What You Need To Know:
RADIO is a redemptive story starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Ed Harris about a mentally handicapped man nicknamed Radio who’s befriended by the coach of the local high school football team, Harold Jones. The great ending may bring tears to your eyes, but RADIO takes a while to get going and contains some gratuitous foul language.
(CCC, BBB, LLL, V, N) Very strong Christian worldview about being a Good Samaritan, including strong redemptive scenes of forgiveness and scene of people coming out of Christian church, plus several very strong moral elements throughout; 25 mild obscenities and one profanity; threats of violence and minor violence with retarded man being pushed around; no sex; upper male nudity in locker room; no alcohol; no smoking; and, nothing else objectionable.
RADIO has a great ending, which may bring tears to your eyes. However, the first two thirds is a bit slow and obtuse, and may put some viewers to sleep.
The movie is not so much about a mentally handicapped, African-American named James Robert Kennedy, whose nickname is “Radio” and who is played very well by Cuba Gooding, Jr., but rather about Coach Harold Jones, played wonderfully by Ed Harris, the man who befriends Radio. Coach Jones is good at what he does and seems to be heading for a winning high school football season. When he catches a few of his star athletes harassing the retarded Radio, Coach Jones takes Radio under his care and makes a point of helping him, even when it puts stresses and strains on his job, his marriage, and his relationship with his daughter.
About halfway into the movie, the audience finds out why. When the reason is revealed, the movie takes off. Suddenly, the audience starts to care about Coach Jones and about Radio.
Seldom has a movie pointed out so clearly the need for a premise. The audience needs to know where you’re going, or they may not want to get on the bus with you. Once the audience knows where Coach Jones is going, they will support him against all odds.
True stories are hard to turn into movies, and that must have been one of the difficulties in this case. This script does not follow a three-act dramatic pattern. However, if you’re going to make a movie about real life, you have to restructure it so that it does reflect the rules of drama.
The direction in the movie is also not as sharp as it could be. Sometimes the actors seem to be making it up as they go. Without a clear premise, they don’t have the motivations necessary to sharpen their portrayals. The movie would be a +4 if it weren’t for a bout of 25 obscenities, and one profanity – right in the middle of the movie, something that would be easy to cut out in the video release.
The good news is that the movie lives out its moral theme, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me,” which is what Christ told his disciples in his parable of the sheep and the goats. This theme also has strong implications of the Good Samaritan story that Jesus also told his disciples in the New Testament. There are also a couple strong scenes of forgiveness, which help illuminate the movie’s Christian worldview.
The filmmakers of RADIO are to be encouraged and commended for their good efforts. Hopefully, they’ll do much better in the future.
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SUMMARY: RADIO is a redemptive story starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Ed Harris about a mentally handicapped man nicknamed Radio who’s befriended by the coach of the local high school football team, Harold Jones. The great ending may bring tears to your eyes, but RADIO takes a while to get going and contains some gratuitous foul language.