Lucas Goes for Glory
If you are fan of American Football you have "Remember the Titans" but if you are a fan of basketball there is "Glory Road". Both are similar movies based on true stories set in a bygone era where we have a team which battles racial issues as they bond and go on a winning streak. Both movies are inspiring, entertaining and eye opening for young audiences as the blend of drama and sports action along with humour and music works to keep things moving. The one thing which "Glory Road" has over "Remember the Titans" is that it doesn't sugar coat the racism, showing some unsavoury elements whilst also talking a lot of sense.
After being invited to coach at Texas Western College Don Haskins (Josh Lucas - An Unfinished Life) finds it difficult to recruit any of the recognized talent to come and player for the Miners. So instead Don takes a radical approach and scouts out black players from around the country refusing to conform to what is acceptable in order to build a fully mixed team of players. But whilst he builds a winning team it doesn't come without problems from players with illness to racial tension where ever they go and even at home.
So what we have in "Glory Road" is the familiar idea of an underdog story as we have the mixed team of the Miners which no one expects to do anything actually coming good. But at the same time with it being a true story of a team dealing with the racism of the 1960s as they hit the road. What is interesting about "Glory Road" is that whilst it tones down some of the racism it shows plenty of unsavoury aspects of it which leave you feeling sick in your gut. And it does a good job of highlighting how the constant racism they faced ended up causing division in a team which had bonded. I'm not saying it is authentic in its representation of the racism of the 60s but it includes it more naturally than in "Remember the Titans".
There is of course another side to "Glory Road" as it is a true story and like with other Disney movies there has been a liberal use of poetic licence to turn it into a piece of entertainment. And it works; the mix of drama with basketball action is smooth and quick with the added music keeping it bubbling on. It is clever for being so as it keeps you entertained by what is going on but allows you take in some very clever writing which speaks a lot of sense.
"Glory Road" also features good performances with the young stars dealing with action on the court but also delivering the emotion of the racist times. But the star of "Glory Road" is Josh Lucas who delivers a thoroughly convincing performance of a young coach uniting a team, dealing with racial tension and an establishment of bigoted views.
What this all boils down to is that "Glory Road" whilst based on a true story isn't really anything new. But what it does is do something familiar better than expected as it manages to combine drama, sport and racial tensions in a convincing manner.