Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Drama Coach Carter (2005)

Coach Carter (2005)

Coach Carter

Directed by Thomas Carter, the 2005 dramatic film Coach Carter stars Samuel L. Jackson as Ken Carter (no relation), a sporting goods store owner who decides to take on the unenviable task of coaching the Richmond High School basketball team.  The film takes place during 1999 in Richmond (California, not Virginia), which is near San Francisco. 

Ken Carter takes over the role of coaching the Richmond High School basketball team.  With a new coach coming in, in come new rules as well.  The very first thing he has them do, even before they begin practice, is to sign contracts, contracts which must meet his standards & expectations.  The contracts simply state that each player must maintain a minimum of a 2.3 GPA (which I thought only had to be a 2.0), attend all classes sitting in the front row, & wear a suit on game nights.  As if that wasn’t enough, he makes them do thousands of pushups & suicides.  Although the team is undefeated, he locks them out of the gym, cancels practice, & forfeits games since some players are underachieving academically.  During the playoffs, Richmond loses to St. Francis as a result of a last second buzzer beater.  Even though they lost, Coach Carter tells his team how proud he is to see them evolve from boys to men. 

One aspect of the filmmaking which I thought was simply incredible was the acting performance from Samuel L. Jackson.  What I like about Samuel L. Jackson is that he always gives it his all in every movie that he is in.  I felt this movie was one of his strongest performances ever.  He really brought his A-game portraying Ken Carter.  He is one of the coolest actors in Hollywood.  He knows how to take a character & make him believable. 

The other aspect of the filmmaking which I thought was superb was the direction they decided to go in.  Instead of focusing on a teacher like in other movies such as: Dangerous Minds & Freedom Writers, this film takes a look at extracurricular activities, outside of the classroom.  After all, we have already had a few movies where the instructor has to take over teaching troubled youths.  This film takes that element, but instead adds it to coaching.  I like how this film doesn’t focus all of its attention on basketball.  As a result, it doesn’t feel like a sports movie.  Instead, it feels like a mixture of a sports film with a teaching film. 

My overall recommendation of this film is that I really enjoyed it.  As I stated earlier, I thought Samuel L. Jackson was magnificent.  I would recommend this film to anyone playing high school sports, not just basketball, to show them two things.  The first thing is education comes first.  Having a 3.0 or a 4.0 is much more important than scoring 30 points in a game.  I’m not saying that scoring 30 points is not important, but it should always take a backseat to education.  Your education is guaranteed, but an injury can kill your sports dream.  After all, having a strong mind is what will get you ahead in life, not necessarily your sports skills.  The other thing that comes to mind is that it’s not always about winning or losing, just as long as you mature & grow as an individual.  As long as you can walk off the court with your head held high, you automatically walk off a better man.  I think that’s the point Ken Carter was trying to make to his team after they had lost to St. Francis.

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