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  1. #1

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    Glory Road

    Jan. 09, 2006

    Glory Road By Kirk Honeycutt for The Hollywood Reporter

    Bottom line:
    Stirring tale of a team whose big win speeds the integration of intercollegiate sports.

    "Glory Road" is an appealing story about a basketball coach who almost accidentally engages in social engineering in his quest to win games. This is the mostly true story of the 1966 Texas Western Miners, who won the NCAA championship with an all-black lineup against the all-white University of Kentucky Wildcats. That win not only broke an unspoken barrier and transformed the college game itself but arguably helped fuel the desegregation movement in this country. The coach, Don Haskins, played with energy and dedication by Josh Lucas, was no political activist but did realize that recruiting black players was a shortcut to winning in all-white Southern conferences.

    This Jerry Bruckheimer production, directed by commercial director James Gartner in a solid feature debut, should please male fans as well as those who don't mind a dose of social commentary with their sports heroics. "Glory Road" will get the new year off to a fine start for the Walt Disney Co., which no doubt is aware that another basketball movie, "Coach Carter," racked up more than $67 million in boxoffice grosses playing at the same time last year.

    With so much story to tell, the movie, written by Christopher Cleveland and Bettina Gilois, gets under way in a rush so it's hard to tell if Haskins is aware of the implications of his basketball revolution. The movie never quite explores whether he realizes the amount of hatred and abuse he is exposing his athletes to and how he prepares them to face those challenges.

    Instead the movie sticks to a rags-to-riches tale of a high school girls basketball coach who gets an out-of-nowhere offer to coach at Texas Western University (now the University of Texas at El Paso). With virtually no budget for recruiting and a program he can't sell to talented white athletes, Haskins travels through northern cities to offer scholarships to black standouts.

    To position a deserved halo even more prominently above Haskins' head, the movie stretches the truth in two ways. Haskins won the championship in his sixth season, not his first as the movie has it. And even before Haskins' arrival, Texas Western was the first college in a Southern state to integrate its athletic teams. Indeed, the coach inherited three black players from a previous coach.

    While the film doesn't soft-peddle ugly incidents of overt racism, it treats most off-court conflicts with humor instead of studied seriousness. The film views its characters as college youngsters, engaging in good-natured byplay and looking for fun.

    The actors do fine jobs of capturing aspects of each player's personality that underscore his contribution on the court. Derek Luke stars as Bobby Joe Hill, the agile backcourt artist whose resentment of racism feeds his athletic prowess. Schin A.S. Kerr has a glowering presence as the formidable center David Lattin.

    Damaine Radcliffe is a determined Willie "Scoops" Cager, fighting to overcome a heart ailment to get back on the court. Sam Jones III makes pint-size Willie Worsley a spark plug at guard. Mehcad Brooks as forward Harry Flournoy must battle scholastic problems to stay in the lineup. And Austin Nichols has serious and humorous moments as Jerry Armstrong, a white player forced to adjust his game and social attitudes.

    Jon Voight plays legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp with a face that alternates between a scowl and a look of astonishment. The film does a delicate balancing act of making Rupp the nominal villain while giving him his due as a shrewd strategist who simply meets his match in a younger and hungrier rival coach.

    All the game footage is well shot and edited. The cinematography by John Toon and Jeffrey Kimball is outstanding, though Trevor Rabin's music is conventional, even at times overbearing. Designer Geoffrey Kirkland makes the gyms and locker rooms all but reek of stale sweat.

    GLORY ROAD
    Buena Vista Pictures
    Walt Disney Pictures in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Films
    Credits:
    Director: James Gartner
    Screenwriters: Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois
    Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
    Executive producers: Mike Stenson, Chad Oman, Andy Given
    Directors of photography: John Toon, Jeffrey Kimball
    Production designer: Geoffrey Kirkland
    Music: Trevor Rabin
    Costumes: Alix Friedberg
    Editor: John Wright
    Cast:
    Don Haskins: Josh Lucas
    Bobby Joe Hill: Derek Luke
    Jerry Armstrong: Austin Nichols
    Adolph Rupp: Jon Voight
    Moe Iba: Evan Jones
    David Lattin: Schin A.S. Kerr
    Orsten Artis: Alphonso McAuley
    Harry Flournoy: Mehcad Brooks
    Willie Worsley: Sam Jones III
    Willie "Scoops" Cager: Damaine Radcliffe
    Mary Haskins: Emily Deschanel
    MPAA rating PG
    Running time -- 114 minutes
    Last edited by ALIASd; 01-15-2006 at 06:40 PM. Reason: sp
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  2. #2

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    Re: GLORY ROAD trade review

    I'm not a big watcher of sports in general, but I'm a total sucker for a good sports film. I'll probably check this one out.




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    Re: GLORY ROAD trade review

    My big question is... did they do enough to not make this just a basketball version of Remember the Titans? I just hope they stop with this before they start making similar stories for every other sport... not that it's not important, just don't want them to get into the hole that they've gotten themselves into many times before doing the same stories over and over again.
    -Tim

  4. #4

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    Re: GLORY ROAD trade review

    Quote Originally Posted by FrumiousBoojum
    My big question is... did they do enough to not make this just a basketball version of Remember the Titans? I just hope they stop with this before they start making similar stories for every other sport... not that it's not important, just don't want them to get into the hole that they've gotten themselves into many times before doing the same stories over and over again.
    There's great reason for repeating a successful formula. Produce inspirational films (while educating an audience slightly to "true stories") for a modest budget with a name actor such as a Denzel Washington or Dennis Quaid in "The Rookie". "Glory Road" is a great breakout opportunity for Josh Lucas, particularly since he got the nod after Ben Affleck bowed out.

    REMEMBER THE TITANS

    Domestic Total Gross: $115,654,751
    Distributor: Buena Vista
    Release Date: September 29, 2000
    Running Time: 1 hrs. 53 min.
    Production Budget: $30 million
    MPAA Rating: PG
    Est. Marketing Costs: $26.2 million


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  5. #5

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    Re: GLORY ROAD trade review

    I totally agree with that reasoning- Disney kind of has the market cornered on "inspirational sports movies" so I don't see any reason for them not to continue with the formula. The fact that they are semi-true stories keeps it from being strictly formulic soince they aren't making it up and some portion of their audience will have some memory of the event actually happening.

    "Miracle" is another such film that was a huge success for the company and released about the same time of year.
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  6. #6

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    Re: GLORY ROAD trade review

    ^ Great example! Can't believe I forgot Miracle, another fabulous American story.
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  7. #7

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    Re: GLORY ROAD trade review

    Had a chance to see the film last night, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It has the heart of "Remember The Titans" with more humor and well-crafted drama. Josh Lucas carries the film like the leading man he was apparently born to be. Continues to be very hard watching him and not seeing the young Paul Newman of the "Cool Hand Luke" and "Hud" era. (Even Newman thought so, he hired him to play a younger version of his character, Max in one scene for HBO's Empire Falls.)
    Derek Luke continues to impress here as he did in "Friday Night Lights", "Spartan" (an excellent, tragic performance in a David Mamet film), "Pieces of April" and in his first film,"Antwone Fisher" Denzel Washington's directorial debut.
    And Academy Award winner Jon Voight supplies his trademark weight of presence and depth, so intimidating as a legendary NCAA coach. Also intimidating are the prosthetic ears and nose he wears in character, the likes of which we have not seen since he played Howard Cossell in "Ali" and even rivals Nicole Kidman's in "The Hours"!

    As with previous Bruckheimer-produced films the young, relatively unknown casts really make you feel and care for them, you really do want them to win. The surefire blend of simple human experiences & overwhelming odds meeting an underdog situation played to a Motown infused soundtrack is a great recipe.

    GLORY ROAD opens in theatres nationwide Friday, January 13th
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  8. #8

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    Re: GLORY ROAD trade review

    Basketball movie achieves box office 'Glory'
    Sun Jan 15, 2:31 PM ET

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The college basketball saga "Glory Road" triumphed at the weekend box office in North America, narrowly beating fellow newcomers "Last Holiday" and "Hoodwinked," according to studio estimates issued on Sunday.
    "Glory Road" sold about $13.5 million worth of tickets in the Friday-to-Sunday period, followed by the Queen Latifah comedy remake "Last Holiday" with $13.0 million, and the animated tale "Hoodwinked" with $12.2 million.
    "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" fell two places to No. 4 with $10.1 million. Last weekend's champion, the torture thriller "Hostel," tumbled to No. 5 with $9.6 million. Their respective totals rose to $261.4 million and $34.8 million.
    With the Martin Luther King holiday falling on Monday, some studios were waiting until then to report four-day estimates. Final data will be issued on Tuesday.
    "Glory Road," released by Walt Disney Co., recounts the true story of a Texas university basketball team that broke the color barrier when it went to the NCAA championship with an all-black starting lineup.
    Disney said the film made as much in three days as industry analysts had been expecting it to make in four days. That was also the case with Paramount Pictures' "Last Holiday," in which Queen Latifah plays a woman who takes the trip of a lifetime after learning she has a terminal disease. Paramount is a unit of Viacom Inc.
    Still, the films will come nowhere near last year's Martin Luther King weekend leader, "Coach Carter," which opened with $29.2 million for the four days.
    "Hoodwinked," an animated update of the Little Red Riding Hood fable, was released by the Weinstein Co., the nascent banner formed by Miramax Films co-founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein.
    Further down the charts, No. 7-ranked "King Kong" finally passed the double-century mark, reaching $202.8 million in its 33rd day of release after a $7.3 million weekend. "Narnia," by contrast, took 22 days to reach that milestone.
    And Steven Spielberg's "Munich," no longer in the top 10, rose to $32.8 million after a $4.9 million weekend. Short of a miraculous Oscar boost, the Munich Olympics revenge thriller will likely become one of those rare Spielberg efforts not to hit $100 million.
    "Narnia" is also a Disney release, while "Hostel" was released by Lionsgate, a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co., released "King Kong" and "Munich."
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

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