Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, Debra Winger
Director: Michael Tollin
While director Michael Tollin's newest football drama, "Radio," is one of those based-on-a-true-story waterfalls crammed with sentimental sympathy, it survives because of its strong characters and even better performances from Ed Harris and Cuba Gooding Jr. In short, "Radio" is everything that "Seabiscuit" should have been.
The story of "Radio" was based on a Sports Illustrated article written by Gary Smith depicting the decades-long friendship between Hall-of-Fame South Carolina football coach Harold Jones (Harris) and James "Radio" Kennedy (Gooding), a young, mentally challenged black man nicknamed for his love of collecting radios.
Radio has wandered the streets of Anderson, South Carolina his whole life with his shopping cart listening to his radio (look for the radio to change in every scene). After an intimidating confrontation with some of the football players, Coach Jones takes Radio under his wing and introduces him into the social life of high school and football. But while Radio becomes a hero to most people, to others he represents a distraction from the football team's chances for glory.
"Radio" may be a little too melodramatic for some movie goers with a script that takes too many cheap shots at your heart and while seemingly forcing some kind of emotional reaction from its viewers. The starring performances in the film are both Oscar-worthy, though. Gooding is in his best role since "Jerry Maguire," depicting the real Radio with perfection and care, while veteran actor Harris delivers in a suitable role as the masculine yet sensitive football coach.
"Radio" undoubtedly has its moments, but maybe too many of them. For those looking for a mature, kind-hearted film with characters you can find time to care about, "Radio" is your pick. But for the cynical viewers out there who loathe shameless sentimentality: beware.