Remember the Titans

| October 2, 2000

In Remember The Titans, we see that the worst disease that has ever affected our country is racism, but there is always hope – one red-neck s.o.b. at a time.
The time is 1971. The U.S. had gotten over the 60’s but many of the problems are still there. In a microcosm of the South, Denzel Washington (Malcolm X, Crimson Tide, Philadelphia) plays Coach Boone, the new assistant football coach on the campus of the newly integrated T.C. Williams High School in Virginia. Head Coach Yoast (Will Patton – Gone In 60 Seconds, No Way Out, The Spitfire Grill) and all the established white folk in the town don’t want him, but then, in what is supposed to be a temporary move (and a twisted act of political affirmative action), the school board makes Washington the head coach and demotes Patton to the number two slot. The story: How far can he take the football team before getting fired for being black.
This is the second time in two years that producer Jerry Bruckheimer and star Denzel Washington have teamed up in the adaptation of a true story, and Washington’s third sports-as-milieu movie in three years: Hurricane was about boxing, and He Got Game centered around basketball. All three movies are supreme entertainment, as we have come to expect from Washington, who in the last 10 years has brought us Academy Award deserving performances in Philadelphia, Malcolm X, The Bone Collector, and my own favorite, Crimson Tide. In Remember The Titans, he further establishes himself as one of the acting greats of our era.
There were several acting performances which are worth watching: Hayden Panettiere plays Cheryl Yoast, Patton’s 9 ½ year-old daughter who is more interested in diagramming a weak-side screen than playing with dolls. The actress is only 11 but has 12 acting credits including Princess Dot in A Bug’s Life.
Will Patton is great in his supporting role as Coach Yoast, first Head and then Assistant football coach of the Titans. This is his third excellent role in 3 years (Gone in 60 Seconds and Armageddon).
Also of note is Ryan Hurst as Bertier, the team captain who finally gets smart enough to bring the team together as a leader instead of slitting it apart (Kind of like the guy in Rudy who started the crowd screaming for Sean Astin to get in the game).
You don’t have to know a great deal about football to keep up with this one: Panettiere will clue you in. And a wonderful sound track, which augments the great football hits will share a lot, as well.
The soundtrack from the movie is killer. It features everyone from the Temptations to James Taylor and tons of other performers in between. Probably worth a look at the CD store.
Kudos for first time writer Gregory Allen Howard and Boaz Yakin (type THAT name 10 times fast) in what is sure to be his break-out directorial effort.

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