Based on the true story of Coach Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) and high school basketball team the Richmond Oilers, Coach Carter centers on a reluctant coach as he takes the job as the team’s skipper. Coach Carter, alongside his freshman, ex-prep school son (Robert Ri’chard), slowly begins to turn the team from inner city losers into student athletes. Key word: student. Carter’s rigorous workout routine not only stretches the boundaries of the human body but also the mind. When the team and their parents cause a stir concerning how grades aren’t as important as a little “hoops”, Carter locks down the gym, canceling practices and games in an attempt to make the Oilers winners both on and off the court.
While the message this film gives is a smart one, it seems like everyone except Carter just doesn’t get it. He is coaching in a neighborhood full of morons. From day one he says that education is the most important thing, you would think parents would embrace that given that the Richmond school district has a high crime as well as a high drop out rate. But no, the parents protest his actions in favor of the only way their children can get out of the ghetto, by falling into the stereotype of either NBA player or rapper. What?! It is because of this sort of community wide ignorance that the message of scholastic importance is rigorously beaten to death all throughout the entire movie. But of course, in true Hollywood fashion, in the end they see the error of their ways, and prepare to move on to a higher education....aka the NCAA.
Coach Carter is a great film that avoids racial or class stereotypes, avoids the rah-rah of movies like Rocky but still makes you care and keeps you entertained, and racks up a whole lineup of newbie stars who hold their own against Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson plays Ken Carter, a sporting goods dealer who is hired on for a couple of months to put the Richmond High School b'ball team back on track. It's a payback for the Coach as he had...
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