasn't for Josh Lucas's performance as Haskins, there wouldn't be anything in "Road" to recommend. Lucas has the perfect idea to ignore the rest of the movie, and focus deeply on the scorching passion Haskins has for the game. Lucas is completely authentic in the role, and adds to the electricity of the repetitive game sequences with his fiery courtside demeanor. Of course, he still has to deal with the script's obsession with never-ending inspirational speeches (a Derek Luke specialty) and grotesque paint-by-numbers plotting, but he's good here, against all the odds.
What really angers about "Road" is the absence of a true team portrait for the Texas Westerns. By only focusing in on the black members, Gartner has done a great disservice to the other athletes who helped define the team's winning season. "Road" provides the faintest of characterizations for these players, only calling them in to continually diminish their role in the team's importance, or to use them as cartoons to help underscore their differences in skin color. What a shame. To confuse matters more, "Road" closes with a real snapshot of the winning team. In the picture, we see the whole squad, standing together proud and victorious, bringing on one and only thought: who were those white and Hispanic dudes?
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