Remember the Titans Directed by Boaz Yakin, Remember the Titans explores racism in the community of Alexandria and the struggles of dealing with an integrated society, school and football team. Remember the Titans makes evident that ultimately the community of Alexandria are the real winners after the Titans gain victory at the Championship and the public learn to accept the opposite race and treat them with newfound respect. The creation of friendships, their attitudes towards each other and realising opportunities are all positives that came from the gradual acceptance of change.
Characters in the film form friendships within the community whether they’re African-American or Caucasian, subsequently to the good example set by the Titans’ Championship team. This is seen through Julius Campbell and Gerry Bertier when they are placed in a room together on football camp causing agitation between the two. Julius and Gerry first meet when they are seated together on the bus and Coach Boone announces “the person I have you sitting next to is the same one that you’ll be rooming with for the duration of this camp”.
The two characters show their hate for each other in many ways, the first being on the bus Julius tells Gerry he “can shut-up”, causing more conflict between the two. Together with the encounter over a poster in their room, it’s clear the two are far from friends. Although as the team starts pulling together and begin to win their games of football this changes dramatically. Gerry listens to Julius and lectures one of the team members, Gerry’s best friend about his terrible blocking for one of the African-American players.
This results in Julius and Gerry shouting “left-side” “strong side” at each other, being the start of a close friendship and unity. This great friendship develops over time and they soon become so close they call each other “brother[s]” and Gerry invites Julius over to meet his “mama” which is a big deal, considering at the start of their friendship Gerry’s mum didn’t agree with it. Sheryl and Nicky become friends after the Titans work as an integrated team and they gradually grow to have similar interests instead of being totally opposed to spending time with each other.
In the beginning of the film the two girls were totally different, Sheryl not putting in any effort to “play dolls” or Nicky refusing to play basketball because she “just did [her] nails”. Ultimately they get excited with each other about the Titans winning streak and celebrate by hugging and jumping around together. This shows friendship formed because of the Titans and the team’s victory. The success of the Titans is a positive reflection on the relationships formed within the team, where their cohesion allows the rest of the Alexandria community to see the benefits of amalgamation and inter-racial respect.
Conclusively the whole town of Alexandria benefitted and were the winners after all, due to the Titans helping form friendships. In the film, Remember the Titans the town of Alexandria was disadvantaged by being segregated, where not only were the people in the community missing out on friendships opportunities, but also business and team opportunities. They were missing out on a different, more helpful and compassionate way of life. An example of this is the business that turns away Petey and Blue to eat there because they’re African-American.
The diner misses out on a sale not only then, but from all the other hundred or more Negro people that would purchase food there if they were accepted. But instead they were told “to head out back and pick it up from there” as if having a person with a different appearance in their diner would affect business sales. “in Virginia, high school football is a way of life,” and throughout Remember the Titans the team are significant social leaders, to both races; black and white.
Especially after the Titans win the Championship, the audience sees Alexandria realise that their people are all the same, and finally start to treat each other with some respect. “You taught his city how to trust the soul of a man, rather than the look of him…” If Alexandria was still segregated the friendships wouldn’t be the same: the Titans might not have won the Championship game, Coach Yoast could have received a place in the “Hall of Fame”, Gerry wouldn’t have had the car accident, they wouldn’t have accepted change, and they would still be as close minded, biased and prejudiced as they were the year before the game.
The town showed a real change after the Titans won the Northern Regional Championship Game, all the people of the town whether they were black or white were there to cheer and congratulate the team on their victory. This was a huge change in the attitudes of the township. Although the change was hard, the town is better of being integrated due to the transformation after the win thanks to the Titans. It is the tragedies and mistakes within Remember the Titans that cause the community of Alexandria to learn and develop in order to ultimately benefit from the example of the Titans.
Even though the town eventually advanced greatly from the example set by the Titans not everybody in the film was a ‘winner’. Ray Budds was part of the Titans, but as the team advanced in their acceptance Ray did not change in the way he felt about integration. Eventually he was removed from the team by the person who used to be his best friend, Gerry, after he “missed the block on purpose”. This consequence for Ray helps the team move forward together after gaining more unity and helping each other more, with no negative relationships in the team.
Coach Yoast also had to sacrifice something to help the Titans; willingly Yoast gives up his spot in the “Hall of Fame” so that the team can fairly win one of the games of football they play. Even though he had worked extremely hard for that spot, he realised that it was not right to let the other team cheat on his behalf to acquire the Hall of Fame place. Coach Yoast understood that the people choosing the recipient were a “bunch of rednecks” and that himself and his daughter Sheryl would work just as hard to be the receiver of the Hall of Fame place next year, once the judgemental people realised he was a worthy recipient.
Ultimately the town and the people in the town had to sacrifice some important things in their lives after they realised it was the right thing to do, making the town of Alexandria a better, happier, integrated town. Throughout Boaz Yakin’s Remember the Titans people change, to overall make the town of Alexandria a better place to live and work. No matter what race, people in Alexandria are accepted. Being able to accept something different is a difficult task and the Titans set the example and helped Alexandria as a whole to be winners.
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