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Review: Remember the Titans (2000)

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Bob Bloom

Oct 11, 2000, 8:28:50 PM10/11/00
Remember the Titalns (2000) 3 1/2 stars out of 4. Starring Denzel
Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris and Ryan Hurst. Written by Gregory
Allen Howard. Directed by Boaz Yakin.

Any football coach with a lick of smarts should take his team — en
masse — to see "Remember the Titans."

Not because it is a great movie — it is very good, despite its usual
quota of sports clichés — but because it is a film that amply displays
how a team is forged and how the concept of team can overcome even the
most hardened social structures and ideologies.

Alexandria, Va., 1971. The last vestiges of segregation are dying as
the school district is finally integrated.
At T.C. Williams High School football coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton) has
a new assistant coach, Herman Boone (Denzel Washington), a black man
with years of coaching experience in South Carolina.

Later, in a political move to appease the black community, Yoast is
demoted and Boone is named head coach, but with a codicil: His team
cannot lose one game or he will be fired.

This situation causes tension and animosity not only among the coaching
staff, but among the players.
Boone, though, is determined to fight through these obstacles. He
surprises the black players by refusing to show them preferential
treatment. Nor will he brook any insubordination from the white players
or his assistant coaches.

His message is simple and direct: The only colors on the football field
are those on the Titan uniform.

He is first tested when his players board buses to ride to practice.
The white players get on one bus, blacks on another. Boone makes
everyone disembark and the buses are designated for offense and
defensive players, no matter what that player's color.

Washington creates a towering figure in Boone. He never allows his
guard to fall, always appearing in control, self-confident, unswaying,
single-minded and ferocious in his commitment to forge one cohesive unit
from his diverse group of young men.

And Washington accomplishes this feat without being flashy or showy. He
is steel, an uncompromising locomotive steaming over all who get in his
way, including his assistants.

Washington’s Boone is a bully, a tyrant, driving his players to the
point where they focus all their thoughts on him, forgetting their
differences and uniting in self protection.
orking uneasily at first Boone and Yoast mold these young men into a
dynamic, winning team, triumphing over the town’s prejudice and the
intolerance of many of the people around them.

Patton’s Yoast is a less flashy character than Washington’s Boone. But
in his quiet way, he is as strong as Boone, seeing what the coach is
trying to accomplish and helping him along without calling attention to

Patton’s performance is something that should be studied by acting
students. He serves the purpose of the supporting character, which is to
advance the story without hogging the spotlight from the film’s nominal
star. In this Patton succeeds wonderfully, and he deserves a best
supporting actor Oscar nomination if not the statue itself for his

Two young actors also deserve recognition: Wood Harris as Julius
Campbell, leader of the black players, and Ryan Hurst as Gerry Bertier,
the Titans’ captain. Like their elders these two begin their
relationship under a cloud of distrust and suspicion.

But they rise above their preconceived biases, forging an alliance that
puts team ahead of any personal glory.

"Remember the Titans" is a moving, heartfelt drama. It is masterful,
packed with emotion and some humor. It is an inspiring movie that should
not be missed.

Bob Bloom is the film critic at the Journal and Courier in Lafayette,
IN. He can be reached by e-mail at or at
Reviews by Bloom can be found on the Internet Movie Database at:

Steve Kong

Oct 11, 2000, 9:33:04 PM10/11/00
Remember the Titans (2000)
Review by Steve Kong
The Hard Boiled Movie Guide

Jerry Bruckheimer is one of those producers who surprise me from time to
time. He can come up with over-the-top stuff like Top Gun, utter garbage
like Days of Thunder, and then he has those brilliant moments where he
produces marvelously watchable movies like The Rock and Crimson
Tide. Remember the Titans falls into the last category, a marvelously
watchable and entertaining film out of the Bruckheimer production stalls.

Remember the Titans takes place in 1971. It is a movie that uses football
as the backdrop for a story about race relations. A new football coach
moves into Alexandria, Va. This coach, Coach Boone (Denzel Washington), is
part of an integration program in Alexandria. As events take it, the
school board replaces current coach, Coach Yoast (Will Patton) with Boone
and this does not settle well.

The conflict in the movie is that of race. The integration of the two
major races in Alexandria causes much pain and this is shown in the
microcosm present with the players as they go to training camp with coaches
Boone and Yoast. Together, the two coaches must both get their racially
mixed team working together and also accept each other and work together to

Remember the Titans made me emotional from the get-go, something most
movies can't do to me even the most polished tear-jerker from Steven
Spielberg can't do this! The well-written script by Gregory Allen Howard
and the steady direction by Boaz Yakin (Fresh) put me into tears by the end
of the film. This movie is the perfect definition of a feel-good film.

Denzel Washington and Will Patton both give excellent
performances. Washington is one of the best actors in Hollywood and he
lives up to that with his performance in Titans. Patton who doesn't get
enough plum roles is given a chance to really perform and he does. The two
performances are what nail this movie. The other players are good also,
though the script doesn't give us enough time to bond with all the
players I got a few of the players confused after a while. But there are
two standout performers, they are Wood Harris (as Big Ju) and Ryan Hurst
(as Bertier). These two performers are excellent.

Don't Miss Remember the Titans. It will make you laugh and it'll make you
cry. But, in the end, Remember the Titans will make you feel good. And
Jerry, please produce more good movies like this.

Steve Kong

not all film critics are the same.
i'm your hard boiled movie guide.

John Beachem

Oct 18, 2000, 9:11:25 PM10/18/00

Review by John Beachem

* * *

Directed by: Boaz Yakin
Written by: Gregory Allen Howard

In the early '70s, a school in Alexandria, Virginia has just become
integrated. That means an all black school and an all white school have
combined and tempers are flying through the roof. Coach Boone (Denzel
Washington) has been chosen to lead this new school's football team,
replacing long-time and much loved Coach Yoast (Will Patton). Yoast will go
on to become Boone's assistant coach and defensive coordinator, but that
doesn't please him too much. Nevertheless, the two coaches decide to take
all the prospective players out to training camp in preparation for the
coming season. Obviously, the two races don't get along too well at first.
Boone runs the camp like a drill sergeant, and forces players of different
races to spend time together. The players don't react well at first, but
slowly come together as the team's captain, Greg Bertier (Ryan Hurst), and
his new friend Julius (Wood Harris) set an example. Camp ends, the players
have all become friends, but can their friendship survive when they return
to town and find nothing there has changed at all?

What is the most powerful force in a Hollywood movie? Love? Of course not,
that's not a strong enough emotion for Hollywood. Hatred? A case could be
made, but I don't think so. Possibly tragedy? Nope. No, the correct answer
is schmaltz. Schmaltz so strong it tugs at the heartstrings of audiences
everywhere and brings tears to the eyes of the most jaded film critics
amongst us (well, except me, but I don't think I have tear ducts). You know
the stuff I'm talking about. I'm talking about dramatic music pounding in
your ears while statements about family and friendship are proudly brought
to the screen. I'm talking about the sort of thing Producer Jerry
Bruckheimer ("Con Air") is a master of. Make no mistake, "Remember the
Titans" isn't a football movie (unfortunately), because we see very little
actual football. It's not even yet another statement about racism
(fortunately). It's a Jerry Bruckheimer movie, through and through. If you
don't like having your emotions manipulated to the point where you're ready
to cry rape, avoid the film. If, on the other hand, you're the kind of
person who cried a river at "Armageddon", you probably don't need me to tell
you that you should see this movie.

"Remember the Titans" does have one thing working strongly in its favor: the
cast. Denzel Washington ("The Hurricane") leads the way, doing a great
impersonation of George C. Scott impersonating General George S. Patton.
Yes, Washington overdoes it at times, but during the film's rare quiet
moments (a scene where he's reviewing plays with Yoast's daughter), he does
an admirable job showing a man with two very different sides. Will Patton
("Armageddon") has grown on me more and more with every film I've seen him
in, and he continues this trend in "Remember the Titans". Patton underplays
the role, which is a nice foil to Washington's occasional grandstanding. The
other three stand-outs are nine year old Hayden Panettiere ("A Bug's Life")
as Yoast's daughter; Wood Harris ("The Siege") as Julius; and the comical
Ethan Suplee ("Road Trip") as Lastik, the only player who doesn't care one
bit about race. Ryan Hurst ("Patch Adams") does an adequate job, but nothing
special. The remaining cast members all do fine jobs, particularly
considering the often painful dialogue they're given. One of my favorite
lines was: "We aren't going to let anything, NOTHING, come between us! We're
a team!" Ouch.

Only in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie could the problems of race relations be
solved as easily as they are here. It turns out that all young people of
different races need is to be yelled at by a drill sergeant, football coach,
or whatever suitable authority figure might be handy. You think I'm joking,
don't you? I wish I were, but the fact is, this is the sort of world
Bruckheimer shows us in "Remember the Titans". I say Bruckheimer gives us
these things, even those he's not the director. That's because Bruckheimer's
legion of directors all direct in the exact same way (I've given up trying
to tell them apart). Boaz Yakin (Ack, he wrote "The Punisher" back '89.
How's that for a film credit?) is no exception, directing like all good
Bruckheimer boys do. In other words, the film is frantically shot and
chaotically choreographed, but it still manages to be quite dull. That's
really all "Remember the Titans" is at its core: loud, frantic, predictable,
and boring. Take the final game for example (oh come on, you knew in your
heart it was all going to come down to a final game). It's loud, with
players rushing about and yelling to the point where we can't understand
anything; it's frantic, so much so in fact that I couldn't follow any of the
action on the field; it's predictable because you know well in advance how
it's going to end; and it's boring because we really see only a minute at
the half, a minute in the locker room, and a minute at the end of the game.
A game can't be interesting if we only see little bits and pieces of it.

So other than the acting, is there anything good about "Remember the
Titans"? I suppose it depends on who you are. Being the cynical, hard-nosed
critic I am, I don't get much enjoyment out of movies so predictable I've
figured the ending out before the movie starts. If you like predictable,
feel good movies you'll probably find more to like here than I did (that
shouldn't be too hard). One last thing I want to note is the score, by
composer Trevor Rabin ("Armageddon"). Rabin is a long time collaborator with
Bruckheimer, and it's little surprise since the man is a master of dramatic
music. Everything he composes swells to epic proportions at just the right
moments. Take a scene where, uh, well every scene in the movie actually.
Washington makes a dramatic speech (like his painfully bad one at
Gettysburg); the camera pans slowly over the awed faces of his students; the
camera flashes to the sun shining through dark clouds; the music swells high
and our spirits are meant to soar. I, meanwhile, am rapidly jotting down
notes about feelings of nausea sweeping over me. "Remember the Titans" runs
far too long at 113 minutes. I'd recommend it to fans of cheesy,
predictable, dramatic movies; or to any avid Bruckheimer devotees, and give
it two and a half out of five stars.

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Past reviews can be found at: or

* * * * * - One of the best movies of the year.
* * * * - Great flick, try and catch this one.
* * * - Okay movie, hits and misses.
* * - Pretty bad, see it at your own risk.
* - See this one only if you enjoy pain.
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