1966, new Texas Western basketball coach Don Haskins (Lucas)
has no money to scout the big players that can make an impact in NCAA division
one. Instead he decides to recruit the best black players from around the
country and to makeup seven out of twelve players in the squad. Even though
they are ridiculed for their showboating and the black are constantly verbally
abused, the Texas Western Miners but a run together that could take them
all the way to the Championship.
Sports movies are extremely predictable, as you always know
they are going to happen at the end but it is the story of how they got
there that has to grab you and the good news is that 'Glory Road' scores.
The story of the 1965/66 Texas Western college basketball
team is much more than just a team's raise to the championship game. It
is the story of how the social and racial problems of the 1960s in the US
affected now only community relations but sports. While it was never actually
a written rule that you couldn't field a black player on your team, it was
assumed that you would only have one while playing at home and two while
on the road. Coach Don Haskins changed all that.
Going against convention, especially in the south was a risky
move during those times. This was a time of great racial tension is the
US. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers and many other organisations
were pushing for racial equality and rights but change was taking time and
facing a lot of opposition. Sport has always had the power to break down
barriers however and 'Glory Road' shows the impact that the Texas Western
college team had not only on the NCAA and sport but also on America in general.
Bringing the NCAA hall of fame legendary coach Don Haskins
to life is Josh Lucas. This underrated actor has starred in many a Hollywood
blockbuster but still isn't really a household name but he can act. He has
a rather aggressive style that might not be suited to mainstream cinema
but it works well as the coach trying to produce a winning team. He treats
the team as just players, showing each of them the same commitment and the
same level of respect, working them hard to attain their goals and Lucas
does a good job of portraying this. The young actors bringing the Texas
Western Miners to life are some of the best up and coming black actors working
in the US today. Derek Luke, Sam Jones, James Aaron, Damaine Radcliff and
Mehcad Brooks are excellent as the main players in the team and the ones
that have to face the full brunt of the racial slurs and abuse. There are
also good supporting turns from Red West as assistant coach Ross Moore,
Emily Deschanel as Mary Haskins, Tatyana Ali as Tina Malichi and Jon Voight
as Coach Adolph Rupp.
While 'Glory Road' has the predictable ending, it is the background
story it has to tell that makes it an interesting watch. The performances
add to this but it is the history behind it and the story of how sport can
bring everyone together that still rings true, even today.
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the
presentation is good.
Legacy of the Bear (13.01 mins)
Executive producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Andy Given, Texas Western ex-players
Harry Flournoy, Dick Myers, Willie Cager, David Lattin, Nevil Shed, Pat
Riley, Willie Worsley, Togo Raily and Eddie Mullins come together to talk
about legendary NCAA coach Don Haskins. They talk about his life, his
training methods and his career at Texas Western from 1961 to 1999.
Surviving Practice (4.22 mins)
Director James Gartner, technical adviser Tim Hardaway and producer Jerry
Bruckheimer talk about Don Haskin taking the practice session with the
Extended interviews (23.27 mins)
Texas Western ex-players Harry Flournoy, Dick Myers, Willie Cager, David
Lattin, Nevil Shed, Pat Riley, Willie Worsley, Togo Raily and Eddie Mullins
come together to talk about the 1966 team, race relations at the time,
the starting line up, the win, the backlash, the significance of the game
and what it was like playing with Bobby Joe Hill.
Deleted Scenes (5.54 mins)
Entitled 'Don and Mary in the Gym', 'Frogs in Orsten's bed', 'Award for
Rupp' and 'Elevator, these deleted scenes suffer from the lack of a commentary
or an introduction.
Alicia Keys Music Video (1.58 mins)
Entitled 'Sweet Music', Alicia Keys introduces and plays her track from
the movie. Trailers Previews of 'Eight Below', 'The Greatest Game Ever
Played', 'The Shaggy Dog' and 'Annapolis'
The good featurettes and interviews make up for the lack of a commentary
track. Fans of the films should be pleased with this DVD release.
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