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(Jun 01, 2005)
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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"
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Samuel L. Jackson does a tremendous, tremendous job in this.
As a parent and teacher, and citizen, I have been screaming this message for decades!
As Educators, what message are we sending these kids when we allow them to graduate high school without even being able to read??? But, they can darned sure throw a football.
Look at the "heroes" now - many are nothing more than high-priced criminals.
We glorify bad, deviant, and criminal behavior, and we have sold the soul of this country for a bloody buck.
At least SOMEBODY, even if only in film, has the guts to make an UNCOMPROMISING, UN-RATIONALIZING, stand against it.
I am so pleased to know that this story is based on actual events.
That the kids, in the end, made their own right choice not to play in the tournament unless they got their academics in line.
HALLELUJAH FOR THIS FILM!!
I love that it shows young men who have a hard life and their ability to overcome struggles without making them all gangsters and thugs. There's hardly any violence in this movie either. They show drugs and money exchanging hands but you can't really tell what it is unless you're aware of that kind of thing.