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Glory Road (PG)





Release Date: January 13th, 2006 by Walt Disney Pictures.
The Cast: Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, Austin Nichols, Jon Voight, Evan Jones, Schin A.S. Kerr, Alphonso McAuley, Mehcad Brooks, Sam Jones III, Damaine Radcliff, Emily Deschanel, Al Shearer.
Directed by James Gartner.

BASIC PREMISE: In 1966, Don Haskins (Lucas) coaches the Texas Westerns, the first racially-integrated college basketball team to compete in the NCAA. Based on a true story.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Although this familiar, predictable plot has no surprises, itís nearly two hours of pure entertainment. Josh Lucas plays Don Haskins, the tough white coach of a mostly black college basketball team. None of the players really stand out, even Bobby Joe Hill played by Derek Luke, who was great in Antwone Fisher . Bobby has his eye on a girl who plays hard-to-get, but that sub-plot is too undeveloped and contrived. In bizarre scene, a playerís mother attends classes with her son and encourages him out loud to answer the teacherís questions. Another player has a heart condition, but doesnít let it stand in his way. It wouldíve been interesting to watch the team bond together more often, especially given how much time they spend together.. Glory Road becomes truly thrilling during the basketball games, especially when they play the Wildcats, coached by Adolph Rupp (Voight). The fast pace along with the energetic soundtrack filled with well-chosen Motown songs add plenty to the entertainment value without being distracting. Despite the racism that the team must face off the court, Glory Road plays it relatively safe with only one brief scene of violence and a few subtle hints at racism. Despite poor character development, you still end up wanting the Texas Westerns to win because, after all, they are the underdogs.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: The Texas Westerns donít just win because of their physical abilities, but because of their persistence, hope, and strength of mind during those racist times. They could have let racism get in their way of their confidence, but, thanks to their supportive coach, they fight to the very last minute. Coach Don Haskins has a good, kind heart unlike Coach Adolph Rupp, who not only comes across as racist, but only cares about profiting. The satisfying ending will have you cheering and feeling the same joy that the Texas Westerns experience.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Minimal character development and a predictable plot.

NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 1

IN A NUTSHELL: A well-directed, predictable sports movie with weak character development, but thoroughly entertaining and ultimately satisfying.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)


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