So I purposely chose this live-action sports genre to try and spice up my blog with non-Disney content, but apparently I cannot escape the wrath of Disney: the movie community of IMDb have rated Remember the Titans as one of the best football movies ever made with a respectable 7.6 out of 10 stars. And yeah, I can certainly see why people like this movie. Remember the Titans tries to break out of the box by focusing on the racial struggle of this Virginian town instead of a physical one of trying to win football games. The problem is, the movie doesn’t do enough to convince me of its premise: why does this racial struggle have to occur in the context of a football film?
It is precisely this racial struggle that keeps this film watchable. The football camp was the most interesting part of the movie, and that’s because the racial struggle was in the spot light. The merging of the white kids and the black kids into a cohesive team was well done, and the movie should have ended right there. I’m serious. The rest of the movie resorts to the generic. The football team goes undefeated (big surprise there) and wins the final championship game (shocker!) in order to show how unity between the races is stronger than the blah blah blah—predictable! The movie had to make this as little about football as possible in order for it to justify its bloated duration, and that’s the problem with the genre! This movie could have been so much better had it not been obscured by IQ-lowering, helmet-clashing football.
I mean, come on Disney! Give this football genre the SMART movie it needs. Did you unite a team of Caucasians and African Americans only for them to go through the motion of winning games? Are you using your brains? I think what had to happen was a moment in the film where maybe losing meant winning the bigger battle of racism. Maybe losing meant uniting the school together. Maybe winning a game of football isn’t the most important thing in life.
But no, in this movie, it is. Maybe I could have justified winning the championship game had I felt there was something on the line, but there was nothing to lose. Virginia never united like this football team did because of their wins, and how silly would it be to preach that winning is the only way to unite a racially divided town? In short, the message about racism, discrimination, and prejudices get blurred by the continually growing importance of winning football games as the movie progresses.
Remember the Titans doesn’t make any unique mistakes, and even has a really intriguing idea to work with. I like how the protagonists are actually coaches, and the players who get developed are somewhat memorable. With that said, this football movie still embodies what I hate about this genre: it’s about football when it doesn’t need to be.
Final Grade: C- (72%)—Enjoyable until it finds itself caring too much about football.