‘Coach Carter’ Film Review: More Than an Athlete

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world.”

Doing what you know is right sometimes can be the most laborious task. Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) knows this all too well when he must return to his old high school to coach an undisciplined, insubordinate, and obstreperous group of young men. 

Kobe Tribute

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The world of basketball was changed forever a few days ago in the shocking death of Kobe Bryant. While the film does not directly relate to the man, it does not change the fact that his life meant so much to the game and so many people around the planet. You will be sincerely missed.

Real-Life Issues

It’s easy to watch this film and judge the basketball team harshly. The way that they act can be rude without a doubt. However, you don’t know whatever these teenagers have been through. The world that these kids live in is not easy.

Kenyon Stone, one of the few level headed players on the basketball team, even has his own struggles. With a pregnant girlfriend in high school, along with having the chance to play college basketball, he has to decide what’s worth more to him.

Even if you can’t relate to their stories and backgrounds personally, you feel some of the pain that they experience. You know, even though some of the boys have a rough exterior that these teenagers are not bad people that they’ve just had harsh lives.

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Feels Real

An aspect of the film that I love is the language used. High school films often feel very outdated no matter when they were released. People just don’t talk like movies assume high schoolers talk. While this film was released over 15 years ago, the slang, along with the sayings, are still used today.

Clothing styles in the film feel a little dated but that’s what people wore during the time the film took place. 

Basketball is being Played

When you have spent a vast amount of time dedicated to a specific activity, it can be scary to see it played out in a film. Because it’s hard to enjoy a movie that doesn’t go through the effort of making the situation look real. If you love basketball, then you’ll immediately love the scenes concerning basketball.

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From the games to the scrimmages it feels like actual basketball players are out there playing. Instead of some guys that don’t know about the sport. It’s honestly refreshing getting both good actors that can also at least appear to play basketball well.

Samuel L Jackson Steals the Show!

I don’t think I’ve seen a movie that had Samuel L. Jackson in it, and I didn’t enjoy his performance. Regardless if I liked the film or not, he always stands out. Here especially, it shows that he can take a serious role and perform very well.

Jackson is a coach who doesn’t act like basketball is the only thing that matters. The parents of the children who play on the basketball team have already spent their lives telling them that this sport will be the best part of their lives. So the only thing that matters to many of these kids is basketball.

Ambitions outside of that aren’t too lofty, and Coach Carter doesn’t want that to remain true. The basketball players are student-athletes, which means they should go to class and learn not just play basketball until they can’t anymore.

I truly felt that Jackson cared about the future of the teenagers that he coached. It’s a beautiful thing, and he feels so genuine.

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Conclusion

Coach Carter succeeds at one of the most challenging things for films to do, correctly and it’s to cast accurately for a movie that takes place in high school. Everything feels right from the dialogue to the clothes that the teenagers wear. Those may seem minimalistic, but it’s one of the easiest ways to get disconnected from a film.

The serious themes that the picture tackles are also grounded in realism. It may seem astonishing to some how life is for people in impoverished areas. Not everyone was born in the suburbs and had a pretty easy life. Most people don’t know what it’s like to be aware you have a baby on the way in high school, but that’s a serious issue that some must face.

Outside of that, there’s constant gang violence and it’s pretty much unavoidable depending on where you live. I really do appreciate the film for diving deep into these harsher themes.

From major to minor characters the acting is very believable. In my opinion, Samuel L. Jackson outperforms the rest of the cast simply because he crushes his role. I simply don’t know how his performance could’ve been improved.

Verdict 9.5 out of 10 Stars