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PRIDE, 2007
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Robert's Review

"Pride" is based on the true story of Jim Ellis. In 1973, Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard) was having trouble finding a job and offered to take anything he could get. The city assigned him to work at a Philadelphia recreational center and tasked him with boxing everything up so that the city could tear it down in a few months. This came as BIG news to Elston (Bernie Mac) the maintenance man who had been with the recreational center ever since it first opened. Jim soon discovers a poll inside and decides that since the place is going to close down, he might as well enjoy some swimming until then, so he fixes up the old pool. When the basketball hoop out-front of the center is dismantled, Jim convinces the local youths to come inside and swim. Once of the youths asks Jim to start a swimming team and coach them, which just may help save the recreational center. However, many issues including racism, drug-related violence, unsympathetic city officials and more all stand in their way and must be overcome. It wasn't easy for Jim or these youths... but in the end, they managed to pull it off and have gone on to win many championships since then.

"Pride" is somewhat inspirational, but really not very interesting or entertaining. There were a lot of things in the movie that were just glossed over... in fact, the pacing of the movie seemed to just zoom right through most of the material and speed towards all of the swim meets and the big tournament at the end. To me, it didn't seem to focus much attention on the youths themselves. It did show some racism and problems with a local drug lord, but compared to what other movies about racism have shown... "Pride" was very tame. The most these black folks had to endure in this movie was getting stared at and disrespected by white folks. There was no racial violence or anything like that and even the local drug lord was tame by comparison with other movies... all he did was make some idle threats and pee in their pool (ooh, so scary). Overall, watching a movie about swimming for nearly 2 hours just isn't that entertaining and the story (although it was true) just wasn't that interesting. In fact... watching a true story about swimming is about as interesting and engrossing as watching the true story of me sitting in a theater, watching a movie about swimming. However, I must give kudos to Terrence Howard – his performance was quite good, despite the content / composition of this movie being very bland.

All in all, I'd give this movie 2 STARS (out of 5). Re-watch value: NONE (I'd rather go swimming than re-watch a dull movie about swimming... Marco Polo anyone?!)

Brett's Review

"Pride" is a movie based on true events, a story about Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard), a college-educated African-American who can't find a job. Driven by his love for competitive swimming, Jim converts an old recreation center condemned by the city and scheduled for closure into a place to train a swim team. With the help from Elston (Bernie Mac), the two must not only take on the Philadelphia department of recreation, the neighborhood, and the other teams who don't want to see PDR compete.

As far as motivational movies go, this just didn't make the cut. The story about Jim Ellis was a good and cool story, but the movie did it no justice. I thought the movie was slow, the story was not written well and the overall feel of the story just plain sucked. I like motivational movies, but they have to be done well and executed with a certain kapow factor, without it's just a boring, mind-numbing movie. The other thing about "Pride" is that it was so full of sports clichés that I should have been watching a bad swim match on sports network. It is really too bad that Mac and Howard couldn't carry this movie (they did a really good job as did all the young up-and-comers in the film), but I'm not sure there is an actor alive who could have carried this movie and kept it from drowning. Honestly, I would rather watch paint dry than see this movie again.

Overall Rating: 1.5 Stars Re-Watch Value: None (If it was free on cable, then I would switch the channels or turn the TV off.)



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