Radio Hits the Right Frequency
It's college football season and coach Jones (Ed Harris - The Human Stain) has only one thing on his mind, the upcoming games and getting his team ready in time even though it means he is not really there for his wife or children. But one day he notices that not only is the trolley belonging to Radio (Cuba Gooding Jr. - Snow Dogs), the local simpleton, abandoned but his team throwing balls at a locked hut. When he opens it up he finds Radio tied up and in a bad state having been scared witless by the bullies in the team. Angered by their behaviour he sets about punishing them with an extra hard practice but feels for Radio and invites him to help out with team practice and having him become the team's mascot. It is a move which angers some of the players as well as their parents who believe that Radio is a distraction and they need to do something about it and coach Jones.
For those who don't do sentimental movies about the good side of human nature had better walk away as I guarantee "Radio" will not be for you. This is a movie all about a good guy, a coach with his heart in the right place who takes sympathy on a mentally handicapped young man by trying to make him part of the team. And being a good guy/ feel good movie it has all the required elements from the locals who take exception to what Coach Jones does to those same locals who gather on a Friday night to chew over the game.
Basically if you have seen "Remember the Titans" this has the same sort of feel although a different storyline although a storyline which you can sort of predict. You can guess their will be ups and downs and family problems with the coach's focus being elsewhere. But at the same time it doesn't always deal with those predictable elements in a predictable way making less of certain elements than would be the norm for this sort of movie.
What this movie does though is rely on creating the right vibe, the look, the sound and the characters and director Michael Tollin achieves this creating a familiar atmosphere which many of us will recognize. But what he also does is get the right actors with Ed Harris perfectly cast as a coach with a good heart, an element of sympathy which isn't over the top. That is the same with Cuba Gooding Jr. who resists the urge to over play the part of Radio making him likeable but not the fool, managing to walk that fine line so that we are amused by some of the things Radio does but not in a cruel way.
What this all boils down to is that if your cup of tea is a movie which shows the good side of human nature whilst recreating a bygone era then "Radio" is for you. I wouldn't say it is a great movie but with like many of these movies it is moving.