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RADIO

So far this year Cuba Gooding Jr. has played a heterosexual trapped on a gay cruise and a city slicker trying to turn a fast buck in gospel music. Here he’s a severely retarded indigent in a small South Carolina town where high-school football is the life force. He’s obsessed with radios (thus his name and the title), and each day he pushes his prize possessions (a football and a radio) around the schoolyard in a shopping cart. It’s a maudlin Rain Man–esque scene until some of the bullying jocks hogtie him and lock him in a shed. Coach Jones (Ed Harris), outraged, reaches out to Radio and names him assistant coach and team mascot. Of course there are a few power-hungry boosters who want nothing to do with the happy spectacle, and they threaten Radio’s simpleton bliss.

Although the movie is based on true events in the ’70s, you might well wonder whether everything was as neat and tidy as director Michael Tollin implies. Harris with his steely-eyed compassion anchors the film, and Gooding with his bug eyes and snaggletooth reminds us why he was "shown the money" at Oscar time, but as the principal (Alfre Woodard) repeatedly asks Coach Jones, "Where is this going?"


Issue Date: October 24 - 30, 2003
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