Retro Review: Glory Road

Probably one of the greatest or maybe the greatest sports films of all time was the legendary basketball film “Hoosiers” from 1986.

Nothing has been able to touch that film and time after time it still shares its magic with movie-lovers. What makes that film so brilliant; is that it loves the game and understands the game.

When you make a film about basketball you have to remember not only its history but the fluidity of the game itself.

Passion, stamina and quickness are all signs of a great basketball player and so should be the same with a film. “Glory Road” has all those things.

“Glory Road” chronicles the turbulent story of coach Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) who in 1966 led the first all-black starting line-up in NCAA history to national basketball championship.

The film depicts Haskins as a passionate coach who will stop at nothing to put together the best basketball team he can afford with the limited recruiting funds given to him by his university. Unheard of in 1966, Haskins starts looking at black players from all walks of life to fill his squad.

The film shows what the team had to endure to get to their history making game. It is a brilliantly executed and thought out story. The film is fluid and never lets go of what it is trying to accomplish. Lucas is stoic as Haskins and once more you can see that this actor is going places. Jon Voight shows up as a heavily made-up idol and opposer to Lucas in the final game. Voight is pretty forgettable in his performance as Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp only because the film’s vision is such an overwhelming factor.

That is what makes “Glory Road” so impressive. No matter how many memorable moments, flawlessly executed sports action, and character development there is it is all about the film’s core mission.

Even though what is up there on the screen is brilliant, I still would have liked to have seen more character development and I also would have liked to have seen more conflict between the university and Haskins. The film drops clues that there was a lot of friction there but nothing is ever shown. I also felt we never got to know Haskins’ wife but instead got a silhouette of a support cushion.

What is up there on the screen is brilliant but now after seeing the film I just wanted more depth in such an amazing true story.

(3.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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