Coach Carter Reviews

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Ebert & Roeper
October 18, 2008
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
March 25, 2008
This is supposed to be about setting high standards, yet it's full of fudged ultimatums; in the end I couldn't be sure whether its morality was complex or just confused.
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Nathan Rabin
AV Club
October 6, 2006
Samuel L. Jackson shouts, yells, bellows, and screams his way through the fact-inspired film
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Chris Tilly
Time Out
February 9, 2006
Although this is an inspirational genre pic that pushes all the requisite buttons throughout, you canâ(TM)t help but feel that rather than benching the team, director Thomas Carter should have benched a few of those ham-fisted sporting clichà (C)s instead.
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Ken Tucker
New York Magazine/Vulture
July 5, 2005
Saved by bursts of energy and inventiveness.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 27, 2005
Carter gives every sports-drama cliche a chance to play. No bad idea is benched.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
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David Blaylock
Village Voice
January 25, 2005
Too vicious to speak to bleeding-heart liberals, too pro-academia to speak to No Child Left Behind advocates, and too preachy to speak to youths.
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 14, 2005
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
January 14, 2005
One of those highly effective conventional pictures that remind us that conventionality isn't always a bad thing.
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
January 14, 2005
The appeal lies in the genre's mixed marriage of liberal sensibilities to conservative values, a happy American union that simultaneously acknowledges the fact of social injustice while insisting on the need for individual responsibility.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Sean Daly
Washington Post
January 14, 2005
The basketball footage is often thrilling, the camera whooshing through the action like a darting point guard.
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
January 14, 2005
No one will be surprised to learn that Jackson's Coach Carter is a shining slab of steel-rod charisma.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
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Erik Lundegaard
Seattle Times
January 14, 2005
Must decency be dull?
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Carla Meyer
San Francisco Chronicle
January 14, 2005
Features bursts of humor and electrifying energy offset by speechifying and a dud of a subplot.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
January 14, 2005
Jackson plays the coach with wit and authority. His imposing presence ensures that he won't have to take much guff, even from the toughest punk on the team.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Lisa Rose
Newark Star-Ledger
January 14, 2005
The movie may consist of formulaic elements, but it excels on the strength of its cast and the sincerity of its message.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Debra Birnbaum
New York Post
January 14, 2005
The inspirational tale becomes just another by-the-numbers, cliché-ridden sports film.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
January 14, 2005
By the time you leave, Jackson will have you believing that his Coach Carter is a true original.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 14, 2005
It's not only a sports movie with the usual big games and important shots, but also a coach movie, with inspiring locker room speeches and difficult moral decisions.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
January 14, 2005
The kind of boot-strap-pulling, tear-duct-tickling, I-am-Spartacus-crowing movie-on-a-mission that might rankle more cynical movie goers but sets hearts aflutter for most everyone else.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
January 14, 2005
In this film, basketball is not a metaphor; it's a hard-played game that requires skill, conditioning, intelligence and effective teamwork.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
January 14, 2005
While there's no denying its positive message, there's also no denying that it offers absolutely nothing fresh or innovative.
| Original Score: D+
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
January 14, 2005
No arguing with the message: The movie's eager to tell its audience (especially young viewers) that there's life beyond a basketball court, and they ought to prepare for it.
| Original Score: B-
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Michael Booth
Denver Post
January 14, 2005
Clearly there was a publicity hound somewhere inside the coach when he made his lockout a TV spectacle, but the movie avoids any such interesting shadows.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
January 14, 2005
How do you put this message across without it seeming medicinal? Sure, MTV is among the movie's producers, but what 11th grader wants to spend a Friday night being hit with such a blunt instrument?
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 13, 2005
In the title role, Jackson holds himself like an exclamation point.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Mike Clark
USA Today
January 13, 2005
Nothing but the coach's gutsy move and the fact that it really happened distinguishes this movie from a litany of past basketball dramas.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 13, 2005
The movie's not all didactic. It's also fun, thanks to exuberant actors Antwon Tanner, Channing Tatum, Rob Brown, Rick Gonzalez, Robert Ri'chard and other Richmond Oilers.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
January 13, 2005
The main problem with Coach Carter can be summed up simply: too much sermonizing.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
January 13, 2005
If you've spent a week with CBS' prime-time lineup, you've heard this tune a million times.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
January 13, 2005
The movie's 'message' -- life is more than just sports -- is delivered with the delicacy of a piano dropped from a fifth-story window.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
January 13, 2005
Coach Carter will be greeted with reviews that overflow with sports metaphors. Let's just say that the movie scores solidly.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
January 13, 2005
Samuel L. Jackson plays the real-life coach of a high school basketball team in this solid, unsurprising sports drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 13, 2005
With his steely, don't-mess-with-me aura, Jackson is ideally cast as Carter. When he blows his whistle and demands that everyone do wind sprints, you might think he means you, too.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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John Anderson
Newsday
January 13, 2005
For all Coach Carter's moralizing, it is an eminently palatable drama, and Samuel L. Jackson -- who has certainly been known to take nobility to the nth degree -- is first-rate as Carter.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Sid Smith
Chicago Tribune
January 13, 2005
The film nicely balances the stories, allowing some of the teammates to emerge as believably streetwise characters.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bob Townsend
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 13, 2005
Thank goodness then for go-to guy Jackson. He takes what could have been a cardboard cliche role and puts flesh on it with his flamboyant intelligence.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Ernest Hardy
L.A. Weekly
January 12, 2005
Director Thomas Carter, working from a script by Mark Schwahn and John Gatins, manages to elevate the clichés into a surprisingly engaging, enjoyable two hours.
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
January 12, 2005
Is there anything in movies less convincing than a high-school ne'er-do-wells get-down-and-study montage?
Full Review | Original Score: C
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Robert Koehler
Variety
January 10, 2005
Both an inspirational sports movie and an unexpected multi-level urban drama that plays by its own clock.
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Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
January 10, 2005
It's ultimately Jackson, with a winning combination of no-nonsense authority and quirky charisma, not to mention a love of flashy neckties, who breathes life into the film bearing his character's real name.