Remember the Titans (2000) / Drama
MPAA Rated: PG for thematic elements and some language
Running Time: 113 min. (120 min. extended version)
Cast: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst
Director: Boaz Yakin
Screenplay: Gregory Allen Howard
Review published October 7, 2000
I suppose it was about time for producer Jerry Bruckheimer to release another stinker on the movie-going public, and Remember the Titans ranks among his very worst. Based on a true story, this film is mostly set in 1971, where integration among public schools was still ongoing and has just hit the racist town of Alexandria, Virginia. Denzel Washington (The Hurricane, The Bone Collector) stars as Herman Boone, a Black high school football coach hired by the formerly all-white school experiencing its first taste of integration. The white parents and many students are up in arms about the situation, including those on the football team. Boone must not only train the team to play together, but also to respect one another despite their differences.
As you can imagine, Remember the Titans had its heart in the right place, but suffers from too many contrived situations and out-and-out phoniness, which is unforgivable in a film that is supposed to be based on a true story. The acting is fine, but certainly the roles of the students aren't well-cast, with many of them obviously in their late 20s and early 30s pretending to be 16 year olds.
The story could have been compelling enough on its own without the necessity of fabricating additional melodrama with clichéd plot twists, such as everything tying itself up neatly during the final game of the year. Even for a Disney film, dialogue rarely comes as hokey or situations as hackneyed as in this film.
Those willing to forgive large doses of ludicrous developments may receive this film much better than I do, but this is a case where trying to force situations to fit neatly into the standard Hollywood mold made the writers bite off more than they could chew. Lame stuff.
©2015 Vince Leo