DIRECTED BY JAMES GARTNER
STARRING: JOSH LUCAS, DEREK LUKE, AUSTIN NICHOLS, RED WEST, EVAN JONES, SCHIN A.S. KERR, ALPHONSE McAULEY, MEHCAD BROOKS, AL SHEARER, DAMAINE RADCLIFF, EMILY DESCHANEL AND JON VOIGHT
A sports film-biopic that rigs together a dark-horse victory. There’s a lot of films to garner that kind of attention, right from the times of ‘Rocky’ through ‘Jerry Maguire’ (although not in a very major way) to the more recent ‘Seabiscuit’, but I find I’ve always directed any such thought only to one film, which I surprisingly hadn’t watched until today: ‘Glory Road’. Because these kinds of films are rare, where the forte is the genuineness of the emotions rather than the scale of victory. True, we get to see both in this film, there cannot be a larger victory than that of a Black-American over peers of a different complexion and there’s also the element of honesty seen, it’s like they’re shooting straight from the heart.
I sat back and wondered for a while: How could these scenes have been rehearsed? Or have they even been rehearsed, I don’t think so. Because one needs more than basketball to be in this film, to do justice to whatever it deals with. One needs heart, and that’s predominantly why I can’t comment about performances in this case, it’s simply unjust. Jon Voight is the outsider, inside and out. The rest are a team, the team. No comment either on quirk in humour, cheekiness, the dialogues are spoken, I doubt if you’d find them on paper, as far as I know they’re on film and the people have been speaking those things, doing them. They’re throwing balls into the basket, one team’s winning and the other’s losing the game. Live-action camera and video-editing cannot turn what happened into a fake, it stays real. James Gartner only helped it through, and I think that’s more than fair enough.
I liked the women in the film, somehow that’s pretty new for a sports-film, even ‘Jerry Maguire’ was out of this groove that ‘Glory Road’ sets me up for. I don’t know why there is a misconception (even among women), I think this point needs to be clarified, and yeah “look who’s talking!” right? Well yes, there’s nothing progressive about a break-up in a sports-film that could push the ‘coach’ only deeper where he’s fallen head-first into. Find better ways to emancipate your women, women! The woman who stays succeeds better at being a ‘woman’ than at being a wife, I think that needs saying more than twice. A lot of times. Don Hoskins’ wife (Emily Deschanel) lives through his ordeals, and so does Billy Joe Hill’s girlfriend. Mothers are always meant to stay, you know, I’m not really counting that in, but I was amazed at this story that speaks values and righteousness even off the court. There’s definitely more spoken on it, and as sure as hell, there’s more playing than speech.
The dark-horses are introduced, a team that’s falling apart and the coach isn’t yet another loud-mouth with a soft heart, he’s more tangible and relatable, and I think one needs to be a sportsman to know that. The team is made not by him but by itself, the pinpricks of prickle also contributed by the same. Victories are followed by the wildest of nights, and there’s punishment, discouragement, fear, loathing and liveliness in the escalation. The moments are magic, the screen is life. All you need to do is to live it, to be won.