Radio – The Movie Inspired By A True Story

If you consider yourself a sports fan, there are plenty of movies out there for you no matter your predilection. And because of this, there are plenty of marvelous films out there for fans of sports, and even the laziest person can fire up google and find a listing of the best sports movies ever made.

Radio is a 2003 film directed by Mike Tolin  based on the true 220px-Radio-movie_Posterstory of T.L. Hanna High School football coach Harold Jones played by (Ed Harris) and a mentally challenged young man James Effinhimer Robert “Radio” Kennedy with (Cuba Gooding Jr.) in the movie roll. Also starring Debbra Winger and Alfre Woodward,,   inspired by a 1996 Sports Illustrated article “Someone to Lean on” by Gary Smith. This movie filmed primarily in Walterboro, South Carlina, because its buildings and downtown areas still fit the look of the era the film depicted.

The film’s lead character, Radio,  based upon James Robert Effinhimer Kennedy (born October 14, 1946 in Anderson, South Carllinia. Kennedy grew up fascinated by radios. His nickname, Radio, was given to him by townspeople because of the radio he carried everywhere he went. He still attends T. L. Hanna High School and helps coach the football team and the basketball team. He is known to ask students before football games, “We gonna get that quarterback?”, and say “We gonna win tonight!” .[Citation nedeeded] ReelSports provided the football and basketball coordination for the film.

“Radio”, a 23-year-old young man living with intellectual disability, pushes a shopping cart along the streets daily. He is attracted to a high school football team, and passes by their practices on a near-daily basis. One day, the football flies outside the field near Radio, and Radio takes the ball, deaf to the demands of a student athlete on the other side of the fence to return it. Some time later, the team members lock Radio inside the gear shed, tied up. The team’s coach hears them throw balls at the shed, goes in and comforts Radio. Another day, meeting Radio at the streets, asks him to visit and help at training and then delivers Radio to his house, where Radio’s mother is introduced. It is also revealed that Radio has a brother named Walter, who does not live with them. Their father passed away a few years earlier.

Coach Jones begins spending more and more time with Radio, which concerns the fathers of many of the team members. In particular, one of the fathers, Frank Clay, suggests that the coach stop associating with Radio, as he views the boy as merely a distraction to his own son’s success. Coach Jones is resistant, and he later reveals to his daughter that this resistance was partly induced by an earlier incident during his childhood in which the Coach did not do anything to help a mentally disabled boy who was locked under a house.

Radio eventually takes classes in the high school, and it is clear that he never completed a formal education. After struggling, Radio eventually learns to read. Though well-liked by most of the students at school, Radio is still bullied by Johnny, the son of Frank, and his friends and Radio is tricked into entering the girls locker room. This triggers an incident with the school board that puts Radio’s ability to attend the high school at risk. However, Radio refuses to tell the Coach Jones who told him to do it, leading to Jones’ words, “You’re a better man than me Radio”. Coach Jones eventually figures out who told Radio to go into the girls locker room, and punishes Johnny for his actions by ordering him to sit out from the basketball team for an indefinite time. He tells Johnny that Radio never said a word about him, and Johnny latter begins to respect Radio and doubt his father’s impressions.

While distributing Christmas presents to nearly everyone in the town, Radio is questioned by a police officer as to where he got all the presents. Unable to communicate properly, Radio ends up getting arrested as the officer believes that Radio stole the presents when in fact they were presents given to Radio by the townspeople. He then roughly jails Radio. The officer, who left Radio crying in a cell, looks for his information. The other officers, taking pity on Radio after seeing him cry, release him and take him into the staff-room, watching a game of football together. Coach Jones soon arrives, releasing Radio. The offending officer is punished by having to spend the day with Radio to finish all the present deliveries. Some time later, Radio’s mother suddenly dies of a heart attack. Even with this immense trauma, Radio still manages to graduate from eleventh grade with the help from his coach, mainly because of the help and support from so many who had been kind to him in return for Radio’s own kindness. For the next years, Radio still attended the school. The film ends with clips of the real Radio who was in his 50s when the film was made.

Radio received generally unfavorable reviews. On review  Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 36% “Rotten” rating and holds a score of 38 out of 100 on Meta Critic. Common points of criticism included the excessively sentimental screenplay and music as well as the formulaic plot. However, the film found an audience, grossing $52,333,738 with a budget of about $35 million. Cuba Gooding Jr. earned a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actor for his performance in the film but also an NAACP Image Award for best actor in a motion picture.









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