Coach Carter (2005)
Coach Carter: 8/10
9 February 2005
Samuel L. Jackson can do no wrong (unless it involves a movie with the number 51 in it). Whether it's Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, or even XXX, Jackson always gives off an aura of "cool"-anyone would want to know him or be him in any of those characters, no matter how wrong the character was. The same holds true for his titular role in Coach Carter. Although it's not one of his "bad-ass" roles, he comes off as a cool person with a moral core. Ken Carter is the only character audiences can identify with, and therefore we go along with his actions, and understand his motives. Not only that, but it's a refreshing break from these Disney-produced "These people can do it, so so can you!" sports movies. Instead, it's a hard-hitting, tiring adventure through the true story (what else) of a Northern California town and their trials and tribulations.

Ken Carter (Jackson) is hired as the coach of an inner-city basketball team. They're a great team, but lack discipline and academic skills. Carter instigates a vigorous lateness policy (thousands upon thousands of warm-up exercises), and then locks down the gym when the team fails to maintain a 2.3 GPA. Carter handles all controversy handed to him in the typical Samuel L. Jackson manner.

Although unfairly compared to Remember the Titans, the two movies couldn't be any more different. Titans had Denzel Washington (who's nowhere near as cool as Jackson) in a sugar-coated movie about racism. Coach Carter IS racist (about a dozen or so n-words...where's Spike Lee on this one?), and there's no real message, except that knowledge is power (somewhat). Being that Carter's PG-13, unlike Titans's PG, it can get away with much more, with a more developed story. There's a lot of subplots, including drug deals and teen pregnancy. It's great to see such adult topics dealt with in a teen movie (well, it's somewhat like a teen movie). And it's not slammed down our throats, either. It's presented, and we take what we want out of it.

Not only that, but we're able to identify with Carter and his actions. Although they seem (and are) extreme, we can understand where he's coming from. It's like Kurt Russell's insistence in that one (the only good) scene of Miracle. Plus, there's Samuel L. Jackson, who can make everything except Formula 51 a gem. Plus, there's the fact that I saw the movie over a month ago, and don't really remember much from it. But it's surprisingly great for a January release, and one you should at least pick up on DVD.

My rating: 8/10

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language, teen partying and some drug material.
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