When I went home this week, my mother of course loaded me up with goods to bring home. She's a movie whore like I am, and so she had this huge box of movies for me to bring back with me, and add to my already two-hundred plus movie collection...now I don't hafta rely solely on demand stuff....YAY!
So anyway, one of the movies was Radio. I never wanted to see this flick. I thought it was going to be a really saccharine made-for-the-lifetime-channel sort of crapfest...and I basically hafta be bleeding buckets to enjoy these sappy things. But I figured what they hell, I could use a feel good flick. I popped it in the ol DVD player, and was immediately taken aback. I liked this movie...almost from the get-go.
It stars Cuba Gooding Jr. as the retarded, lovable mascot of a mostly white Southern high school football team. It's an uplifting tale...oh gag did I just say that *insert retching noises here* about how good people feel when they behave nicely. How could such a movie be tolerable? Niceness?? BAH! KINDNESS!!! GAH! This was so not like me.
I'm however happy to report Radio is tolerable. Better than tolerable, in fact.
Much of the credit goes to Ed Harris, who plays Harold Jones, the good guy football coach who extends a helping hand to the title character. There isn't a dab of mush in his performance. Alfre Woodard's (who I love) presence as the principal is also very well done, and she manages to walk the fine line of being the mean ol principal and the caring woman who wants the best for Radio....Eventually Radio and Coach Jones form a very unexpected friendship, and the movie goes on from there.
Radio spends his days pushing a shopping cart filled with stuff he finds around the small town he just merely exsists in. He is never seen without his beloved radio, which is what cause the Coach to nickname his as such. He comes to the coaches notice when some players play a mean-spirited prank, binding his hands and feet with duct tape and locking him in a shed. To make amends, coach invites Radio to practice, then lets him help out. Before long, Radio is performing with the cheerleaders, urging the players on, even attending classes, all to the consternation of the school board.
I've never been a big Cuba fan...I liked him in Jerry McGuire, but on the whole, I think I could eat a can of Kodak and shit a better movie that what Cuba generally delivers. This was by far his best role to date.
The film is based on fact, written originally in a Sports Illustrated article, I think in 1996. The movie ends with footage of the characters' real-life counterparts. Coach Jones has retired but Radio, now in his 50's, is still a fixture at the school.
It also stared Debra Winger as the doting housewife, and S. Epatha Merkerson as Radio's mother. I totally recommend this to anyone who isn't afraid to watch some sap...just bring your kleenex.
On the whole...I liked it, it managed to make me cry a little at the end, and it didn't focus soley on the football aspect, but instead stayed true to the characters. I give it One Good Guy Up.
Listening To: Animotion - Room To Move