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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 Peter Sobczynski

"Like every other inspiring teacher/coach movie, only less so"
2 stars

Hey kids, are you struggling with both your studies and your perimeter shot? Thankfully, the good folks at Viacom are willing to fork over the solution to your problems for the mere price of a movie ticket. It turns out the secret to achieving academic and athletic excellence against all odds is surprisingly simple–all it requires is to have Samuel L. Jackson yelling at you for a few minutes, immediately followed by an inspirational montage. Granted, you would think that there would be a bit more to it than that, but that is about all that you will learn in “Coach Carter,” a disappointingly shrill and condescending movie that lacks the very courage and conviction of character that it was theoretically designed to celebrate in the first place.

In a performance veering dangerously close to self-parody, Jackson plays Ken Carter, a no-nonsense guy who returns to his old crime-ridden high school to coach the failing basketball team, pledging to restore them both athletically and academically. He kicks out the troublemakers, makes the remaining players perform zillions of wind sprints and informs them that if their grades drop, they will not be allowed to play. The players succeed on the court but when most of them fail to bring their grades up, Carter does the unthinkable and benches the entire team until they improve in the classroom. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t make him the most popular man in town and everyone–parents, teachers and members of the school board–want to get rid of Carter in order to salvage the season, but it is at this point that the kids decide to straighten up, fly right and pave the way for an ending that contain at least 20 more minutes of basketball–such scenes being far easier and attractive to cut into a compelling trailer than footage of people sitting around studying.

The problem with the film is that the filmmakers clearly have as little interest in academics as their characters; while there are plenty of intricately-depicted sports-related scenes, the drama is so flat-footed that we are treated to scenes where parents, teachers and even the school principal flat-out tell Carter that his hope to raise their grades (even before the lockdown) is wrong and that they don’t want to be bothered simply so that Carter has something to overcome besides the apathy of his players. And since they are assuming that their target audience won’t sit for a film about schoolwork, they throw in such unnecessary diversions as gang shootouts, a wild teen party that looks like a PG-13 version of “Caligula” and a teen pregnancy subplot that appears to have been wedged in for no other reason than to provide a role for singer Ashanti that will ensure that this MTV Films production will get much promotion on “TRL.” When the drama about the grades finally rears its head, it comes so late into the proceedings that the element that should have theoretically been the focus of the film becomes just another distraction.

There are literally dozens of films about there involving teachers inspiring their students to get better grades in order to improve themselves (“Stand and Deliver” is probably still the model of the form) and just as many in which tough-but-fair coaches pull their ragtag teams of misfits together for a victory that will reflect not just on them but their entire community–two excellent recent examples would be “Miracle” and “Friday Night Lights.” No matter which example you choose, I can pretty much guarantee that it is more authentic and sincere than the shallow likes of “Coach Carter.”

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11449&reviewer=389
originally posted: 01/14/05 23:40:38
[printer] printer-friendly format  
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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