Ed Harris is the coach of a small-town high school football team in 1976. He takes an interestin Cuba Gooding, Jr. after the mentally challenged young man is tormented by some of thethoughtless players. Harris takes Gooding under his wing as a kind of team mascot (orsomething). A friendship grows between the two men, and Gooding gradually blooms. Thoughnot quite as gruesomely “inspirational” as the trailers implied, this still comes very close, like anafter-school TV specia… with a A-list cast and a big budget. And will someone please stick a forkin small-town Americana nostalgia? It’s done.
The sound is excellent. There is no distortion, and the environmental effects are sensitivelychosen and well executed. Among the highlights are the very convincing sounds of the forest andcrickets at night, and the exhausted panting that fills the room as Coach Harris puts the boys whotormented Gooding through punishing drills.
The colours are fine, with excellent brightness and contrasts. The blacks and flesh tones aresolid as well, and there are no real edge enhancement or grain issues. The hues are just aboutright for the nostalgic tone. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer could be a touch sharper,however. There is a slight softness to the image and the edges.
Though the attentive reader will have gathered that I’m not wild about the movie, I amimpressed with the commentary by director/producer Mike Tollin. He covers the hows and whysof the film in great detail, and is a thoughtful, articulate speaker. An excellent commentary byany standard. The featurettes (“Tuning In”, “Writing Radio” and “The 12 Hour Football Games”)are the usual promotional fluff, though at least each featurette has certain focus. Tollin commentson six deleted scenes. Filmographies are provided for the principle cast and crew, and there aretrailers for Radio, 50 First Dates, Big Fish, Mona Lisa Smile,Something’s Gotta Give, Spellbound and Rudy. There are also someDVD-ROM features. The menu is fully animated and scored.
There are all the earmarks of a failed Oscar bid here. Groan. Still, it could have been worse,and the disc itself is nice.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- 6 Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
- 3 Featurettes