Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Glory Road is Walt Disney’s rendition of legendary Texas Western coach Don Haskins, as played admirably by Josh Lucas, and his 1966 NCAA championship basketball team. More importantly though, his decision to start five black players in that game, thus changing the face of college and pro basketball forever.  Now don’t get wrong, Glory Road is not a bad film, to the contrary, it’s very entertaining, but invariably it will be compared to a similar period piece called Remember the Titans.  Not only because it’s a team sports film set in the segregated south during the civil rights era, but also possibly because one of the advertising promos used in marketing the film blares out ‘From the Producers of Remember the Titans’.


But to diverge from the review a bit.  The blurb ‘from the producer of…” means absolutely nothing.  Let’s say you got to a restaurant because be Chef Jacque makes the best Shrimp Scampi ever.  But Jacque doesn’t work there anymore, but the Matrie’D tells you ‘don’t worry, the guy that HIRED Jacque also hired the new guy that’s making the Shrimp Scampi so it’s cool’.  But it’s not cool.  The shrimp scampi may be better or it may be worse, but it will be different.  To the converse,  ‘From the Director of…’ gives you pretty good vibe how that movie’s going to go.  Now that Jacque is cooking across town, that scampi he was making Che’ Louis is going be pretty damn close to the scampi he makes now Le Chateau, though he is using different pots and pans now. 

Since the producers insist on marketing as ‘Remember the Titans’ on hardwood then we as reviewers are forced to compare it to ‘Remember the Titans’ and unfortunately Glory Road is no ‘Remember the Titans’.  One major shortcoming of the film from my point of view is that it never seemed to convey a sense of ‘team’.  Here the

players both white and black were unable to form any kind of chemistry that I’m fairly certain is required to achieve the heights that this team historically achieved.   Now it’s probable that character development was sacrificed for the more sensational scenes of blood stained racist graffiti and quick cuts of slam-dunks or behind the back dimes.  But I would have been more interested in seeing how these 12 young men from extremely diverse backgrounds with a maverick of a coach came together to achieve something that no one at the time thought could be done.


So ‘Glory Road’ glossed over the relationships between the teammates, it also threw in a completely disposable ‘love story’ between star point guard Bobby Joe Hill, played by the ubiquitous Derek Luke and his girlfriend played by Tatiana Ali.  Except letting us know Bobby Joe liked girls, it added little to story since so little time was spent on it.  Almost equally non-consequential was Emily Deschanel as Coach Haskins wife who did little but open the occasional hate mongering letter and cry.


Thus Glory isn’t a great character study, nor, by the numerous historical inaccuracies a little research will reveal, is it a documentary.  But it IS a fast paced, tightly edited, well-shot basketball flick.  The actors are very appealing and can they can play basketball.  Believe me, all the camera tricks in the world you can’t fake playing basketball.  As mentioned earlier, Josh Lucas was very convincing as a basketball coach who saw only ability and not shades of gray.   Entertaining but not transcendent, it won’t make us soon forget the Titans.

Buds Second:  This movie WAS NOT: a documentary (given all the historical inaccuracies and half-truths), a character profile (the  movie wasn't based on any particular point-of-view), nor a social statement (it wasn't deep enough nor thoughtful enough to have accomplished  that). Instead, this movie WAS:  fun to watch, entertaining, quick-moving, and made the popcorn taste good. It's an enjoyable movie, though to be honest, I walked away from it feeling a bit frustrated that such a  great story didn't get a better treatment.

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