Monday, January 17, 2005

Tha Carter...Coach Carter

My sister and I went to the theater on Sunday to see Samuel L. Jackson's new film Coach Carter, which is inspired by a true story. It has him as a businessman who decides to coach the basketball team of the high school he graduated from. In a twist from standard basketball movies, however, Coach Carter has his team sign a contract that has them adhere to such rules as maintaining a 2.3 GPA (higher than the state minimum), going to class everyday (and sitting in the front row), and dressing in shirts and ties for game days. It wouldn't be a movie without conflict, and there is plenty. Coach Carter has to deal with parents, administrators, and teachers who are appalled by his tactics as well as the various problems with his players. Then, there are the ramifications of when some of the players don't live up to the contract. A couple of the players are spotlighted with their own subplots. One player deals with his pregnant girlfriend played by Ashanti (in her feature film debut). Another player has issues with Coach Carter as he leaves and rejoins the team. He deals drugs for his cousin.

Despite the movie's 137 minute running time, it's not boring or slow-moving. The basketball sequences are exciting. Samuel L. Jackson puts another good performance in this film. He keeps the movie from becoming corny or sappy. Ashanti does a pretty decent job in her first role. She didn't really look like a high school student, but her performance was much better than other singers who try to act.

Overall, the movie is pretty good. I would have liked to see more scenes dealing with the players and their families. I think they probably cut a lot of scenes like that to shorten the length of the movie. I hope those scenes are on the DVD. This movie gives you everything you would expect from a basketball film: inspiring coach, troubled young men, and exciting game sequences. However, what makes this movie stand out from others is the theme that basketball isn't as important as growing up to become a good person. That's something that many young athletes should learn.

Side Note: I read an article that said that the names of players and teachers in the film were changed so as to not embarrass anyone. There is a scene when Coach Carter's team plays a team with a great high-school player on it. This player was described as one who would go to the NBA Draft. The character's name was Ty Crane. Given that the movie takes place in California and that the real events took place back in 1999, I have to wonder...was the Ty Crane character actually Tyson Chandler (Chicago Bulls player from California who went from high school to the NBA) in real life?


  1. Interesting write up - I'm keen to see Coach Carter, even if we UK people don't get quite as excited about basketball in general...

    If you like films - I review em on my blog - take a look if you want:

  2. Anonymous7:45 PM

    i have been looing for who the player was in the movie myself but i know it wasnt tyson , he went to shcool out here in southern cali compton( domiguiez high, not northern cali.

  3. Anonymous8:19 PM

    ya its definatly Tyson Chandler no doubt