January Positivity: Coach (dir by John Taylor)

Despite the fact that I’ve regularly been watching and reviewing Hang Time, I have to admit that I really don’t know much about basketball.  In fact, I’d have to say that every time that I watch a movie or a television show about basketball, I learn something new.

For instance, when I watched Space Jam 2, I discovered that basketball is the only thing holding the multiverse together.

When I watched Hoosiers, I discovered that basketball is also the only thing holding Indiana together.

From watching the basketball episode of Saved By The Bell, I discovered that Zack Morris was apparently the best basketball player in California, despite having never been seen playing or even talking about the game in the past.  I always thought you had to be extremely tall to play basketball but I guess I was wrong.

From watching Hang Time, I’ve discovered that you only need one good player to repeatedly win the state championship.

And from 1983’s Coach, I discovered that high school basketball coaches can quit whenever they want to.  Apparently, they can just voluntarily leave the court and refuse to coach the team and it’s not a violation of a contract or anything else that you might expect it to be.  Of course, the team in Coach is so bad that they’ve only won two games in three years!  The players are all seniors and they’re all about to graduate without knowing the thrill of winning the state championship.  Every coach that they’ve had has walked off the court.  Not even the principal of their school cares whether or not they win.  In fact, he seems to prefer that they keep losing, though it’s never explained why.

Their newest coach is Philip (played by Colin Earls) and he is determined to turn them into a good team.  It’s not just that he thinks it would be good for the players to actually win a game or two before becoming adults.  It’s also that the team represents the only Christian school in the league and he feels that they owe it to God to actually try to win a game or two.  It doesn’t help that the other teams are making fun of them for being from a Christian school.  What type of Christian school doesn’t have a good basketball team!?

Uhmmm …. maybe the type of school that puts more importance on academics than athletics?  I mean, that always seems like a possibility.

Anyway, he gets the team into shape by encouraging them to read the Bible and to play for the team instead of playing for their own personal glory.  The best member of the team feels guilty for putting his own personal glory above the team so Philip takes him to a lecture that’s delivered by a guy who is so tall and so awkward that I can only assume that he was a real-life basketball player.  Does the team start winning?  Well, it would be a pretty depressing move if they didn’t.

Coach is an extremely low-budget film and the majority cast appears to have been amateurs.  It’s only 78 minutes long and none of the players is really allowed to develop much of an individual personality.  One player is really good.  One player has a temper that he has to control.  That’s about all we learn about them.  The team gets some help from a nerdy guy who uses a big bulky computer to scout the other teams.  For me, the computer stuff was the highlight of this film, just because everyone in Coach is so amazed by the fact that a computer has a practical use.  This film was made in 1983 and it shows!

I also found it amusing that, during the game, the computer and the guy was always hidden away in what appeared to be a boiler room.  I guess this was to keep the other teams from figuring out that computers could be used to store and analyze information.  I felt kind of bad for the guy who operated the computer, though.  While the rest of the team was playing and getting all the credit, he was essentially locked away in a secret room.

Coach is undoubtedly sincere but, aside from all the excitement over the big bulky computer, it’s a bit forgettable.  In the end, the team will always remember their friends at Hang Time and I guess that’s the important thing.

2 responses to “January Positivity: Coach (dir by John Taylor)

  1. I graduated HS in 83 and walked off the basketball team because I hated the coach. It was a catholic school. My partner in crime and I once rewrote a game on the computer in computer lab (very primitive) in which we had nuns as hookers and stuff like that. Needless to say, that did not go over well.
    It sounds like this movie was made for me


  2. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 1/2/23 — 1/8/23 | Through the Shattered Lens

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