Retro Review: Remember the Titans

Super producer Jerry Bruckheimer teams with Walt Disney pictures for a true story about integration of African Americans into the white school system during the early seventies. Leading the way is a very proud high school football coach, Boone, (Denzel Washington) who just wants to set aside the recent problems and play some football.

Standing in the way of his goal are the school’s devoted and honest coach, Yoast, (Will Patton), the coach’s enthusiastic daughter (Hayden Panettiere), and a group of young men trying not to let the world around them judge their integrated team.

“Remember the Titans” is a cheerful crowd-pleaser with a lot of heart. It is another staple in the Bruckheimer library that shows this producer is expanding his palette. I loved the chemistry and charge felt when this film really works. It’s amazing how much this film can get to you and make you cheer. I loved Hayden Panettiere as Cheryl Yoast, daughter of coach Yoast.

This little girl had so many key and great moments throughout that you just couldn’t help but cheer for her wonderful performance. I also liked seeing Will Patton carry on his sympathetic tough guy persona in this film much like he did in “Armageddon”. Patton is becoming a great actor and I hope Hollywood is acknowledging his talent.

In regards to Denzel Washington, I found him often to be cardboard when trying to be headstrong coach. Denzel is an amazing actor and he delivers a lot of great speeches in this film but often I find that because the film never deals completely with its racism angle we never really see Boone’s emotional struggle. This leads me to my analysis of the film’s evident flaw.

The biggest problem with “Remember the Titans” was that it was just too pleasing and never really explores the raw side of things. We know that a lot of pain, frustration, and intrigue happened to these characters. The film always takes the cheerful side for the majority of the film and this takes away from the raw emotion connected with a true story. I highly doubt that these situations and the integration as a whole was this way. This point made really pulled away from the heart of Coach Boone and his struggle. I think that was the story of the film not if they could win the next big game. What are we supposed to remember the Titans for? Boone’s struggle or that they won?

I would have loved to see the film explore the racism side a little more and flesh out what actually happened to these people. Thus delving deeper into the emotions and realism of the Titans and the team’s members. Racism is a subject we should all address not ignore. In a lot of scenes the film ignores that a character maybe a racist and just shows it as very subtle friction. What does this teach our children?

(3 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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