If you're expecting to see a movie about a
guy teaching people how to properly handle a chafing dish, you're
probably looking for Coach Caterer. This isn't about
catering. It's about basketball, coaching, and...people.
It's either based on a true story, or it actually is a true story.
The Masked Reviewer isn't sure. Why isn't the Masked Reviewer
sure? Because the movie started a half hour before the Masked
Reviewer expected it to start. So, things were already well under
Now, you may be asking yourself how any movie reviewer worth his salt
could possibly speak about a movie without having seen the entire thing.
That's a fair question. The answer is simple. The Masked
Reviewer came from behind. He didn't give up. He hung in
there and gave it his all. Coach Carter would've wanted it that
This is a basketball movie. Have you seen any basketball
movies? Imagine one of those, and that's what this is like.
Not to give anything away (because that might spoil the movie for you),
but it's about a bunch of players who have to overcome their personal
problems and come together as a team to learn about the true meaning of
Here's what sets this movie apart from your typical sports movie:
Samuel L. Jackson is the coach. How could it not be good? He
makes a good coach. He's firm, he's caring, and he's Samuel L.
Jackson! "And you will know that my name is the Coach when I lay
my vengeance upon thee!" All the attitude, all the coolness, all
the badassedness...but this time it's to help the kids.
The movie could probably be adequately described in two words: Urban
Hoosiers. There aren't any big surprises in terms of story
or character development. He's kind of like Morgan Freeman's
character in Stand By Me. No wait, that was the Stephen
King movie with Wil Wheaton. What's up with Wil Wheaton anyway?
Why does he spell his first name with only one L? In any event,
the movie with Morgan Freeman was Lean on Me; caring teacher does
all to help his students with tough love. That's Coach Carter.
It's nice and it's sweet, but it's also formulaic.
The supporting cast isn't made up of marquee superstars. In
fact, it's unlikely that most people will recognize anyone other than
Samuel L. Jackson. (What's the L stand for? Is it the second
L from Wil Wheaton's name?) However, the supporting cast are all
rather good. They're believable and somehow everyone manages to
avoid any feeling of hokiness, given how the basic story (even though
it's true (or based on a true story)) is rather sappy and predictable.
Let's not forget the basketball. It's fun to watch in this
film. There are some nice moments, and it features some compelling
on-court action, if you like the game. They also do a fine job of
conveying what it's like to be on a team, and what it's like to
train under a strict coach who is devoted to his players.
The movie is directed by Thomas Carter, who is of no relation to the
titular Coach Carter (at least, the Masked Reviewer isn't aware of any
relation). He's probably also not related to Jimmy Carter.
The direction is good; he extracted solid performances from everyone,
and the basketball action is clear and engaging. The Masked
Reviewer didn't feel like the pacing was a problem, but then again, he
missed the first half hour of the film. At over two hours in
length, it could be that this was an important consideration. It
wasn't exactly brisk, even without seeing the first 30 minutes.
Also, there is nothing that's missed if you skip the first thirty
minutes...every relationship and plot element are clear if you skip
them. So, don't blame the Masked Reviewer if you see it and it
feels long. This review is based on the last 100 minutes of the
film. There was a lot of traffic getting to the theater.
It's a feel-good film, there's no doubt about it. It's hard not
to cheer for the team and not feel something for the players.
There are a lot of good laughs in the movie; not cheap jokes or sight
gags, but genuinely funny moments that come out of good character
development. Samuel L. Jackson carries the movie, and it's one of
his finest performances. His fans will be very happy with his
work. If you just want a nice team movie, it's a good one.
Expectation from the Title: After years of lugging cargo
around on the back of Speedy, his trusted donkey, mailman Stinky
McAllister decides to cart his load in a stagecoach, leading the way to
a new era in efficient postal service. That era is subsequently
ruined by the invention of junk mail.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Samuel L. Jackson is Absolutely L. Great.
The Pros: Samuel L. Jackson carries the film and does it well.
Good laughs, nice mushy stuff, it avoids being trite or boring.
Good basketball action.
The Cons: Done-to-death sports story combined with
done-to-death "teacher helping kids despite the system they're in"
story. Sure, it may be true, but true doesn't save it from being