By Peter Rainer Film critic of The Christian Science Monitor
The Christian Science Monitor
'Glory Road" is a rah-rah piece of inspirationalism from Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who obviously wants to go one better on his "Remember the Titans."
It's about El Paso's Texas Western basketball team that, in 1966, beat the University of Kentucky for the NCAA national championship. The game is often called the greatest upset in the history of college athletics. Far be it for me to disagree. The film's "inspired by a true story" opening credit makes me a bit uneasy, though. That phrase is usually code for "we made a lot of stuff up."
As in "Remember the Titans," "Glory Road" is about how race plays itself out on the battlefield of sports - i.e. the battlefield of life. The Texas Western coach, Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) is a white man who decides to recruit young black players from around the country. He wants to win. He relentlessly pursues talent and claims he does not see color, although of course, he does - just not in a bigoted way.
At first, the white players resent the intrusion of the blacks, who are not only clearly superior but also clannish. (Their leader is played with a perpetual swagger by Derek Luke.) A free-for-all in the college cafeteria kicks off the animosities between the two sides, and Haskins finds himself playing peacekeeper as much as coach. But the urge to win is so strong that soon everyone comes together. As Texas Western climbs the ranks, even the college's lily- white trustees overcome their qualms about the overwhelmingly black squadron. …