A Film Review By The Mike

Starring: Cuba Gooding, Jr.; Ed Harris
Directed By: Mike Tollin

Final Grade:

Radio brings us the story of James Robert Kennedy, a.k.a. Radio, a young man who’s “just a little slower than most.” Despite this slowness, we can no doubt be sure that, by films end, he will overcome great odds and bring great happiness and knowledge to all around him. There seems to be a film like this every year. Some hit and some miss.

Radio is a surefire hit. It stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. as the titular character, in a performance that’s as solid as one can be in this type of role. Admittedly, it’s far from amazing, but Gooding brings us a character that we’re going to remember, and that is a big enough accomplishment for me.

The real star of the film, however, is the always-wonderful Ed Harris. He plays Coach Jones, Radio’s mentor and friend, the one who’s really learning a life lesson. Harris brings the charisma that should have won him many Oscars already to the screen once again, and easily gives one of the year’s best performances.

Films like Radio get a bad reputation from those in the critical community, with many making up their minds on what the film is before even seeing it. Phrases like “Oscar Bait” come up often, and the filmmakers behind these types of films get called things like “hypocritical” or “naive”. I’m not sure why this stance towards emotion filled films has been adopted, but it’s prevalent none the less.

Sure, I could spend all night ripping into the flaws in Radio. I could tell you that it’s a film full of clich├ęs, a regurgitation of standard materials, or an overdramatic soap opera. Many will even call it pretentious, failing to accept its intentions as sincere. But I don’t feel like doing that.

Radio is a warm and happy feel-good film, nothing more or less. Those that are more critical than I can go ahead and say whatever they want about Radio’s intentions. I will gladly say that I was proud to be watching Radio, and find the achievements of all involved to be worthy of nothing but praise. This is a rare film that was made with the best of intentions, and in my book that makes any flaws it does have inconsequential.

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