Radio (2003 film)
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|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (October 2011)|
"His courage made them champions."
|Directed by||Michael Tollin|
|Produced by||Herb Gains
|Written by||Mike Rich|
|Starring||Cuba Gooding Jr.
S. Epatha Merkerson
|Music by||James Horner|
|Editing by||Chris Lebenzon
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release dates||October 24, 2003|
|Running time||109 min.|
Radio is a 2003 film directed by Mike Tollin that is based on the true story of T. L. Hanna High School football coach Harold Jones (Ed Harris) and a mentally challenged young man James Robert "Radio" Kennedy (Cuba Gooding, Jr.). Also starring Debra Winger and Alfre Woodard, it was inspired by the 1996 Sports Illustrated article "Someone to Lean On" by Gary Smith. This movie was filmed primarily in Walterboro, South Carolina, because its buildings and downtown areas still fit the look of the era the film depicted.
The film's lead character, Radio, is based upon James Robert Kennedy (born October 14, 1946 in Anderson, South Carolina, USA). 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!". 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. He is attracted by a high school football team, but after the team's coach (Coach Jones) - taking pity on Radio, both for his disability and his enthusiasm - asks him to help, the team members abuse Radio by locking him in a shed. The team's coach confronts them, and delivers Radio to his house, where Radio's mother is introduced. It is also revealed that Radio's father passed away a few years before.
Coach Jones begins spending more and more time with Radio, which concerns the fathers of many of the team members. However, 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 it is later discovered that this resistance was partially 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 begins schooling in the high school, and it is apparent that he never completed formal schooling. After struggling, Radio eventually learns to read. While at school, Radio is also bullied by Johnny, the son of Frank, as well as a few other thugs and Radio is tricked into entering the girls locker room. However, after Radio refuses to tell the administration who told him to do it, Johnny gains respect for Radio, and begins to doubt his father's impressions about Radio. However, Coach Jones knows 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.
After distributing Christmas presents to nearly everyone in the town, Radio is accidentally arrested after a police officer thinks that Radio stole the presents, when in fact they were presents given to Radio by the townspeople.
However, the officer does not know this at first, and roughly jails Radio. This is eventually confirmed and the officer is punished by having to spend the day with Radio in annoyance; but at the same time, Radio's mother also 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 after he was kind to them. The film ends with clips of the real Radio who is now 67 (as of Oct. 16th, 2013) years of age. - "the oldest eleventh grader at Hanna High." Will always be remembered by them.
As Robert Radio Kennedy
Cast and characters
- Cuba Gooding Jr. - James Robert "Radio" Kennedy
- Ed Harris - Coach Jones, the head football coach
- Debra Winger - Mrs. Jones
- S. Epatha Merkerson - Maggie Kennedy
- Sarah Drew - Mary Helen Jones
- Alfre Woodard - Principal Daniels
- Riley Smith - Johnny Clay
- Chris Mulkey - Frank Clay, Johnny's father
- Patrick Breen - Tucker
- Brent Sexton - Honeycutt, the basketball coach
The film was poorly received by most critics. On review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 36% "Rotten" rating  and holds a score of 38 out of 100 on MetaCritic. 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 approximately $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.
- Richard Perez-Pena (2008-09-15). "The Sports Whisperer, Probing Psychic Wounds". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- "Radio". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
- "Radio Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. 2003-10-24. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
- "Radio (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
- Radio at the Internet Movie Database
- "Someone to Lean On" by Gary Smith - the magazine article that inspired Mike Tollin to make the film.
- Filming Locations from MoviePlaces.tv
- Answers some questions about the factual accuracy of the movie
- The official website of Radio and Coach Jones
- T.L. Hanna High School's page about Radio