Thursday, October 21, 2004

Saw an advance screening of Coach Carter last night (spoiler alert!). Is there anything lower than a zero-star review I can give it? This movie trots out every cliché imaginable, then makes them worse. I can only imagine how the pitch meeting went…
Dumbass Exec: So what’s the movie about?
Dumbass Screenwriter: Have you seen Lean on Me? It’s basically the same exact movie, but instead of a principal, it’s about a basketball coach, and we've got Samuel L. Jackson instead of Morgan Freeman. Oh, and it’s much, much worse.*
DE: I’m listening…
DS: There’s this really rough, ghetto high school with a terrible basketball team that constantly fights with each other and their coach. So the coach recruits his friend, a former star player from that very high school, to take over and turn them into winners.
DE: But how do we get the audience to know this Carter guy used to be a star on the team?
DS: Easy. Even though they’re friends and see each other all the time, the first time they get together in the film the current coach will say, “Hey, Ken Carter, Richmond High All-Star basketball player 1972.”
DE: I like it! It sounds very subtle and natural.
DS: I thought so, too. That’s why I did the same thing to set up the problem with one of the players. He’s walking with a teammate, and the teammate points over to a girl and says, “Isn’t that your girl? And isn’t she pregnant?”
DE: I love it! Such realistic dialogue.
DS: I also make one of the players say “hella” a lot. I’m very down with the street lingo.
DE: Nice. So is the new coach successful?
DS: You better believe it. The team goes from 4-22 the previous year to undefeated. They never lose a game!
DE: Jeez, that Carter is a good coach. But it seems too easy.
DS: That’s where the catch comes in. He is actually more interested in making the players better students. So when they start failing their classes, he cancels basketball.
DE: No!
DS: Yes! Naturally the parents and townsfolk get upset and persuade the school board to overturn the lockout, causing Coach Carter to quit.
DE: No way! What happens next?
DS: As Carter goes to collect his stuff, he finds that the students are willingly studying instead of practicing because they want to do things the “Carter way,” and it moves him to come back.
DE: Wow, I never saw that coming.
DS: Then the movie ends by having the team play in the state championship tournament, against the team that destroyed them at the beginning of the film.
DE: And I take it they win and all live happily ever after?
DS: Wrong! They play an awesome game but lose on a last-second jump-shot by the other team’s star player.
DE: That’s so sad. I think I’m gonna cry.
DS: Don’t cry. Coach Carter gives a very inspirational speech to the team saying how proud he is, so even though they lost, they’re champs nonetheless.
DE: I've heard enough. I’m giving you millions and millions of dollars to make this movie. Go to it!

*Note: Even if it hadn't sucked, Coach Carter is automatically worse than Lean on Me because it doesn't start with GnR's "Welcome to the Jungle."

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