March 22, 2007
Pride."When Pride, the Lion's Gate film starring Terrence Howard and Bernie Mac, opens in Philadelphia this Friday, it'll join the ranks of this city's inspirational big-screen sports stories, and it'll surely clean up at the multiplex." But the film was not shot in the City of Brotherly Love and, for the Philadelphia Weekly, Cassidy Hartmann looks into the reasons why: "[T]he reason Pride producers chose Katrina-ravaged Louisiana over Philadelphia has little to do with Philly's development and lots to do with money. For many local industry professionals, that's cause for concern." Updated through 3/23. "Despite the constant interjection of helicopter shots swooping around Billy Penn's hat, that vintage SEPTA bus travels some pretty unfamiliar routes, unless someone can point me toward where all those plantation houses and willow trees are on the Main Line," grumbles Shaun Brady in the Philadelphia City Paper. At any rate, "Howard holds the reins of the whole production, setting the pace with his deliberate timing. He's said that the one thing he most wanted to replicate from the actual Jim Ellis was the man's composure; whether that's what he does is irrelevant, but he does capture a man choking back his anger, recriminating himself for the times when it erupts." JF Pirro talks with that actual Jim Ellis, still a swimming coach. "Though based upon a specific true story, Pride most closely resembles virtually every other inspirational Hollywood melodrama, its blueprint so conventional and creaky it's astounding that the film's actors manage to deliver their clichéd lines without rolling their eyes," writes Nick Schager in Slant. But Dennis Harvey's take in SF360 is a bit more upbeat, and besides, "whether Pride becomes the sleeper hit it deserves to be or not, the soundtrack will be surely blaring out of car stereos for months to come." For Armond White, writing in the New York Press, Pride is "a beautiful anachronism" and "nothing like the current fashion in black-themed movies. It's more like those hardscrabble movies of the 1970s blaxploitation era that no one talks about anymore - Melinda, The Bus is Coming, Georgia, Georgia, Book of Numbers, Aaron Loves Angela, Man and Boy, The River Niger." "The set-up is so unbelievably formulaic that the genuine charm and aplomb of its players makes for several unexpected smiles," writes Josef Braun in Vue Weekly. "[W]hile hackneyed in its 'triumph of the human spirit' content, Pride works within its own limitations and does its subject matter, well, proud," finds Michael Joshua Rowin in the L Magazine. Update, 3/23: It's "a silk ascot wrapped around an ear of corn," writes Matt Zoller Seitz in the New York Times. "But when sinewy young idealists glide through water to the tune of 'I'll Take You There,' the heart still leaps." Annie Frisbee, writing at Zoom In Online, finds Pride to be "an honest movie that means well, and even though this story has been told before, there's no reason not to tell it again with source material this inspiring."
Posted by dwhudson at March 22, 2007 10:32 AM