Coach Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) — based on California high-school basketball coach Ken Carter in the late 90s — takes an undisciplined inner-city team and turns them into an undefeated team. Carter was a successful basketball player in his day and now makes a good living with his own athletic store. Wanting to make a difference at his old school, he accepts an offer to be the head coach of the Richmond Oilers. When he arrives, he finds the team in disarray but quickly brings order to the chaos with some strict rules. He makes each of the players sign a contract stating that if they are to play they must maintain a 2.3 GPA. They must also wear a coat and tie to class on the day of a game and sit in the front of their class. When reports come in that most of the team is either failing or has incompletes, the coach locks the gym and cancels games, causing an uproar in the community.
Samuel L. Jackson delivers an outstanding performance in “Coach Carter,” one that may be worthy of some awards. For those familiar with the movie “Hoosiers,” this film has much of the same feel to it despite the 40-year difference in the settings of the films. Many of the basketball scenes are realistic, which is quite a relief in a sports movie. Even though it is somewhat predictable, Coach Carter could have been worthy of a trip to the theater if not for the language and sexual content of the film.
This movie delivers a good message—athletes are not bigger than the law and no individual is bigger than the team. Perhaps some of our professional athletes could benefit from watching this film. However, this film is not Dove approved. With over 80 obscene words and much sexual content, the film loses the chance to teach kids this lesson. For adults who enjoy basketball movies and Samuel L. Jackson films, “Coach Carter” is a great movie. Wait, though, until the edited version is shown on TV.