examine the role of coaches as teachers in film. As the basis for my
examination, I have chosen two of the more well-known and critically
acclaimed sports films of the past two decades Coach Carter (2005) and
Remember the Titans (2000). After watching these films the first time, it
was clear to me that in both films the traits and methods of the featured
coaches are strikingly similar to the traits and methods of the classic
“good teacher” character in Hollywood films. What was far more
interesting to me than this observation, however, was the many ways in
which both films use cinematography to portray the coaches as leaders
and to signify their importance within the film. While it is certainly true
that coaches portrayed in Hollywood embody many of the traits set
forth by the "Good Teacher" paradigm, far less focus has been put on
the production practices that aid in creating this portrayal. Through the
strategic and successful use of various filmmaking techniques and visual
aesthetics, filmmakers are able to create the portrayal of a coach as a
leader completely separate from the storyline of the film. In both films
considered here, techniques such as strategic mise-en-scène, close-up
shots, low camera angles, over-the-shoulder shots and point-of-view
shots are subtly employed to create this portrayal of the coaches.
Before delving into how the three coaches from these two films
are portrayed cinematically, it is necessary to establish what made these
men worthy of being labeled “good coaches” in the first place. When
looking for coaches in film who could be categorized as “good” or
“heroic,” I used the model set forth by Adam Dovico in his essay “Ron
Clark and the Real ‘Good’ Teacher,” which is included in the book
Screen Lessons: What We Have Learned from Teachers on Television and in the
Movies. Dovico’s chapter uses real life teacher-turned film character Ron
Clark as an example of a “good teacher” as he lays out the ways in which
one earns this categorization. There are three ways in which the classic
“good teacher” Ron Clark is very similar to coach Carter (Samuel L.
Jackson) and coaches Boone (Denzel Washington) and Yoast (Will
Patton) from Remember the Titans: First, all of these coaches give their
players strict and unbending rules and guidelines to follow; second, they
build personal relationships with their players; and third, the coaches
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