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</script></div>{/googleAds}Glory Road tells the mostly true story of Texas Western University's (since renamed University of Texas at El Paso) 1966 NCAA basketball championship season that culminated with a shocking victory over Adolph Rupp's heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats. But more than it is a story about how an underdog slew a giant, it is the story of how a small-town family man, trying to eke out a living as a basketball coach, unwittingly transcended the sport and helped break down the barriers of segregation in the United States.

On the heels of the landmark Civil Rights Act passed by Congress in 1965, Texas Western coach Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) heavily recruited what he believed to be the best undiscovered talent available. Being from a small school, he found it difficult to recruit the talented white players, so he scoured the inner cities of New York and Detroit and put together a team of mostly black players, which was before then, unheard of. And just for good measure, he purposefully played only his black players during the championship game becoming the first team to ever do so.

First time feature film director James Gartner and writer Chris Cleveland successfully mix politics and social commentary with sports. It's not an original idea, as 2004's Miracle was one of the best to do so, but it's one that works time and again. In Miracle, the players tapped into a source of motivation inspired by a nation in desperate need of a distraction from a world of energy shortages, nuclear threat and a receding economy. But in Glory Road the inspiration comes from a more personal place and from one that still lingers to this day the need to show others that one race of people is not inferior to another. The Texas Western players encounter a lot of cruel incidents of racism and intolerance, but Gartner skillfully pulls back on the reigns so as to not lose focus that Glory Road is, at its heart, a sports movie.

The performances in Glory Road are all top notch. Josh Lucas is brilliant as coach Haskins. The real Haskins emphasized hard work over showboating and wasn't looking to make a statement about racism. He just wanted to win. With both his mannerisms and attitude, Lucas displays an intense fire and inspiration that is believable and accurate. He makes it easy to see him as an NCAA head basketball coach.

The actors portraying the Texas Western players display a wonderful chemistry together. To familiarize the audience with the characters, Gartner and Cleveland turn to comedy to introduce us to the likes of point guard Bobby Joe Hill (Derek Luke), a derisive little fireplug who has a problem with authority, and Willie Cager (Damaine Radcliffe) who must fight a heart defect to get back on the court. The actors were sent to a basketball boot camp where they trained and were put through their paces with an endless series of drills to accurately emulate the movements of collegiate basketball players - and their training worked for the most part. One thing that kills a sports movie faster than anything is actors who don't move like athletes. But while all were believable, many of the film's on-court moments seemed overly staged and excessively choreographed.

Jon Voight is tremendous as the legendary Kentucky Wildcats coach Adolph Rupp. He nails the brash arrogance of the controversial figure who would eventually amass the second most wins in NCAA history.

In the realm of sports movies, Glory Road will ultimately end up somewhere right in the middle of the gaggle. It doesn't quite tote the underdog note as well as Hoosiers, nor is it as emotionally potent as Remember the Titans. But at a time when we're all wallowing in our post holiday blues, it provides a much-needed boost of feel-good inspiration for the entire family. It's PG rating is due to racial violence and epithets (including repeated use of the "N" word). But it's a Disney movie so none of it is overly intense.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1

Subtitles: French; Spanish; Closed Captioned.

Language and Sound: English: DTS 5.1 Surround; Spanish: DTS 5.1 Surround; French: DTS 5.1 Surround

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; director's commentary; making-of featurettes; cast and crew interview.

* Audio Commentary
o With director James Gartner and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
o With Christ Cleveland and Bettina Gilois.
* Featurettes
o Legacy of the Bear: Highlights of Coach Haskins' illustrious career.
o Surviving Practice: An inside look into Coach Haskins' training regimen.
o In Their Own Words - Remembering 1966: Extended interviews with players and colleagues of Coach Haskins.
* Music Video - Sweet Music.
* Deleted Scenes

Number of discs: - 1 - Keepcase Packaging


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