Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nothing Great About It: The Great Debaters

The Great Debaters
Directed by Denzel Washington
Released December 25, 2007

This last-minute release that seemingly came out of nowhere feels incomplete and rather sloppily put together. The story is launched into without a hint of background or any reason why Wiley College in Texas has a need for a debate team. It is simply made to seem that trying out for the debate team would be the first thought on everyone's mind. The four students picked for the team are chosen for no obvious reason other than that they are the central characters of the film. The film has its share of haughty, drawn-out speeches and each moment feels cornier than the next. The characters laugh at their own jokes and applaud for themselves, as if that makes what they are saying valid or impressive. The actors cast as the debate team members are moderately talented but hardly believable as college students: one looks like he is ten years old and the others look closer to thirty. The film is completely unbalanced, throwing in deeply serious scenes about persecution and racism smack dab in the middle of all the fun and debating. It is hard to decide who is more obnoxious and disappointing, a vastly overacting Denzel Washington or a sadly underacting Forest Whitaker. Either way, this film is a drag from start to finish.


Oscar chances: Its shocking nomination for Best Motion Picture - Drama at the Golden Globes and nothing else anywhere should indicate that it was a fluke. I cannot imagine that voters would choose this over Denzel's less disappointing work this year in "American Gangster" and I think the field is generally too crowded for this to get in anywhere. No one stands out among the cast and no technical aspect carries the film, so I think this one is dead in the water.


YooBabe said...

So what your saying is it's a big TURD !!!!!!!!! And I'm so tired of everything Oprah touches is golden. This is a big golden TURD !!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

.. i think it deserves more than a D+ HOWEVER it was incredibly corny. and was kinda annoying.