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Overall Rating
3.78

Awesome41.27%
Worth A Look: 20.63%
Average: 14.29%
Pretty Bad: 22.22%
Total Crap: 1.59%

4 reviews, 39 user ratings


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Coach Carter
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by Laura Kyle

"A longwinded PSA and half-assed sports movie."
2 stars

Coach Carter tragically blows the chance to be a riveting, confrontational and socially relevant look at how fucked up inner-city schools are. Too bad.

I imagine screenwriters Mark Schwan (The Perfect Score, “One Tree Hill”) and John Gatins (Hard Ball, Summer Catch) had a whole bunch of post-it notes in which they jotted down every life lesson they could think of in about, oh, 15 minutes, and then just stuck them all over their script to Coach Carter, eventually incorporating them into it.

Never mind that they have real life source material – the story of how a basketball coach benched his entire team for slacking academically is a true one – they STILL stuck to the sports drama/Lifetime movie clichés, and to an obscene extent; never once did they waver in their goal of creating a completely pedestrian affair for the whole family to enjoy… and quickly forget.

Which brings me to a new point. Coach Carter just barely grabs a PG-13 rating. As if every movie in the “family” section of the video store should somehow get a pass from critics anyways, Coach Carter has us believe it’s more than that, it means to be edgy. How else do you explain the annoying rap music in the background? But my friends, it most definitely is not.

Schwan and Gatins casually glance at life on the streets, focusing on a few basketball players who each have their own issues and problems, but they really can’t handle all the pesky subplots and you know, characterization. I think it was just a bit too complicated for them.

Rick Gonzales, though, is a young actor to take serious note of – he gives the film a bit more street credit with his raw, honest performance. But alas, Coach Carter is way too bent on being an ensemble show -- it’s a team effort I guess -- that Gonzales barely has the chance to impact the audience.

But when his fellow cast members, who are probably athletes, first, and actors, well… third… make even the most generic dialogue seem like difficult Shakespeare, Gonzales is especially memorable. In fact, the two best scenes in the movie are thanks to him.

The oh-so-cool Samuel L. Jackson is unfortunately the weakest link. It’s not that he’s bad, so much; he’s just not… good. His stone-faced demeanor gets old after a while, when you realize it’s the only card he’s playing. Not that Schwan or Gatins bothered to give him more than one layer. They were too obsessed with writing cutesy dialogue to do that.

For example: “This is not the track team, Coach!” says a player, to which Jackson replies, “This isn’t the debate team either!” I mean… puh-lease…

I think I’ve ragged on the lame screenplay enough (and to be fair, it has its moments). Director Thomas Carter definitely gets a good deal of the blame too, for Coach Carter sucking. Jackson maybe talks about basketball, once or twice, in the whole movie -- mostly he’s just giving his athletes sermons about post-it note one and then post-it note two, so how his team is successful on the court, I have NO IDEA.

But director Carter doesn’t seem to know what to do during the actual basketball games either, just swing the camera around to the scoreboard and show some guys doing slam-dunks. I guess.

As well, Trevor Rabin’s score is a tad overambitious. It’s like the music from Saving Private Ryan wondered out of the frame, got lost, and somehow ended up in the background of Coach Carter. Except Rabin’s not as good a composer as John Williams and Coach Carter is not a war movie/masterpiece like Saving Private Ryan. See the problem?

Coach Carter sometimes succeeds, sure, in large part thanks to rising star Rick Gonzales, but go see Friday Night Lights, Remember the Titans, or heck – even Dodgeball, instead.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11449&reviewer=369
originally posted: 07/25/05 05:41:15
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/07/11 Liam Walker Agree with @Talie Fuimaono brilliant acting by Samuel L 5 stars
4/26/10 Jeff Wilder Not much new in terms of story. But Jackson's performance is very good. 3 stars
2/11/09 ceddy How can you not like it,,, it was the best movie ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/19/07 sj133 sucked to the core 1 stars
10/30/06 Talie Fuimaono Love it it awwwsome!!!! very inspirational and awsome actin by Samuel L Jackson!!! WICKED 5 stars
8/15/06 Sharon such a good movie inspirational and made me cry and laugh and wanna play basketball 5 stars
5/04/06 samya i love this moie alot it teach me a lesson 5 stars
4/05/06 Allan Johnson The team lost the last game.Nice piece of realism 5 stars
4/02/06 JRE really really really really really really good 5 stars
12/14/05 DANNiiRUSS0-- ALL0W ME T0 RE' iiNTR0DUCE MYSELF iiT WAS THE SHiiT !! 5 stars
12/06/05 Jimena Pena very inspirational! 5 stars
10/22/05 janine the cute movie i ever seen 5 stars
10/14/05 eddiejohns Very inspirational. All teachers should follow suit 5 stars
9/26/05 Tiffany Rick Gonzalez is so Cute!!! 5 stars
9/20/05 Veronica i love this movie, the best yet. u can try to top it but you cant 5 stars
9/11/05 Jazz It was a breath taken film, if you are looking for an insperational film, this is it!! 5 stars
9/05/05 Holly one of the best movies i have ever seen-very inspiration 5 stars
8/19/05 Jordan This was an awesome movie. It really hits you hard and it hits close to home for many. 5 stars
8/17/05 kelsie the best movie in the hole entire world 5 stars
8/16/05 B It is a fantastic movie 5 stars
8/15/05 Marty Battafarano Very good message 5 stars
8/01/05 Beth Kerrick My kids, ages 15 and 12, and I enjoyed this movie. Go Coach Carter for making the grade! 4 stars
7/27/05 Tasha I absolutely LOVED it 5 stars
7/25/05 Suke How many times can you draw from the same well? 2 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Stand By Me wannabe borefest 2 stars
7/18/05 olie mcclary Iloved the movie could not take my eyes off the screen 5 stars
7/13/05 Brittany awesome 5 stars
6/25/05 Dan good movie. 4 stars
6/17/05 Julia Good storey, and surprising 5 stars
2/20/05 lj inspiring 4 stars
2/03/05 jjj ashanti didherthing 5 stars
2/02/05 lisa w I knew nothing about the movie going in, and it was GREAT!! Highly Recommend 5 stars
2/02/05 Brigette My opinion on this movie is that it is alright.It was worth watching but it could bebetter 4 stars
2/01/05 r durham I really enjoyed this movie.It kept my attention all the way through. 4 stars
2/01/05 Lil J I love this movie my favorite part was when Cruz gave his speech i LOVED it and the movie 2 5 stars
1/29/05 malcolm the first hour was pretty damned ordinary as far as sports films go, but it got better. 4 stars
1/23/05 Steve Michaud Cliched and derivative, but it's well-intentioned and its message is sincere 3 stars
1/18/05 PG #32 Good movie, Jackson is amazing, a little bit too dramatic for my taste, worth my time 4 stars
1/15/05 mott the drupal is this story about the directors life? 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  14-Jan-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 21-Jun-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-May-2005


Directed by
  Thomas Carter

Written by
  Mark Schwahn
  John Gatins

Cast
  Samuel L. Jackson
  Robert Ri'chard
  Rob Brown
  Ashanti
  Debbi Morgan
  Rick Gonzalez



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