Movie: Coach Carter

Our Rating: 3.00

Haven't we all heard enough bitching about spoiled professional athletes with bad-boy attitudes? Based on a true story, Coach Carter refreshingly attacks the subject from a grassroots point of view. Samuel L. Jackson stars as a successful business owner who returns to the high school where he was an all-American basketball player, to coach a team of (mostly) academically failing bad boys with a pathetic win-loss record. Why? Because he's a good man, a role model through and through. As the plot ambles along fairly predictably, we get to know the softer side of the kids and their typical problems – Dad's in jail, girlfriend's pregnant, drug dealing. But the surprises come in filmmaker Thomas Carter's refusal to wholly give in to clichés. Coach Carter has no skeletons in his closet; he's a loving father and husband, and an exemplary human being. Jackson's impeccable performance as a demanding, unwavering but likeable character scores the film's point: If school leaders and parents allow athletic performance to overshadow education and self-discipline, is it any wonder that professional athletes lack moral fiber?

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