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
During the grueling "AM" practice, Coach Haskins is seen wearing a white shirt while mocking the players about the previous night. In other frames of the practice, he is seen wearing a black shirt. When he goes back to his room and kisses his wife, the shirt is white again. See more »
During the credits, an inset shows several of the actual people involved (Don Haskins, David Lattin, Pat Riley, Orsten Artis, Willie Worsley, Harry Flournoy, and Nevil Shed) commenting about the championship game and its implications. Video of that game is also shown. See more »
In 1966, a coach of a girl's basketball team comes to Texas Western College and recruits seven black players to lead them to the top.
Right from the trailers and the posters, you probably know how "Glory Road" is gonna go: an underdog NCAA basketball team must face great odds to win the championship. It's a sports movie based from true events (read: based) with a Hollywood tag plastered over its forehead that features reluctant heroes overcoming their problems and giving it all for the game. Nonetheless, the movie achieves more than that.
While this Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Disney movie plot is typical (remember the Titans?), the underlying socio-political theme effectively presents the ills of racism - a problem with no easy way out of (ask Paul Haggis). The key characters of the game are dealing with discrimination and the only way they can get back is to win. Of course, a little research told me that some of the details about the real events were changed for cinematic purposes. It's completely fine by me as long as the end product justifies the means. And boy it does. The performances are also good. Josh Lucas gives a terrific performance as Don Haskins, the head coach of the team that featured the first all-black starting lineup in US NCAA history.
"Glory Road" is a formulaic yet an enjoyable film. It's a movie that gives itself away as soon as one character says "I want to play, Coach!" Still it has charm and excitement that comes from seeing it for what it is. It's predictable, yeah, but it's not much different from seeing a replay of a game where your favorite team won.
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