STARRING: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst, Donald Faison, Craig Kirkwood, Ethan Suplee, Kip Pardue, Nicole Ari Parker, Kate Bosworth, Earl Poitier, Neal Ghant, Burgess Jenkins, Ryan Gosling and Hayden Panettiere
EARNED (Worldwide): $136.7m
The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.
Remember The Titans takes us to the early 70s when two schools in Alexandria, Virginia integrate to form the T.C Williams High School where the head coach of the Titans, Bill Yoast, is replaced by Herman Boone from North Carolina. Tensions arise amongst the players as well as the community due the racial differences being forced together on the same football team and the team try to bring success on the field to create acceptance to change in the community.
I grew up binging on Remember The Titans on a regular basis so maybe my nostalgia level has raised this film higher than most people would place it on their list, but I can’t help but enjoy the film everytime I watch it. You have Coach Yoast being demoted to assistant coach in order for Coach Boone to be brought in to be the new head coach of the new integrated Titans team, which causes major uproar through the film. What I like about it most is that Yoast doesn’t follow the traditional cliché route of making it his mission to ruin Boone’s role as head coach but instead understands the message and what he’s trying to accomplish, even though at times he doesn’t believe in some of his methods. Boone even knows that he can’t just have Yoast booted out because of him as he states ‘I can’t do that to this man’ as we’re to believe similar happened to him in North Carolina and after all, Yoast is a a sure bet for the Hall of Fame. It’s the training camp in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania becomes the turning point for the team and bonds created amongst the players. The film finds a balance between the games and the racial issues and focuses more on the former than the latter as after all it’s a Disney film, they’d rather leave you with a film that makes you feel good by the end rather than feeling angry (though you do get those sudden moments of anger through the film). The film works primarily for two friendship arcs that we witness throughout, such as the two coaches Boone and Yoast, with a usual great performance from Denzel Washington as Boone and also a great performance from his counterpart Will Patton as Yoast, though for me it was the chemistry and arc between Gerry Bertier and Julias Campbell, played by Ryan Hurst (clean shaven before his Opie years on Sons of Anarchy) and Wood Harris (before his Avon Barksdale years on The Wire) that was the films heart from me and the two of them were great here. The supporting cast have a few who’s who as you’ve a fresh faced Ryan Gosling (who looks exactly the same 15 years later), Donald Faison, Ethan Suplee, Kate Bosworth and a really young Hayden Panettiere as Coach Yoast’s daughter. The football beats of the film may be repetitive to what we’ve seen years gone but the racial issues brought up and the performances make it a level above the rest.
FAVOURITE SCENE: The speech at Gettysburg scene may be the most common choice here but for me there’s just something about the scene between Bertier and Julius at the hospital that just hits me.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we are still fighting among ourselves today. This green field right here, painted red, bubblin’ with the blood of young boys. Smoke and hot lead pouring right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men. I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family. You listen, and you take a lesson from the dead. If we don’t come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were. I don’t care if you like each other of not, but you will respect each other. And maybe… I don’t know, maybe we’ll learn to play this game like men.’ – Coach Boone
DID YOU KNOW?: There is one scene in the film where a brick is thrown through Coach Boone’s window. In real life it was an old toilet that was thrown, but film makers thought this would add humor to the serious situation.