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Glory Road


Who's in It: Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, Austin Nichols, Mechad Brooks, Alphonso McAuley, Tatyana Ali, Emily Deschanel, Jon Voight

The Basics: The true story of Texas Western University basketball coach Don Haskins and the first-ever all-African-American starting lineup in college. They went on to become national champions and … um … pardon me a moment while I dab my eyes with a hankie. Dumb allergies. Shut up, I totally do too have allergies, and they make my eyes water this way!

What's the Deal? I wrote just last week that I resolved to fix my personal Death Ray on any inspirational movie about tough-minded coaches who whip a team of underdogs into shape and spur them to not just victory but truly better personhood. Well, that was me being dumb.

Dumb Stuff Alert: Since this is set in the 1960s, and it's a true story, and it's about the racial integration of sports and about a team of underdogs, etc., you get the Motown songs sung as a group, you get the team-starts-winning montage, the ailing player that everyone loves and his potential imminent death, all topped off with the easy racism of every single white person on earth who isn't the coach. But somehow it all still works.

No Irony or Sarcasm, Guaranteed: Glory Road is unburdened by the modern compulsion to qualify its emotional content. You want people to cry? Just talk about how we're all in this together and our dignity is inside us and we have to strive to be worthy of our lives and all that. Then it's boo-hoo-hoo time. Or else, like me, you're all man and never cry and might just have really bad allergies.

OK, So There's This Bit in Which One Player's Mom Comes in to Force His Grades Up by Accompanying Him to Class: And, you know, maybe that's 100 percent historically accurate. Maybe the actress playing the guy's mom really is his mom, and she time-traveled to be in the movie. But it sort of makes you start thinking about how the words "Based on a True Story" probably mean "This Never Happened" a good 80 percent of the time.

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