Remember The Titans


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Remember The Titans
"Redneck kids bond with black brothers. It's so corny, it can't be true. And yet it is - or was."

What perfect timing! You couldn't invent a better story to illustrate the new mood in the White House. If the President goes to one movie during his first term, it has to be this. The message of inclusiveness is close to Dubya's heart, although baseball might have been a more recognisable metaphor.

In Alexandria, Virginia, in 1971, the bussing of black kids into white schools has begun and there is an ugly racist vibe going down. What makes it worse is that Herman Boone (Denzel Washington), a black man from South Carolina, has been appointed head coach of the high school football team over good-ole-boy Bill Yoast (Will Patton), who has been there forever.

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Remarks like, "Our boys aren't going to play for Coach Coon," are banded about and a brick is flung through Boone's window. When he and his family arrive at their dinky suburban home, the neighbours watch, incredulous.

"Are those people the movers?" they wonder.

Boone is a tough, no-nonsense guy, who bullies the squad into accepting skin colour as less important than team sprit and forces them into jackets and ties. The train-till-you-drop regime encourages cohesion amongst the hard nuts. Respect is what the coach demands. Pride, too.

"I'm a winner," he says.

The script is full of stuff like that. They don't salute the flag every morning, they do it in their sleep. Boone has them jogging to the battlefield at Gettysburg before dawn, where he delivers a weepy address.

Redneck kids bond with black brothers. It's so corny, it can't be true. And yet it is - or was. Once they start playing for real, they win and win and the locals come out and cheer and sit in the stands next to coloured people and they're crying and hugging each other for joy.

Please... You don't have to be a cynic to feel sick at this point. The star player has been paralysed from the waist down after a car accident, which is bad enough, but when his reactionary mom embraces his best (black) friend at the hospital, it's the equivilent of sticking two fingers down your throat.

The only thing that's missing is God. When the going gets tough Yoast invites Boone to pray with him, but Boone won't have it. Football is his religion. If there is a divine being, who's to say he's not clothed in stars and stripes and has crinkly dark hair?

Reviewed on: 09 Mar 2001
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True story of racial tension when an African-American football coach is brought in to manage a high school team.
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Director: Boaz Yakin

Writer: Gregory Allen Howard

Starring: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst, Donald Faison, Craig Kirkwood, Ethan Suplee, Kip Pardue, Hayden Panettiere, Nicole Ari Parker, Kate Bosworth

Year: 2000

Runtime: 113 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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