New week, new movie!
I hope some of you guys got a chance to watch last weeks movie Good Will Hunting. If so, I would love to hear your opinions! But, if not, we have a whole new week to hopefully appeal to your movie taste. As I was strolling through Netflix today looking for a movie to find, my mom peered over my shoulder (as usual) and screeched when I scrolled past the movie Radio. She knows all about my blog and questioned how I could read about the movie and simply pass over it. I told her that it seemed too sad and how I just recently reviewed a pretty emotionally heavy movie. Oh but mother knows best. My mom started to explain that Radio was more than just your typical tear jerker, and she promised me a satisfying ending. So, here we are.
I hate to say it, but my mother was right.
Today I watched the 2003 drama Radio, directed by Michael Tollin. It stars Cuba Gooding Jr. as a developmentally disabled 18-year old who finds a love for football, high school, and the radio. Along the way, he meets Coach Jones, played by Ed Harris who quickly grows quite fond of Radio (Gooding). Before I get into any specifics, I should add that this movie is based on a true story. I promise it makes the movie all the more worthwhile.
The movie begins with our main character, Radio, pushing around his shopping cart with his few belongings throughout a small town in South Carolina. It is evident that Radio sees no wrong in the world and is as happy as one could be. He spends his days watching the local high school football team practice, and he is surely in awe. One day, Radio comes across a lost football and decides to add it to his shopping cart. To us, a football may just be another unnecessary item in our backyard or just another after school activity. For Radio, however, it was the most beautiful treasure known to man.
It only took me a few minutes to fall in love with Gooding’s character. His innocence is desirable. So, when the punks of the football team decided that it would be a hilarious practical joke to lock Radio into the equipment room, my heart totally shattered. I know they sound awful now, but these players do redeem themselves.
This is where we meet Coach Jones. And in my opinion, he is the greatest part of the whole movie (sorry Radio). It first may be out of guilt, but after finding what his players did to Radio, Jones asks Radio to come to practice the next day and assist him. After Coach Jones also asks Radio to eat dinner with him, we finally learn where Gooding gets his nickname from. Radio is quite silent at the beginning of the movie, and we, therefore, don’t find out his name until the middle of the movie. But, I mean, the nickname “Radio” can really only have one meaning. Yes, he had a fascination for radios. He was intrigued by Coach Jones’s radio and was in love with how the stations and songs were constantly changing.
Once again, this innocence was simply beautiful to me. I wish more people appreciated the little things the way Radio did.
Coach Jones proves to be a unique character straight away. He gives Radio the radio, drives him home, and encourages him to come to practice. I forgot to add that this movie is set in the 1970’s and that Radio is a black male while the coach and majority of the football team are white males. Racism is certainly still an issue at this time and, therefore, enriches the character of Coach Jones.
At practices, Radio helps run football drills and totally embodies the “assistant coach” role. We see him cheering enthusiastically on the sidelines at every game. But, my personal favorite part would be when the team was losing and Radio ran up and down the bench hitting the boys’ shoulders screaming “Don’t quit!”. If this doesn’t bring an insanely awesome smile to your face then there must be something the matter with you. And I say this with all my heart! Radio’s happiness and positivity are contagious. Yes even through a computer screen.
The greatest part is that Radio’s affection is reciprocated. We know that Coach Jones has a personal liking for him, but the entire town starts to love him. The football players see him as a teammate, the cheerleaders welcome him to their squad, and the crowd greets him with a roar of cheers. The sight is so heart warming, it is just something you have to see for yourself. However, with acceptance comes opposition. Of course, there are those parents who believe that Coach Jones has become too distracted with Radio that he no longer can properly coach their sons. Boo!!!!
Because of the complaints from some parents, Radio is not allowed to join the football team on the bus to their away game. Radio doesn’t see this as a mean thing, he doesn’t think that this was out of spite. Instead, he takes this opportunity to have a football game of his own. Radio heads to the high school’s home field and sticks his radio in the ground (the one which he is using to follow the football game), and runs several plays that he has observed throughout the past weeks. His happiness is such a wonderous sight. It as if he was living out his dreams, or following in the footsteps of those he idolizes. May I add that it was also down pouring! Come on, the rain just makes the scene so much more dramatic and you can’t help but wish that you there to play with him.
Coach Jones is more than just a football coach. He enjoys teaching Radio the rules of football but he doesn’t stop there. Coach Jones also goes out of his way to visit Radio at home and takes him out to breakfast constantly. There’s an instance where Coach Jones teaches Radio proper table etiquette. Coach Jones proves to have an unlimited amount of kindness in his heart, and also much patience. I think all of us girls need this kind of man in our lives.
At one of the games, Radio sticks up for Coach Jones when he receives a penalty. Though he may have told the other team constantly what play they would be running, he still won the game ball that night. It was the most genuine moment. The joy that action brought him was so blissful. But, sadly, the season comes to and end and Radio could not be any sadder.
Just like how his happiness is contagious, his sadness is too.
Being a teacher as well, Coach Jones takes time out of his days to tutor Radio. Because he is in the school a lot, Radio soon becomes the most popular kid there. He even scores a job helping out with the basketball team. When Christmas comes around, the whole town gets together to buy Radio several gifts. What is it about Christmas that automatically elicits joyous feelings? Radio’s story is so happy and victorious, so of course tragedy has to strike. It begins with Radio being arrested. But, that is all I am going to tell you. The story is such an emotional roller coaster that I refuse to ruin it for you! And then a few of the basketball guys trick Radio into going into the girls locker room. You can only imagine how awfully my heart broke. Oh, but just wait. The tragedies keep on coming.
Radio’s mom then dies. See, it was all going too well for too long. Coach Jones takes on full responsibility for taking care of Radio and helps him through his toughest moments. Even when some town members insist that Radio is removed from their school system, Jones prevails and ensures that Radio is welcomed to the high school whenever he pleases.
My mom was right, the story ends on a high note. Radio is honored at the high school’s graduation as an honoree “graduate” and also receives a letterman jacket from the guys on the football team. My heart is once again whole.
I know that this post was extremely long, and if you’re still reading I salute you. But, this story needed to be told. The movie had so much content and was so powerful that I felt that no detail could be left out. Every detail was important. Gooding may have no had a whole lot of lines, but his portrayal of Radio was astounding. He was faced with a difficult character, one that could lead to a lot of controversies if done inappropriately. But, in my opinion, he handled the character with much grace and respect. It was also a nice touch at the end when the director incorporated footage of the real-life Radio and Coach Jones.
There is not much more I could say about this movie other than it is a MUST watch. You don’t have to be a football fan, nor know anything abut football to appreciate it. Anyone of any age could learn something from this story, and for that reason, I highly, highly recommend it to you guys.
What a better way to end Spring break than with a nice heartfelt movie. Once again, if you guys get the chance to watch I would love nothing to more than to hear your opinions!! I get tired of reading my own words sometimes, so reading all of yours would be such a nice change. Go and enjoy Radio!