Remember the Titans Reviews
The original T.C. Williams High football captain and All-American, Gary Bertier, was brilliantly played by Ryan Hurst. Hurst turns Bertier's natural aggressive body posture into a less-dominant and respectful-type mannerism in times of tension. Usually, this happens when Washington approaches Bertier with his portrayal of an intimidating and almost humorous type of coaching authority. Another character that was delivered by a talented actor was Bertier's new found friend, Julius Campbell (Wood Harris). Harris also turns his intimidating first impression into a surprisingly timid personality throughout the movie. This was conveyed to the audience when Julius walks into Bertier's white dominant neighborhood for the first time and delivers a nervous stutter when confronted by Bertier's neighbors. Ultimately, both of these actors were able to take the harsh judgements people had regarding their new found friendship and reacted in a way that will surely make the audience feel uncomfortable at times. Later on in the movie the actors were able to warm the hearts of all that were watching by bringing comfort and a sense of brotherhood to both of their characters whenever they would step onto the football field.
Scenes like this captured the hearts of many due to the genius behind the camera, Philippe Rousselot. Rousselot's ingenuity perfectly captured a scene where Sunshine wants to take Blue and Petey to a restaurant to celebrate their win. When Sunshine forces his two friends into the restaurant, Rousselot captured Petey and Blue's desire to hide by creating an over-the-shoulder shot, giving the audience the perspective of the two young men's unwelcome feeling in a public venue within their own town. Shots like this helped depict the society-changing transition this town was going through from both the white and African American perceptive.
The emotions this movie illustrates to its audience is due to the work of Gregory Allen Howard who beautifully wrote the screenplay for this movie. Howard was able to show the audience how to turn tragedy into togetherness with his inspirational, heart-warming, and witty screenplay. As he located a memorable scene at the Battlegrounds of Gettysburg, he had Washington deliver a speech to the players that will surely send chills down your spine.
Howard was able to deliver a lesson of overpowering hate with acceptance in a way that makes the audience form a loving bond towards this movie. This lesson was greatly needed for that time (1971), but also one that our society is in need of today. Because "before we reach for hate; always, always, we remember the Titans".
Remember the Titans is quite simply one of the greatest sports movies ever made. From tensions to touchdowns, the film follows the true story of a high school football team that defies all odds by coming together and overcoming racial differences.
Set in Virginia in the 1970's, the film delves into tensions involving school segregation. A federal mandate to desegregate closed the white and black high schools and students were sent to T.C. Williams High School. Successful football coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton) was replaced by black coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) in an attempt to suppress negativity from the community. Coach Boone accepted the position and Yoast grudgingly accepted an assistant coaching position. The initial challenge the athletes faced came while attending training camp, however. Tensions rose and fights broke out, but coach Boone kept his team in check. He forced the team members to spend time together and get to know each other as people rather than colors. A morning run to the Gettysburg battlefield was a reminder that the battle the team was fighting was the same as their ancestors'. Once those racial walls were broken down, the athletes returned home where the real challenge awaited them: the responsibility to exemplify what they had learned.
The film shows racial issues of that time period, but spends more time showing the football team's accomplishments. Nevertheless, the film is still an excellent feel-good movie with emotional scenes between athletes and coaches, the Gettysburg scene being one of the best.
Unlike other sports films that focus on successes and trials of individual athletes (e.g. When the Game Stands Tall or 1000 to 1), Remember the Titans is a comeback story about a team's hardships.
Remember the Titans is a step above other sports films because the historical and emotional lessons it teaches are fantastic. The film is a successful interpretation of societal issues from the 1970s while incorporating a high school football team's story of overcoming adversity.
Taking place in Virginia, "Remember the Titans" brings the tensions of integration to life. The film follows the struggles of a football fanatic town as their high school, and football team, integrate. Coach Boone, an African American man, is sent in to fill the position of head coach, knocking out, well known and well loved, head coach Yoast. Though the two men faced their own issues of pride and difference in coaching styles, they battle to overcome their differences and develop a bond that will carry over to their players.
Denzel Washington, Coach Boone, encounters racism throughout the entirety of the film. At one point a member of the local black community comes to Boone, asking him to decline the head coach position to keep the town peaceful. Boone responds, "I just can't do that." His wife then walks into the room telling him there's something he needs to see outside. As soon as he steps onto the porch, applause fills the night air. The street was completely filled with members of his community. He stood in awe as they displayed their love and support. The world would do well to learn from Boone's character. We need more people who are willing to not only stand up for what they believe in, but to stand by it - no matter who is trying to push them down. Boone refuses to be bullied or belittled. I'd love to see him and Trump go head to head.
Some of the most monumental moments of the film take place at Boone's boot camp. As the boys are loading the buses, Gerry Bertier, former team captain, approaches Coach Boone telling him who plays which position and that Boone's black players are basically not needed. Boone stands closer to Gerry and in a soft stern voice tells him to take a good long look at his mama because she's not coming on the bus with him. He says, "Now when you get on that bus, you know who your daddy is right? Who's your daddy Gerry?" At this moment, Boone demands respect from the leader of the white half of his new football team. He also establishes that he is a family man, and he fully intends to turn this team into a family. After seating everyone on the bus by position, therefore integrating the buses, Boone announces that the player they are sitting next to will also be their roommate at camp. Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell, new promising player, find themselves sitting next to each other but have no idea their friendship will become unshakeable, and eventually their example leads not only the team, but the town. The moment their movement starts is after they complete a good play at camp. Gerry excitedly shoves Julius and yells, "LEFT SIDE!" Julius hesitantly looks at Gerry for a moment, then shoves back yelling, "STRONG SIDE!" The chant continues as they grab each other by the jersey and come head to head. Physically, it looks as if they are about to kill each other. They are quite literally butting heads. However, the emotion of this scene is high as it is the first moment that racial barriers truly begin to fall within the team. The two join the forces of their influence to start truly integrating the team.
When the season officially starts, the Titans begin winning games, and the town erupts. It seems nothing could possibly go wrong, but like any good film, "Remember the Titans" calls an audible, that will surely toss the audience the most stressful trick play yet. It will have the audience cheering and crying along with the well developed characters.
Director Boaz Yakin took it to the endzone with this film. Not only was he able to capture the emotion and tension of the time period, he managed to do so in a family friendly way. The film refrains from major profanity and racial terms, if only our presidential candidate could do the same. The film is well paced and well spaced. All in all, this sports drama might be one of Yakin's best films yet.
Although this film is 16 years old, it remains incredibly relevant as our society faces racial and sexual discrimination. We could learn from Boone's integrity, respect, and leadership. It wouldn't hurt for us to brush up on the loyalty, virtue, perseverance and friendship displayed by Gerry and Julius. "Remember the Titans" is indeed worth remembering; many of the issues handled within the film need to be handled in today's world. As viewers follow the movement and growth of their favorite characters, it's no surprise they too will leave with the desire to become better and help make our society one history will want to remember.
Everything about the movie was great: the acting, the plot, the music; fine, I've seen this one too many times and I'm on the verge of throwing my TV out when I see it premiere on TBS for the billionth time, but if I took this movie in small doses, I'd be sane. lol