I got a chance to see a sneak preview of the new Jerry Bruckheimer movie "Glory Road." I love the idea of seeing a movie before everyone else gets to see it so I was excited about the sneak preview thing. I have to admit throughout the whole movie I was thinking about how I was going to blog it like I was some sort of movie critic or something. I seriously kept thinking of stuff like, "Not since Remember the Titans have we seen people come together to overcome such incredible odds" and other cheesy things that the put in the previews for movies. But my feeling of importance aside, let me tell you about the movie.
It is hard to really talk about a sports movie, especially one based on a true story because you really already know the ending. I imagine if I asked you right now to lay out the major plot points you would be 90% correct because these movies are so predictable. One of the cool things about being a true story though is that certain things that you think would happen if they were just writing a movie don’t happen because they didn’t happen in real life.
Aside from the fact that it feels like every other sports movie made this is still a movie worth watching. They do a good job of capturing the attitudes of the country at that time, and they don’t only do it through racist rednecks, but through the good guys of the story as well. At the opening of the movie there are some statements and attitudes that make our modern day politically correct selves squirm a little. I think I squirmed a little too because I can remember hearing similar things even was I was a boy in the early 80s. That world is so foreign to me that I can’t even believe that it is America sometimes. When you see what these young men had to go through you can’t help but feel for them. These guys are just kids (isn’t it funny how young 18 feels when you are 31) and they just want to play basketball and be accepted, and there are so many forces against them.
The movie did some things very right. There is little story that isn’t told on the basketball court. This is a movie about playing ball and at least 75% of the movie takes place in a gym. There aren’t many halftime speeches, and in a couple of places where you are expecting the stereotypical "win one for the gypper" type scenes the movie goes a different direction.
Glory Road is a movie I would suggest to my friends. I love the way sports movies make you feel when you leave the theater. Every now and then everyone needs to see a movie that just inspires you and challenges you to reach out to greatness. There are a few moments in the movie where you almost forget that you aren’t watching a live game and the urge to clap can’t be overcome. That is a rare thing in the cinema. This isn’t a movie that will change the face of cinema, but it is a movie that people will buy on DVD and want to watch again and again. It is a movie that people will say, "ooh, I love that movie." It is a movie that will move you with a story that is larger than your own. It is a movie that will challenge you to get up and get in the game. It may not be perfect, but a movie that can do all of those things is worth going to watch on a Friday night.