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Coach Carter

346 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Based on a true story of the man who locked his boys out of the gym until they focused on their schoolwork, this by-the-numbers crowd-pleaser holds together because a steely Samuel L. Jackson refuses to notice the parade of clich?©s he's trumpeting (the dialogue sticks to platitudes like, "Success in here is the key to success out there"). Coach Ken Carter (Jackson) takes over an unruly team of Richmond, California basketball players and teaches them how to play--and behave--like champions. His plight, which pits him against an uncooperative school board and parents who've given up hope, holds some interest, but the film is too concerned with giving us a Big Game every twenty minutes or so. The teens all have the spark of life in them (including pop star Ashanti, who features in a surprisingly well-handled teen pregnancy subplot), though the film's plodding familiarity means it's never really rousing, adding up to simply a good-natured amalgam of "Stand and Deliver", "Hoosiers", "Dangerous Minds", and even "Dead Poet's Society" (one of the tougher players actually recites some inspirational poetry)."--Steve Wiecking"

Product Details

  • Actors: Samuel L. Jackson, Rick Gonzalez, Rob Brown, Nana Gbewonyo
  • Directors: Thomas Carter
  • Format: Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (346 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1415712158
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,229 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 4, 2005
Format: DVD
My daughter came over to visit this weekend, and she suggested that we rent this film. Since it stars Samuel L. Jackson and is about a high school basketball coach, I thought that it sounded promising. Well, it turned to be more than just promising. It is a movie that held me riveted to the screen the entire time it was on. Samuel L. Jackson is simply outstanding in the role of a high school coach who sees basketball as the means to an end and not the end itself.

Based upon a true story that took place in Richmond, California, it centers on a man named Ken Carter. He was asked by the retiring basketball coach of Richmond High School to return as a part-time basketball coach to the school from which Ken had graduated and left his mark many years earlier. The school is one of those schools in which people barely graduate and, of those that do, most do not go on to college. The basketball team was no great shakes either, having won only four games in the entire previous year.

Finally, Carter is prevailed upon to take over as coach. He has, however, decided that he wants to make a difference. He starts off by letting the team know who is boss and by trying to instill discipline and respect. He wants to go back to fundamentals. He wants to put the emphasis on being a student athlete. To this end, he makes it clear just what his expectations are. He drafts a contract that those who wish to remain on the team, as well as their parent, must sign. Some of the conditions are that the players must attend class, do their schoolwork, and pass their classes. Those who signed the contract ended up making the best move of their lives.

Coach Carter keeps his side of the bargain, turning the team into a formidable one on the court.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Michael Beverly on January 27, 2005
I'm usually not a huge fan of the sports movie genre, but I do like them when they are well done. This movie had a lot going for it, based on a true story, the film didn't glorify sports, rather it had a solid message for living up to one's responsibilities.

A hard luck basketball team in a bad neighborhood gets a hard core coach, one who believes in honor and integrity. Because he puts his ideals above simply winning, he creates a lot of conflict within the team, the school and the surrounding community.

In the end the coaches beliefs are able to sway opinion and his behavior becomes a standard for which to strive. I believe the message here, as well as the presentation of it, made it a much better movie than Friday Night Lights, also reality based, but not really a story of redemption like this one was. I think this is a good film for the father/teenage son crowd and I'd recommend owning it as well.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Rupert on January 30, 2005
As far as how many stars this movie gets, I agree with reviewer William Weaver. Coach Carter features Samuel L. Jackson following the real-life story of Ken Carter, who took on the job of head basketball coach at Richmond High School (in California, not Virginia). He soon discovers that the kids on the team are pretty ghetto, to say the least, but that doesn't stop him from trying to whip the kids into shape by issuing basketball contracts that he expects them to live up to if they want to play on the team. I won't go into the details of the contract because most of the other reviewers already did that, but what I WILL say is that some people won't believe the consequences that occur after all the students don't live up to the guidelines of the contract.

The movie's subplot is pretty interesting, too: one of the boys on the team, Kenyon Stone (played by Rob Brown, which I believe is his first big role since the overlooked Finding Forrester), is rationally trying to figure out how he's going to play basketball and go to college when he has a baby coming with his girlfriend Kyra (played by Ashanti, who actually does a good job in her role; as does former 3LW lead singer Adrienne Bailon, who still looks SEXXXY...*clears throat*). Anyway, this storyline may look played-out on paper, but it's a lot more interesting than it sounds, especially what happens at the end.

It was also interesting to see Ken Carter's son Damien (Robert Ri'chard) transfer to Richmond High and join the basketball team as a freshman, and his having to serve the same consequences that every other team member had to. I was kind of hoping that there would be some scenes depicting the Carters at home and Damien complaining about how harsh the daily practice exercises were. Oh well, Coach Carter is still a truly extraordinary movie. You have to be trippin' NOT to see it.

Anthony Rupert
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By David Schappell on December 13, 2004
I saw an advance screening of this film, and really enjoyed it -- Samuel L. Jackson was very compelling in this "White Shadow"-like role. Uplifting story about a man who takes over as high school basketball coach for an inner city school. He turns the team around from a team that can't win, to one that goes virtually undefeated, and along the way instills discipline and an emphasis on studying that impacts the players lives in a much deeper way. The ending was a little surprising, but given that it was a true story, sometime hollywood endings need to take a backseat. I'd highly recommend this movie to high school students and for those who enjoy sports and stories about beating the odds.
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