Samuel L Jackson is the movie
Jerry Saperstein | Evanston, IL USA | 05/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The storyline has been done to death: determined coach comes to rescue the kids. This time it is a largely minority basketball team and Ken Carter, who played for Richmond High thirty years ago, comes to turn the kids into students, athletes and a team in that order.
Lots of basketball, lots of insights into the kids and their lives. Gritty, gritty, gritty. The script is above average as are most of the performances.
But there is never any doubt that this movie is a star vehicle for Samuel L. Jackson. He is the movie. He overpowers everything and everyone around him. I am sure that real movie critics have a set of words for this kind of bravura performance.
Jackson is simply great and he carries the movie on his shoulders, rendering Ken Carter as a truly fine man, someone who cares about the kids entrusted to his harsh discipline and clear goals.
If you want to be inspired, if you want to feel that there is hope out there, see this movie: Samuel L. Jackson's Ken Carter will convince you that there is a chance things will come out okay.
The Noble Coach - review written by Jack Sun
Jack Sun | 05/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
Coach Carter is an inspiring movie that teaches young African Americans to respect themselves, rise above stereotypes and invest in their own education to secure a better future. Directed by Thomas Carter, Coach Carter is based on the true story of Ken Carter, played by Samuel Jackson, who takes the job as the basketball coach of the high school team in Richmond, CA. Carter is determined to change the lives of his players, to make them champions both in school and on court. He transforms a team that only won four games in an entire season to an undefeated team. As the team climbs on its winning streak, Coach Carter finds that some of his players are failing their classes and not following the terms of the academic contract that they signed promising decent grades. As a result, he locks up the gym and cancels practices and games, which stirs enormous opposition from the whole neighborhood.
While the story of Coach Carter is inspiring, the movie exaggerates the fate of young African American men: either go to college or end up in jail. This dramatization is effective however as it gives the viewer a better understanding of the dangers and temptations of life on the streets of the poverty-stricken and crime-latent neighborhoods of Richmond. This understanding makes the viewers more sympathetic and appreciative of Coach Carter's unconventional methods and supports his actions (signing academic contracts, locking up the gym, canceling games, etc.), although a bit outrageous. In a scene where the school board and the parents vote against Carter's lock-out, you can't help but standby Carter's side and hope he achieves his goal. This scene, however, is dramatized and embellished in the movie as the school board/parents vs. Coach Carter hearing to vote against the lock-out didn't actually occur. In reality, the principal supported the lock-out and even though Coach Carter received phone calls from parents complaining about his decision, they supported his lock-out after listening to his explanations. Since the true conflict resolution was amicable, the movie has to fabricate the vote-out scene to create tension and enhance the excitement of the movie. In addition, this embellishment adds to the credibility of poor the Richmond neighborhood with fairly uneducated parents who do not appreciate the value of education.
Another discrepancy between the movie and Ken Carter's story is the academic contract. The movie depicts players reluctantly signing Coach Carter's contract, promising a 2.3 GPA, decent class attendance and participation, and proper conduct. Some players are irked by this stringent set of rules and tension rises between the coach and the players. However, in truth, Coach Carter actually worked with his players to draft the contract together. They wanted to be pushed beyond the average 2.0 GPA required of athletes to compete in California schools and decided to set the bar higher. If this truth was told, the movie would be boring; hence, it was altered to create the rising tension and conflict and enhanced the movie's appeal.
On the first day of practice, Coach Carter says, "Sir is a term of respect, and you will have my respect until you abuse it," as he attempts to teach the group of players with poor attitudes mutual respect. This becomes the strong foundation that builds up the team and is pivotal to the transformation of the players' characters and their outlook on life. Samuel Jackson's versatility as an actor is visible as he shifts from demanding coach, compassionate teacher, angry parent, and disappointing member of community--all delivered and made real by his authoritative tone of voice, body language and expressions. Jackson's presence--like a drill sergeant commanding respect as he unites his team--carries the movie and gives it an edge, differentiating it from a typical feel-good Disney movie. The role of Coach Carter is one of Jackson's strongest performances. The casting of the players gives an eclectic mix of characters--funny, cool, troubled, serious, scholastic--each likable in his own way, making the movie experience more enjoyable for the viewer. To top it off, the soundtrack is upbeat and exciting to add to the overall basketball theme of the movie. This movie is definitely worth the DVD price, and more.
Honour Your Contract, Sir!
Andy Ferrari Norman | USA | 06/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What I get from this movie is this: Honor Your Contract, Sir!
Think of it, how many of us really honor our contract? In fact, many of the big banks and insurance did not honor their side of the contract: protect their customers (investors).
If you have problem with your kids, students or even yourself, just remember this: honor your contact. It is the basis for human civilisation.
Coach Ken Carter is really a role model for me: I am quoting him now in my current one-to-one and big group coaching programs. Thanks.
Ram Chandrasekaran | Concord, CA | 08/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Have always liked this movie and wanted to own it. Living in CA, what I do like about this movie is about the way things are in some parts of this state. Towards the end, the team did not win the finals BUT what matters is the passion that every player had. Secondly, the way coach made every hostile individual come together and work as a team. Excellent screenplay, can't say enough about this movie. KUDOS to Ken Carter - the coach whom the story was based upon. Wish every 5-10 yrs a Ken Carter is born and be the Catharsis of the society!!!"