from the Executive Officer on a U.S. nuclear submarine to an anti-PC
lawyer to a paralyzed police officer.
won an Oscar for his depiction of a slave fighting for the Union in
the Civil War. He's been nominated for three more for portrayals of a
black activist during Apartheid, a wrongly accused boxer, and one of
the most famous black civil rights leaders in the history of the
United States. And he's been nominated for--and won-- a multitude of
awards you've never even heard of for roles
Washington is the real deal when it comes to acting. It is almost
impossible to look at a list of his movies-- and it is a very long
list--and find even one in which he performed poorly. In a career
that spans two-and-a-half decades, Washington has been one of the
most prominent faces in Hollywood, and most often his performances
make clear statements on a variety of societal issues.
"Glory" was hyped and perceived as a war movie, but it
contained underlying themes of slavery and segregation. "He Got
Game," while very much a basketball movie, also took a serious
look at the sometimes strained relationship between father and son.
And "Crimson Tide," a suspense film based on a U.S. nuclear
submarine, analyzed the decision between following orders and doing
what you know is right.
has done it again this fall, in the latest release from Walt Disney
Productions, "Remember The Titans." Someone somewhere
inside the brilliant PR machine that is Hollywood advertised the
movie as a football flick to draw more male fans to the theaters, but
it takes about two minutes to figure out that under the football mask
lies a movie that documents the troubles of racial integration and
separation. And, as is par for the course, Washington turns in yet
another award-worthy performance.
is based on the true story of T.C. Williams High School in
Alexandria, Virginia, and Washington plays Herman Boone, the
African-American coach who is hired to lead the school's first
football team. Williams is the first high school in the area to
accept both black and white students, and it falls on Boone to hold
the football team together after the popular white coach is demoted
to his assistant. Boone adopts a perfectionist attitude with his
team, requiring that they do everything correctly, and also forces
players of both races to spend time with one another. Eventually this
makes the team close . . . until they return to start the school
year, and encounter friends and faculty members who still harbor the
same racist feelings.
coach who is forced to make a choice between his own personal fame
and what is right for the team.
is outstanding as Boone, the coach who has to win every game or risk
being fired. He deals with the normal racial scenarios that were
commonly dealt with by African-American authority figures in
early-70s Virginia, as well as angry fathers who complain about their
white sons being benched in favor of more talented black players. He
receives help from Will Patton ("Armageddon," "Gone in
Sixty Seconds") who plays Bill Yoast, the white
noteworthy performances are turned in by Wood Harris and Ryan Hurst
(both of whom have never had any major roles) as the main black and
white players, respectively, on the Titans' team, and Hayden
Panettiere (voices in "Dinosaur" and "A Bug's
Life") as Coach Yoast's sideline-roaming daughter. And, being
that Jerry Bruckheimer is one of the producers, it is almost a given
that the football action is done very well, and he ensures that the
movie is able to be appreciated by your average potbellied
24-year-old male who only went to the movie because he saw a brown
at the end of the movie it is Washington who outshines everyone, and
who makes this movie the smash hit it is likely to be. His brilliant
performance is the difference between "Remember The Titans"
being a critically acclaimed drama with Oscar potential and being
just another football movie. You can add this movie to the long line
of films that will ensure that you will remember Denzel Washington
long after "Remember The Titans" is out of the theaters and
into home video collections.
by Mitch Worthington