Blerd Film Club: Remember The Titans

In 1969 just for years after integration Herman Boone was hired as an assistant coach of the TC Williams High School football team. In 1971 he was named the head coach. That year he lead the team to a 13-0 season a state championship and national championship runner up. Richard Nixon credited him with the team that was saving America. In the year 2000, Denzel Washington stared in Remember The Titans a story about that team.

In 1981 (a change from real life), the TC Williams High School promotes Coach Boone is assigned to the head coach role of the football team. He refuses as he believes the job should go to Coach Bill Yoast who is also up for a Hall of Fame admission. Eventually, Boone takes the job because the Black residents of the city show him how important it is. On the flip side, Yoast takes the job as assistant coach, because someone has to think about the white players.

Things heat up immediately when Black players trying out for the team have a private meeting with Boone about their concerns. The meeting is interrupted by Yoast who has the white players trying out alongside him. Boone and Yoast have a heated argument in private about how Boone runs his teams. The two reach a mutual respect. Boone leads the team on a trip to Gettysburg College for a training session. There he forces offense and defense to integrate, forcing black and white students to team up. He then leads them on a 3AM run. The team manages to come together and unite.

When he returns home, Boone is informed that if he loses a single game, he'll be fired. Still, the team goes all in behind Boone and Yoast. At one point Gerry, a white player, has his best friend removed from the team because he purposely missed a block that let the black quarterback get taken out. Yoast also learns that he has been inducted into the Hall of Fame because the school board is waiting on Boone to lose a game so he can be fired. This doesn't sit well with Yoast who had formed a strong friendship with Boone based on a mutual respect for the game.

During the semi-finals for the State Championships referees have a clear bias against The Titans. Boone is frustrated by this. Yoast realizes the school board is in the stands enjoying this. Yoast makes his way over the the refs and demands they call the game fairly or he'll expose the whole scandal to the news the next morning. The Titans come back, and easily beat their opponents. During the celebration the school board president tells Yoast that he'll never get in the Hall of Fame. He doesn't reveal this to Boone, nor does Boone reveal to Yoast that he'll be fired for losing a single game.

Gerry is involved in a car accident and paralyzed from the waist down right after the win. We see the Titans waiting in the hospital for him before the film ends with everything being revealed in the epilogue. Gerry remained paralyzed and would later die in another car accident after winning gold in the Paralympic. The team was reunited years later at Gerry's funeral.

The cast is pretty evenly split black and white. But, I still consider this a Black film. It just means more to Black people. The same way Herman Boone only took the job, because it meant a lot to the Black people in Virginia. There's Denzel Washington as Boone of course, but his wife Carol is portrayed by Nicole Ari Parker, who has had a career stretching 26 years at this point. There's also young Donald Faison and Wood Harris, who have both gone on to star in countless black films themselves. There's some big name white actors in there as well, most notably young Ryan Gosling.

Some of the initial reviews for the film were less than positive. The reason being is they felt the film was ham fisted about forcing the lesson racism is bad. However, one positive review came from Roger Ebert who emphasized that progress in life is never simple, and won one victory at a time especially those over racism.

There isn't much that really needs to be said about this film. Every actor gave their all to their roles. The story is gripping, made all the more real by the fact that it's mostly true. There are some inaccuracies, the years were changed, none of the 13-0 games were close, 9 were shutouts. Gerry's accident actually happened after the State Championship. Still, it's an credible film and if you haven't seen it at this point, you might want to move it up on your list.

You can check out some of my fiction at 12 AM Fiction or follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast.
Blerd Film Club: Remember The Titans  Blerd Film Club: Remember The Titans Reviewed by Darrell S. on Monday, February 10, 2020 Rating: 5

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