Watching Pride is a lot like watching Hoosiers in a pool. Or watching Remember the Titans without any white people. Or watching Glory Road in Speedos. Or… you get the idea. The point, at any rate, seems to be to get Terrence Howard into that all-important leading-actor inspirational-sports-coach role. In this latest edition of every other sports film you’ve ever seen, the sport in question is swimming, the actor in question is Howard, the time is 1974, and people learn stuff about life through sport.
Howard plays Jim Ellis, a college graduate who’s bounced around from job to job until he get a place packing up one of the rec centers run by the Philadelphia Department of Recreation. Jim, who we’ve learned was a swimmer in college, finds an old pool in the basement of the rec center and begins to clean it up. Soon enough, the group of black teens (Nate Parker, Kevin Phillips, Scott Reeves, Evan Ross, Brandon Fobbs, Alphonso McAuley) who play basketball outside come in, and Jim forms them into a team with the help of the rec center?s janitor (Bernie Mac). Along the difficult road that follows, Jim and his team learn valuable lessons about “pride, determination, and respect,” which becomes the motto for the team.
I should say that, though the film is unoriginal, it isn’t really that bad: it?s derivative and cheesy, but good fun all the same. The actors are all fine – Bernie Mac especially injects a fresh sort of humor that’s quite enjoyable to watch – and the story, following the Hollywood formula on these things, is rousing and instructive. It’s just that it?s been done before, and better. Pride doesn?t bring anything new to the table.
Which about sums up the whole thing. There isn’t much to say about the movie that will tell you anything. It’s an inspirational sports drama, with all the usual turns and developments. See it if you like movies like this, don?t if you don’t. You know this movie as well as I do without having seen it. Just don?t go in with any expectations of greatness.
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