The story of a high school coach and the developmentally challenged man whom he took under his wing.
Release Year: 2003
Rating: 6.8/10 (16,953 voted)
Critic's Score: 38/100
Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, Debra Winger
Football coach Harold Jones befriends Radio, a mentally-challenged man who becomes a student at T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson, South Carolina. Their friendship extends over several decades, where Radio transforms from a shy, tormented man into an inspiration to his community.
Cuba Gooding Jr.
S. Epatha Merkerson
Kenneth H. Callender
Irv the Cop
His courage made them champions.
Release Date: 24 October 2003
Filming Locations: South Carolina, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $13,303,724
(26 October 2003)
(25 January 2004)
Early in the movie, in a scene featuring Coach Jones in his office, behind him is a coke bottle commemorating Paul "Bear" Bryant as the winningest coach in college football. That coke bottle was made after his retirement in 1982, and the movie takes place in 1976.
It's never a mistake to care for someone. That's *always* a good thing!
sentimental but hard to resist
'Radio' tells the true life story of a high school football coach who
befriends a severely mentally retarded young man (whom they nickname
'Radio' because he loves listening to the radio so much), lets him hang
out with the team, and, thereby, changes not only the boy's life but
the lives of just about everyone in the South Carolina town in which
they live. When Radio's behavior on the sidelines begins to serve as a
distraction during the games, some of the less sympathetic, die-hard
football fans of the town make an effort to downplay his role or
eliminate his presence altogether.
Set in 1976, 'Radio' is a thoroughly predictable, sentimental heart
tugger that will have people either gagging on the syrup or crying in
their popcorn. For all its heavy handed manipulation, however, 'Radio'
turns out to be a pretty decent little film due, primarily, to the
superb performances by Ed Harris and Cube Gooding Jr., and to the fact
that the movie doesn't overplay its hand as often as it might. In fact,
it wisely underplays much of the conflict, allowing the moments of
quiet subtlety to predominate. As played by Harris, Coach Jones is a
solid, decent, caring man who can't help but give his love to a fellow
human being who needs it. Harris' soft-spoken strength makes us believe
in the goodness of the man. The film does an effective job conveying
the incredulous reactions of many of the otherwise well-meaning town
folk, as even Radio's own mother asks Joe why he is doing what he's
doing. The scenes between Jones and this woman, lovingly played by S.
Epatha Merkerson, are some of the finest in the film. The movie also
isn't afraid to confront the issue of whether the people of the town –
and that includes Jones himself – aren't actually being patronizing
towards Radio in their treatment of him, and whether he isn't more of a
'mascot' for the team than a bona fide member. Gooding Jr. slips
effortlessly into the role of Radio, making him a compelling figure
even though he has virtually no lines of dialogue in the movie. Alfre
Woodard is excellent as the caring but nervous school principal who
sees Radio's presence on campus as a potential threat to student
safety, but who has enough faith in Jones to give Radio a chance to
prove himself. It's nice to see Debra Winger in a movie again, although
her role as Jones' ever-patient, ever-supportive wife, doesn't give her
much room to strut her stuff as an actress.
There's no denying that 'Radio' is a humanity-of-man type film that
could easily set the teeth on edge with its Goody Two Shoes philosophy
of life. Be that as it may, 'Radio' turns out to be a warm, uplifting
film that even Scrooge would probably like.