Stars: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Ryan Hurst
I’m not sure what all the hoopla is about “Remember the Titans”. I found it to be a decent but largely unremarkable film in its telling of football and integration back in 1971 Alexandria. Virginia. It’s a feel-good movie based on a true story.
All-white T.C. Williams High School is forced to integrate and its first test is with the football team, the Titans, and the hiring of Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) as the token black coach who’s expected to fail. Except he does anything but that. The team’s regular white coach, Bill Yoast (Will Patton), stays on as assistant to Boone, resentful for the loss of his job, but resigned to the way of the world and still hopeful that he’ll somehow make the Hall of Fame.
Boone’s got his work cut out for him, earning the trust of his team members and making them respect, if not, like one another. Off they go to summer training camp where he runs them ragged and forcing integration upon them all. Teammates struggle to overcome their prejudices and some even become friends. Boone and Yoast learn a healthy respect for one another but their coaching techniques are markedly different.
After training camp, and back in the real world, the team discovers that integrating the school is going to be a lot harder and the first day is filled with protests throughout the city. The only way to bring these people together is to have the Titans win on the playing field and that’s exactly how the movie plays itself out. No surprises here.
The performances are good by main players Washington and Patton as well as by Ryan Hurst as Gerry Bertier, the team’s white captain who goes toe to toe with black player, Brett Rice as Julius “Big Ju” Campbell. Some of the other characters, like the jumbo slow white guy, Lewis, who identifies more with the black kids, we’ve seen before. The most annoying character is that of coach Yoast’s daughter Sheryl, a nine-year old dynamo who knows as much about football as he does and doesn’t mind expressing her opinion, wanted or not. Not! Also much of this film is highly predictable.
Good use is made of period music, but in these kinds of movies, that’s to be expected.
Lotta says “Remember the Titans” is an okay family film but nothing special