Friday Favorites 2/22/2013

titansI started posting Friday Favorites back in August of 2010 and I haven’t missed once.   That’s a lot of favorites … 130, in fact.   Sometimes, as Friday rolls around, I hear a song on the radio … or notice a novel on the bookshelf.   Maybe I see an old movie I love on Netflix or Amazon during the week while I’m blogging and it becomes the favorite for the week.  This week, we are in Arizona for the week, and here it is, Thursday night.   Ten p.m.  Last night, our granddaughter, Savy, spent the night.   Today, we went to see my two grandsons, Reed and Maddux, run in a race that’s part of the Running Club at their school.   Several hundred kids between kindergarten and sixth grade, out running on a cool Arizona afternoon.  Beautiful.  But I haven’t thought of a favorite for the week.   As usual when I’m blogging I have the TV on, and at 10:30  Remember the Titans plays on ABC Family.  Based on the true story of the mandatory integration of T.C. Williams High School in Virginia in 1971, it stars Denzel Washington as Coach Hermann Boone  who’s made head coach over the successful white coach, Bill Yoast (Bill Patton).   Coach Boone brings the interracial team together to win the Virginia State Championship, which becomes a unifying symbol for the community.  I’ve watched it many times.   Remember the Titans is often criticized for being too soft a presentation of the racism and the tensions in the town.  Or as Peter Travers, critic for Rolling Stone opined, When the hard battle for integration is served up as a feel-good package, we’ve all been bamboozled.

I know integration wasn’t a feel good story.   I watched integration unfold in the fifties and came of age in the sixties in the first interracial fraternity at University of Connecticut, Beta Sigma Gamma.   I heard my fraternity, Beta Sig, referred to as Beta Jig and the racial slurs against my brothers.   I heard friends return from spring break with stories of being arrested in the South by policemen who couldn’t believe that their ROTC officer’s uniforms were real.   I sat in rooms in which I was the only white man and discussed the positive influence of Malcolm X in the black community.  The advantage we had over the Titans football team was that for the most part, we all came into our fraternity interested in creating something new.  But just as the Titans team had players who never gave up their racial biases, so did we have members who, behind closed doors saw the world in terms of us and them.  I learned to deal with them, too.  The themes of Remember the Titans … young men coming together through a common cause … were there.  And the music … Motown and soul music of the sixties … was the soundtrack, just as it was for the film.

Remember the Titans isn’t a great film, but it has great performances.  Denzel Washington is particularly good as coach Boone as are Wood Harris and Ryan Hurst as Julius and Gerry, team mates who start out as enemies and become best friends.  There are moments when the dialog is awkward and preachy, but other moments … for example, when Coach Yoast realizes he is patronizing the black players … that ring very true.   It’s no accident that on Rotten Tomatoes only 73% of critics liked Titans but 91% of the viewers gave it a positive review.   It is a film for people, not critics.   The integration of our schools happened over forty years ago.  The story of how it was and how it changed needs to be told … and Remember the Titans tells it with enough reality to make us wince but not enough to make us turn away.  That is a good thing.   And it’s a decent football movie, too. It’s my Friday Favorite.

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2 Comments on “Friday Favorites 2/22/2013”

  1. I absolutely LOVE the movie Remember the Titans. Also, I am grateful I didn’t grow up during that time.

  2. territerri Says:

    It’s one of my favorites too. And it helps that it has a great soundtrack!

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