Coach Carter Review
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This inspirational sports movie is a little bit Hoosiers and a little bit Dangerous Minds (or, if you prefer, Stand and Deliver). It tells the true story of Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson), a sporting goods store owner and former high school basketball star who returns to his alma mater, Richmond (CA) High School, to coach the struggling basketball team. From the beginning, Coach Carter has high hopes for his team. He makes players sign contracts, promising to be great students as well as great athletes—intending to help them break out of the school’s high drop-out rates and low college acceptance rates.

On the court, the team excels beyond anyone’s greatest expectations. With Coach Carter’s training, the team wins game after game. But then the academic reports come in—and Carter realizes that several of his students aren’t keeping up the academic end of the deal. In a move that’s highly unpopular with students, parents, and even the school board, Carter locks the doors to the gym and forces his team to meet in the library instead. He cancels practices and even games until the whole team is back up to the standards that he expects of his players—even though the board threatens to go over his head and cut the chains that keep the gym closed.

  
 
Coach Carter is a compelling film about a man who devoted himself to improving the future of his old neighborhood—not just to winning the next game. Though this definitely isn’t the kind of movie that I'm typically interested in seeing, I loved it. It’s fast-paced and action-packed, but it’s moving at the same time. Anyone who loves basketball won’t want to miss the perfectly-choreographed game scenes—though they may seem a bit long and drawn-out for non-hoops fans. If you ever religiously followed your high school basketball team (like I once did), dreaming of your team’s spot in the finals, this movie will bring you back. But it’s not just for sports fans—the story is a powerful one for anyone. It’s a great reminder that, no matter what the 6 o’clock news may report, there still are a few good, caring people left in this world.

After watching Coach Carter, be sure to check out the special features—especially the making-of documentary and the interviews with the real people behind the story.

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