Saturday, March 31, 2007

Reviews: Coach Carter

Coach Carter
"It begins on the streets. It ends here."

Coach Carter is one of my favorite movies which focuses on team sports and importance of education in our lives. In America, only few Black-Americans get the chance to go to college. It is because after they graduate High School, only 50% of the students go to college. Some of them don't have enough money to support their college education. Some of them get pregnant. Some of them get arrested by cops due to illegal dealing of drugs and firearms. Some get killed through gang wars.

The film was premiered in the Philippines last July 1, 2005. It was directed by Thomas Carter and was played by Academy Award-nominated Samuel L. Jackson as Coach Carter.

It was a movie inspired by a true-life story. Coach Carter is a controversial basketball coach of Richmond High School in Richmond, California who received high praise and criticism when he made public news in 1999 for benching his entire undefeated team due to poor academic performance. At the start of the movie, Coach Carter took a part-time low paid job as a coach of his old high school team in an inner-city public school in Richmond, California. The team was completely undisciplined and disrespectful. They also lost almost all their the previous season.

Coach Carter set new rules for the team. He want to take the team above his standard of control and discipline. He made each member of the team sign a contract which states that they must maintain a 2.3 grade point average (C+), they must attend classes and sit in the front row, and they must wear jackets and ties on game days. Discipline is not only observed outside the gym but they must also look out for their academic performance. The first day of training was not that quite easy. Almost all of them suffer body aches and fever. Timo Cruz (one of the top scorer of the team) didn't agree with the contract of Carter. He leaved the gym on the first day of their training.

Under the discipline of Carter, team Richmond started winning basketball games. Carter's son, Damian withdrew his enrollment for St. Francis (the no. 1 team from the previous season) and transferred to Richmond under his father. Timo on the other hand wants to get back to the team. He fight hard in order to prove Coach Carter that he deserves to be back to the team. Carter ordered him to do enormous number of suicides, sprinting drills and thousands of push-ups for a week. He didn't came up with the deadline and the team offered Carter to help Cruz which made Carter decide to get Cruz back in the team.

After several number of victories including invitations from different schools, the Richmond team continue winning. But their academic performance doesn't suit their signed contract which made Carter the decision to lock the gym. He canceled several practices, forfeited their games, and made the team to go to the library to study with their teachers. Carter doesn't want them to be like those other Americans not being able to go to college and attain their dreams. He wants them to realize the value of education that he wanted for them. Carter doesn't want them only to be champions, but being able to go to college and play college basketball. Eventually the lockout was ended due to the votes of School Board of Directors and parents that fought back to end the lockout and let the team play again. Carter resigned for the position when they voted to end the lockout. Unfortunately, the team didn't stop what Coach Carter started. Instead of playing basketball, they studied in the gym with their teachers. After working hard with their academic performances, they pass their grades and maintain the grade needed for the contract.

At the end of the story, they didn't won the state championship. But they stayed champions among their parents, teachers, schoolmates and to Coach Carter. Kenyon, Junior, Worm and Cruz were among those who went to college.When they graduated three years later, Damien got a scholarship to West Point.

It was really a very great story of team work, discipline, family, education, respect and reality. I am really touched by the story most specially with what Timo Cruz said the time they were studying in the gym. He thanked Coach Carter for making him a better person, giving him the chance to have a better future and to fulfill his dreams. A very inspirational movie, most specially for students in this time.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Sleepless in Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle
25 June 1993 (USA)

"What if someone you never met, someone you never saw,
someone you never knew was the only someone for you?"

Sleepless in Seattle was a romantic comedy drama film nominated for two 1994 Academy Awards: Best Music, Original Song for "A Wink and a Smile", music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Ramsey McLean; and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Nora Ephron, David S. Ward and Jeff Arch. It was a film starred by two Academy Award Winners, Tom Hanks (Sam Baldwin) and Meg Ryan (Annie Reed) and was directed by Nora Ephron.

Story plot: Sam is a recent widower who is seeking someone new. Sam's son Jonah, is also looking for a new mother, so when Jonah puts his father on national radio, hundreds of women write to him. One of the women is Annie. She's engaged to Walter, but he's a bit strange. Annie goes to great lengths to meet Sam.

After his wife died, Sam Baldwin did not think about other women. His 8-year old son Jonah thinks that his father needs a woman in order to get his life back in order and calls in on a nation-wide radio-show. The voice and story of Sam is heard by hundreds of women, including Annie Reed, who is about to marry her fiancé Walter soon. She can't find a rest until she really knows for sure that Sam Baldwin is not the one person for her. Thus, Annie travels to Seattle, where Sam and Jonah live, and there decides that Sam is not the one. The letter she never sent was posted by a friend of Annie, and therefore Jonah, who feels that she's the one for his dad, already booked a flight to New York in order to meet her on the roof of the Empire State building, just like in "An Affair to Remember". Of course, his father follows him instantly...