players have come together and done their basic job as a basketball team
perfectly. As in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Professor
Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) trains Harry Potter (Daniel
Radcliffe) into becoming a skilled magician. This, however, is not
enough. In the movies, coaching basketball players is about more than
just winning games; many traits of good teachers in other movies can
be found in the coaches as well. In To Sir, with Love (1967), Mark
Thackeray (Sidney Poitier) throws away the irrelevant books and tames
unruly teenagers so that they will behave as ladies and gentlemen. In the
Dead Poets Society (1989), John Keating (Robin Williams) depicts an
iconoclastic English teacher who encourages his conservative students
to question authority. Compared to the teachers above, the three suit-
wearing and severe coaches, Coach Carter (Samuel L. Jackson), Coach
Don Haskins (Josh Lucas), and Coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman)
share many similarities related to their perspectives on basketball and
teach their players well, but more importantly, they make their players
understand one simple truth: life is about more than basketball.
The eponymous character of Coach Carter is a heroic figure, one
who fits The Hollywood Model of a good teacher the best among the
three movies considered in this chapter. That paradigm says that good
teachers in the movies are typically outsiders, are involved with students
on a personal level, learn from students as well as teach them, have tense
relationships with administrators, and personalize the curriculum of
instruction (Dalton 25-38). Ken Carter, who was a former all-American
player at Richmond High School in California, is invited by the outgoing
coach to take his position the following season. Carter had a successful
career as a player and as a local businessman running a sporting-goods
store, and the Mercedes-Benz sedan that Carter drives signifies his
success. The contrast is striking because Carter leaves the good life and
begins his coaching career as a “freshman.” The team he inherits is
chaotic, and these are not just some high school players who are hard
get organized on the court. In fact, they are problematic students who
face off-court challenges developed through a series of subplots. Timo
(Rick Gonzalez) is an irritable and insure young man. Although good at
Previous Page Next Page