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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