Directed by James Gartner.
Written by Chris Cleveland and Bettina Gilois.
Starring Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, and Jon Voight.
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 1/19/06
My man Gordon "The Professional" Stokes has
another name for "Glory Road", the new Disney basketball film based
on the 1965-66 Texas Western (now known as UTEP) Miners' NCAA men's
basketball championship team:
"Remember, Remember the Titans"
And, on many levels, Gordon has nailed it
right on the head...and, much like that earlier Denzel Washington
film, "Glory Road" is a good, if familiar, time at the movies.
That's because producer Jerry
Bruckheimer--apparently bored making R-rated blow-up-athons--is back
in familiar territory with the story of a lovable,
no-one-expects-shit-from-you coach (Josh Lucas, playing Don Haskins)
that is completely blind to racial issues in 1960s Texas.
Getting the job with the Miners following a successful career
coaching girls at the high school level, Coach Haskins goes out to
recruit the best talent he can find to compete with the other teams
in his conference...and, in doing so, he adds seven black players to
his roster, completely unheard of for majority-white programs during
that time period. Out of nowhere, the Miners start piling up
victories on their way to a matchup with Kentucky for the national
championship; Kentucky, led by coach Adolph Rupp (Jon Voight), is so
lily-white their uniforms just scream "bad guy" from the moment they
get on-screen, but it becomes a battle for the ages on the court.
Leading up to the final game, the mixed group of kids on the team
bond in the ways that only the movies can fall in love with, like
whites wondering how blacks speak jive, or how blacks like to call
white boys "Mayberry", or how everyone seems to be able to bond over
While these moments with the team members
feel as familiar to me as it did to get rejected by the hot women
back in high school, "Glory Road" perseveres thanks to a
straight-forward, pull-no-punches approach to how difficult it was
for Texas Western's black players to work through a mountain of
racial taunting from fans, a lack of respect from the media and
other teams based solely on race, and untold amounts of beatdowns
some of the players take from strangers willing to take abuse to the
next level. For a PG film to drop a hateful use of the word
"nigger" 50 times is a bit surprising, but I liked it in that
parents will be forced to explain to their kids why this is so bad,
then and now. The movie teaches lessons that most films skip,
and I'm almost elated that the producers decided to cast Josh
Lucas--long on looks, somewhat lacking on talent--because the Lucas
draw comprises women of all ages and males that think Lucas is just
the kind of cool guy they would want to hang around with on the
This, matched with the basketball sequences
that are reasonably well-done, makes "Glory Road" a keeper in my
book. There are some good laughs, there is a good 60s Motown
soundtrack, there's something to be learned in watching how Texas
Western plowed opponents throughout a season in which nothing was
expected of them, and we get the requisite where-are-they-now
epilogue shots...with an added bonus during the credits, where
players from the final game that year (including former Kentucky
forward and current Miami Heat coach Pat Riley) speak about that
game and what it meant, both on and off the floor. Quality
It's not perfect, and in the wake of
"Remember the Titans", "Bring It On" and any other white-vs.-black-bring-them-all-together-for-victory
film of the last five years, "Glory Road" is a bit clichéd and a
topic already heated up in the microwave. But, this is still a
great time at the movies during a slow winter month.
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard