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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 36.76%
Average: 13.24%
Pretty Bad: 0.74%
Total Crap: 5.15%

9 reviews, 82 user ratings

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Remember the Titans
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by EricDSnider

"Uplifting, cheerful and wonderful."
5 stars

"Remember the Titans" is a cheerfully uplifting triumph, that rare film that conveys emotion without sentimentality, and whose weaknesses are so overpowered by its strengths that you practically forget they exist.

Based on a true story, the film is set in 1971 in Alexandria, Va. Segregation has been the rule, but the local schools have been forced to integrate. As part of that, black football coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) is brought in to replace local high school coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton).

You might just as well have canceled "Hee-Haw," as far as the locals are concerned. In towns like this, high-school football is all the matters, especially when you have a winning team like the Titans. To replace the coach -- with a black man, no less -- is inexcusable.

Nonetheless, Yoast is so determined to be part of the action that he accepts a job as defense coach, working under the strict and militaristic Boone. The players, now a mix of white and black kids, are another matter. It is during the pre-season football camp that Boone forces them to interact, to truly integrate, and to become a real team.

Gradually, and after many dust-ups (football players are SUCH hotheads), they overcome their racial and cultural differences and work together. Most notably, this means team captain Gerry Bertier (Ryan Hurst) making nice with his black counterpart, Julius Campbell (Wood Harris), with the others following suit.

Once that's all settled, there's the little matter of actually playing together. The team is successful, though some of the Powers That Be still aren't happy with having a black man in charge, and forces conspire against the Titans to prevent them from being color-blind.

Racism is obviously a central issue here, but screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard does the near-impossible by keeping it from getting preachy. There is very little of the blatant "we don't like your kind here" talk -- just enough to remind us that things really were like that in 1971, but not so much that it gets embarrassing. Boone is the worst victim of the racism, but he refuses to be a victim -- and, importantly, he doesn't go on and on about how he's not being a victim. He goes about not being a victim quietly, without all the melodramatic speeches we're heard in plenty of other movies about racism.

Denzel Washington is extraordinarily charismatic, helping us forgive the fact that every time there's a setback, his character has something wise and borderline-sanctimonious to say. (That and Bertier's clunky dialogue with his racist girlfriend are the film's only flaws worth mentioning.) Along with Washington, what makes the film work is that director Boaz Yakin has painted the landscape with numerous honest, real characters. They aren't just white football players and black football players: They're genuine people whose attitudes and interactions make this more than just another inspiring movie about sports.

There's the funny fat guy, Lewis Lastik, played by Ethan Suplee, who goes beyond the Chris Farley-isms you'd expect to make the character poignantly innocent and sympathetic. There's the hot-shot black student, Petey (Donald Faison), who has to learn to be a team player. Most importantly, there's the aforementioned Bertier and Julius, whose relationship best defines the film (better than Boone and Yoast's partnership does) and provides the most touching moments.

Touching? Yes, there's some of that here, along with witty, intelligent, and exciting. The message of it all is obvious, and so the film doesn't beat us over the head with it. We're allowed to just enjoy the movie for the fantastic feel-good article that it is, and subtly become better because of it, too.

Near the end, one of the players observes that Coach Boone has demanded perfection of them, and while individually none of them are perfect, the team has gone undefeated -- which means the team as a whole is perfect. Similarly, the film has its minor flaws. But taken as a whole, it's as close to perfect as you're going to find -- a feel-good movie that's also smart and deep, that makes you feel good without manipulating you.

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originally posted: 07/05/03 20:09:43
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Deep Focus Film Festival For more in the 2007 Deep Focus Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/16/17 morris campbell boring & preachy 1 stars
6/20/11 pwhite98270 classic movie with a wonderful cast, history of race relations 5 stars
3/23/11 kagomefan4lyfe Denzel Washington is a genius. Kudos 2 him! lol 5 stars
11/06/09 Robert I will say that it intrsting 5 stars
9/11/09 ilovecandy! it was exciting, fun and most of all it was great because of the great actors!! i loved it 5 stars
6/18/09 sexyasshole this movie makes me wet in my panties 5 stars
10/22/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 5 stars
7/01/08 Huston Gets Cheesier every year I watch it, but I watch it every year 3 stars
3/16/08 ladavies My husband watches this over and over, and I join him. Great movie. 4 stars
2/13/08 michael the ttans rock wooo. 5 stars
11/10/07 Amanda OMG.. Remember the Titans is the best movie. I have seen it at least 7 times. 5 stars
10/18/07 cait how could people say that this movie is bad..its about racism,we need to know! 5 stars
8/27/07 GWB Rocks Totally sucked! can you say formulated boys and girls? Makes Point Break look good. 1 stars
6/08/07 courtney sooooooooo good, puts a smile on my dile. 5 stars
5/09/07 Ant Don't bother remembering these manipulative Titans. 1 stars
5/07/07 ty This is one of my favorite movies. Iva seen it like 10 times 5 stars
4/25/07 yonathan Gonzalez its pretty cool but ive seen it at school like 7 times. Its really a good movie!!! 4 stars
11/10/06 Klaire excellent must see!!! 4 stars
11/07/06 Shei really good movie, has a wonderful meaning see it! 5 stars
10/04/06 melissa perez awesome movie 5 stars
8/31/06 connie daw awesome movie none better 5 stars
6/22/06 Joanie Very gentle 4 stars
6/15/06 Sandy + Stephanie (twins) Our favorite sports movie! 5 stars
5/21/06 William Goss Well acted, but too manipulative for my tastes 3 stars
4/03/06 JRE the best sports movie ever made 5 stars
11/16/05 jenene I really enjoyed this move it is one of my favorite movies. 5 stars
10/27/05 beans stewart good movie 5 stars
10/26/05 Carolyn Rathburn Wonderful movie, wonderfully done 5 stars
9/08/05 zac it sucked 1 stars
8/23/05 Quigley one of the best sports movies made. definitely worth seeing 5 stars
8/04/05 Carolyn Rathburn wonderful movie, loved it 5 stars
8/02/05 JASPER this film is a great movie and should be enjoyed by everyone 5 stars
4/30/05 ally one of the best movies i have ever watched 5 stars
2/06/05 clinger26 my favorite movie 5 stars
1/20/05 Yoshi It's a pretty good movie. 5 stars
12/06/04 Sophie Green best film i have ever seen i can't believe people don't like it 5 stars
12/05/04 Shelby This movie was great it touched me. way to go Titans. :) 5 stars
10/15/04 Eric Great movie one of my favs 5 stars
6/01/04 Nobody Disney just HAD to put in a gay kid 1 stars
11/08/03 Amanda LOVEd it.. could watch it 100 times 5 stars
9/03/03 Alex Go Denzel, Go Denzel, Go Denzel 5 stars
1/08/03 Bob Dong Absolute Classic, one of my faves, makes you fell all warm inside, buy or DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/20/02 Mike Pretty Good, but OZ is right about the piano music in every scene. 4 stars
9/12/02 palaboy101 Another great football movie. 4 stars
8/01/02 I Can't Swim Important message given the Hallmark treatment; movie has much value nonetheless 4 stars
7/01/02 Iris Dementia Praecox Worthy idea backfires because Washington's character is a (self-described) "onery old cuss" 2 stars
10/10/01 Butterbean A good movie, but it's sappy as hell!! They said some of the corniest shit in this movie. 3 stars
9/10/01 Jeff Stryker Ok Film, but some really ridiculous parts. Tries to cover too many things 3 stars
8/17/01 hilary awesome 5 stars
6/28/01 Jennifer Really cool movie. My fav. 5 stars
6/05/01 Jake A realistic look at why football can be a beautiful game. Good study in teamwork. 5 stars
5/26/01 TigerDream awesome movie, all around good feel, and just makes you smile :) 5 stars
5/09/01 Joe Skeates Great movie, just an absolutely great movie. 5 stars
5/01/01 The Bomb 69 simplistic view of race relations in the 70's but good nonetheless 4 stars
4/13/01 Gary Great! 5 stars
4/11/01 Caitlin MacInyytyre I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS MOVIE! 5 stars
2/16/01 jessica really well done. lots of hot guys. 5 stars
2/15/01 viking a feel good movie with a positive and relevant message 4 stars
1/31/01 Monday Morning Denzel definitely takes this film up a few notches. 4 stars
1/29/01 Tom Baddick Every high school student in America should see this film-- especially all sports teams! 5 stars
1/25/01 Zenon This movie ROCKED 5 stars
1/24/01 Megan Fallon This was a real feel good movie and whoever the mighty 'oz' is shouldn't bag it out! 5 stars
1/22/01 Tasha Parks The movie was excelent, I recomend it to anyone and every one. 5 stars
1/11/01 Matt69 O.k. Denzel steals the movie. 3 stars
12/27/00 Lauren It was awesome! 5 stars
12/12/00 Kook Would have been better if they'd have taken out some of the dramatic score.. eeeuch. 3 stars
12/09/00 Sheddy Celestine Words can hardly describe what I thought of this movie. 5 stars
11/28/00 Scott Rosier Excellent movie for all ages 5 stars
11/21/00 Tdis72 Very good movie! Denzel's performance is powerful. Very funny moments and nice ending too! 4 stars
11/01/00 G. Washington very good 4 stars
10/24/00 mwild so bad i nearly fell asleep, deserves 0 stars 1 stars
10/07/00 Michael Manipulative yet refreshing + wonderful. Only the most hateful cynic could not like it 5 stars
10/05/00 Jacques Strap two words: out-standing! 5 stars
10/04/00 Ground Zero Denzel Washington is the star 5 stars
10/03/00 Politicsman Right Along SIde Field Of Dreams, The Natural, Hoosiers, A League Of Their Own 4 stars
10/03/00 chuckmfh Great movie, touching interplay between characters 5 stars
10/03/00 Paulo What a lousy film...full of cliches, a real champion on the lack of originality category.. 1 stars
10/02/00 thomas k Was incredible, and touching, made me want to play football. 5 stars
10/02/00 Image Without a of the best i've seen! 5 stars
9/27/00 The Rock Predictable like only a Disney and Football movie could be....but completely entertaining 5 stars
9/26/00 Joe Gillis Rocks! 5 stars
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  29-Sep-2000 (PG)
  DVD: 14-Mar-2006


  25-Jan-2001 (M)

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