Here’s the pitch: Take an emotional drama about the racial conflict concerning the integration of a black high school and a white one in the South. Then wrap the entire plot around a hard-nosed high school football coach (Denzel Washington) with an unorthodox style but an uncanny ability to get the most out of his players. As an added little twist in this case, the old white head coach (Will Patton) stays on as an assistant so we can count on a fair amount of racial conflict and power struggle as these two egos collide, and ultimately generate a little more emotion as they become friends.
To be sure, a lot of bigoted white folks are going to do a lot of mean things until they slowly start to understand that we are all the same on the inside. And a bunch of jaded and underachieving high school athletes will slowly learn what it is their coach is trying to teach them about becoming men and champions. Throw in the fat kid from the wrong side of the tracks who finds his inspiration and a little pride along the way, and you’ve got one of the most heartwarming films ever made.
As you might expect, the townspeople will rise up against the outsider coach, the players who struggled under him at first come to respect him, the white man finally realizes that he and his black counterpart aren’t that different, and of course, there’s the ever-popular brick-through-the-window of the new black family in the neighborhood. And yes! The filmmakers ride these powerful scenes for all of the emotion they’ve got.
All in all, the movie is what you’ve seen before yet still tugs at your heart strings. But Remember the Titans is based on a true story. And thankfully so.