A very necessary tribute to Denzel Washington and a cult-classic, Remember The Titans 6 months ago

A very necessary tribute to Denzel Washington and a cult-classic, Remember The Titans

Left side! Strong side! What a film.

With the sad news that Herman Boone has passed away, we feel it's the perfect time to pay tribute to Denzel Washington's beloved performance as the famous American Football coach.

Over the course of four decades, very few actors can match Washington in terms of screen presence and skill because he has the ability to elevate any material.

Ask yourself this, when was the last time you didn't enjoy watching Denzel Washington? Even in relatively 'average' films, he's incredibly watchable because there's something magnetic and effortlessly cool about his performances.

Aside from this, his roles are usually defined by an integrity, decency and strength that's impossible not to associate with the man himself.

Throughout his career, Washington has made some stunning films but one feature that has rightfully obtained the status of cult-classic is Remember the Titans.

At present, the film has a 48% rating on Metacritic (dear critics, hang your head in shame) but naysayers be damned, the story of a local school in Virginia that sees an all black school integrating with an all white school in 1971 deserves some love.

Here are some reasons why we'll always remember the Titans.

Coach Yoast

While Washington's performance as Coach Herman Boone is the epicentre of the film, there's no denying the role that Coach Yoast had in galvanising this team. Right from the off, he's the one that's setting the example because he swiftly intervenes to stop his players from heading downtown to face - and potentially fight - those people that are rioting. He knew that Virginia was a hotbed of racial tensions and he wanted his players to set an example and rise above this hatred.

There's also something endearing about his daughter, Sheryl Yoast, standing up for her dad's legacy and disliking Coach Boone. Unlike the majority of the town though, Sheryl only dislikes Washington's character because he's taking her father's job and jeopardising his place in the Hall of Fame.

Despite some initial teething problems and tensions developing during their training camp, Yoast's work with the Titans defence proved to be crucial and his vision to turn Petey into a linebacker was a pivotal moment that helped turn their season.

In his own words: "You've taught this city how to trust the soul of a man rather than the look of him."

Ultimately, he sacrificed his own legacy just to see 'Coach Boone's Titans'  being given a fair shot. He's a Hall-of-Famer in our book.

The introduction to the Titans.

In a team that's distracted and divided, it's going to take one hell of an introduction to focus everyone's minds and cut through the noise of racial division and socio-political tension.

Enter Coach Boone and his unique ability to hack everyone down to size.

"There aint a bum on the streets that look as raggedy and ridiculous as what I'm looking at now" was a personal highlight but the best scene is reserved for poor Petey.

He really shouldn't have been smiling.

Clip via - Guy Franzen

"I come to win."

Right from the moment he's introduced to the all white members of the Titans coaching staff, it's clear that Coach Boone is a man that's not to be messed with.

He rises above the taunts and delivers replies like "I don't scratch my head unless it itches and I don't dance unless I hear some music. I will not be intimidated." The man has ice running through his veins.

Later in the film we learn that he marched with Dr. King and stood toe to toe against the Klan. This is a man of principle and honour, but Christ almighty, he's not to be messed with.

Before realising the error of his ways and buying into the team philosophy, remember the moment when Bertier made a power play before getting on the bus?

"Once you step on that bus you ain't got your mama no more. You got your brothers on the team and you got your daddy. You know who your daddy is, doncha? Gary, if you want to play on this football team, you answer me when I ask you who is your daddy? Who's your daddy, Gary? Who's your daddy?," said Coach Boone.

Now that's man management.

As for the coaching camp, there's something terrifying in his delivery of lines like "water makes you weak," "this is no democracy. It is a dictatorship. I am the law," and "you drop a pass, you run a mile. You miss a blocking assignment, you run a mile. You fumble the football, and I will break my foot off in your John Brown hind parts."

This being said, Boone is also a loving family man and there's also that rare moment when we see him puking before the big game. Ultimately, he knows that one defeat can see him lose his job.

In this environment, only an actor of Denzel's quality can deliver those lines and scenes with the gravitas that they require. All these pale in comparison to this monumental speech though.

Clip via - Bigmacmdm

Titans run on Soul Power!

In many ways, the real turning point of the film had absolutely nothing to do football.

Cast your mind back to the scene when Louie Lastik's (Ethan Suplee) stands up in the foodhall and starts telling everyone about how much he and 'The Rev' dig the music of The Temptations.

At that moment, the whole squad were put to shame by Louie's team ethic, decency and humanity because while he's far from being the star player, he was the only person that's willing to look beyond the colour of someone's skin to make a new friend. To Louie, every single person - whether or not they're black or white - are his teammates.

The team were changed after that moment and Coach Boone's insistence that every player must get to know their teammates of a different race.

Aside from this, there's also plenty of gags and memorable musical moments throughout the film. We've got tracks by James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, The Temptations, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and countless others.

Nothing will ever top this moment though when the entire squad are singing in unison to Ain't No Mountain High Enough.

That's some amount of 'yo moma' smack talk.

The Julius and Bertier bromance.

At the start of the film, these two leaders of the team just couldn't see eye-to-eye on anything as their selfish outlook almost jeopardised the Titans' future.

Fast forward a few weeks and Bertier only wants to speak to his 'brother' after suffering a paralysing car crash. "Don't you see the family resemblance? That's my brother," he says to the nurse that's treating him in hospital.

These two men are the heart of the team but their leadership qualities have very little to do with football. It's their friendship that defines the soul of the Titans and their ability to smash down any racial divisions makes them true leaders.

For example, Bertier has the courage and bravery to challenge his girlfriend's racial prejudices and he also axes his onetime best friend, Ray, from the team after he deliberately missed a block which culminated in a serious injury for Rev.

Even in his hospital bed and coming to terms with a life that requires a wheelchair, Bertier is still dreaming of a better future with his best friend. A future where prejudice doesn't exist.

"I'll tell you what, though. Um, when all this is over... me and you are gonna move out to the same neighbourhood together. OK? And, um... and we'll get old, and we'll get fat. And there ain't gonna be all this black-white between us," he said.

All together now...Left side! Strong side!

"Hey Sunshine."

Right from his memorable introduction when he chucked the football and nailed Bertier in the back, we knew that Ronnie 'Sunshine' Bass wasn't going to be messed with.

Before the Titans faced off against Groveton, tensions were already running high due to some racist and incendiary remarks that were made by the rival manager - he called Coach Boone a monkey during a TV interview.

In the face of such hatred and anger, the Titans come out dancing and stuck two fingers up to this cauldron of prejudice.

As mentioned previously,  Rev was maliciously taken out of the game but Sunshine stepped up and absolutely laid the smackdown on the defender as he came in to deliver a hit.

As the film states: "that's a bad white boy."

Glorious.

Clip via - coachhome

In a move that's fitting of the man's class, Coach Boone was gracious enough to offer Groveton's coach a handshake after the match. When Groveton's coach refused this offer, Boone delivered a wonderful putdown by throwing a banana into his hands.

Be perfect.

Want to know the brilliance of Coach Boone? Ultimately, he created a team of champions that demanded perfection from themselves.

As you can see below, Julius wasn't going to let anything come between his team and the chance of glory.

13-0. The perfect season.

The Titans are winners on the field but more importantly, they're winners off it.

As they said: "before we reach for hate, always, always, we remember the Titans."

Clip via - meiji990