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RADIO (2003 - PG)
Based on a true story, RADIO tells the tale about a mentally handicapped African American gentleman named James Kennedy and how his unlimited love impacted the whole of Hannah, South in the 1970's.
Written by: Mike Rich.
Directed by: Michael Tollin.
Genre: Drama, Sport.
Tagline: He was Hannah’s most beloved 11th grader…
Rated: PG for mild language and thematic content.
James Kennedy (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is an African American handicapped man: age; unknown, disease; unknown. Born sometime in the 1960's the story begins in the mid 1970's in the small town of Hannah, South Carolina where James daily takes his walks across town to Hannah High where he harmlessly sits and watches football practice.
Piquing the attention of Coach Jones (Ed Harris), James continues to harmlessly abide in the Coach's company... that is until a couple of trouble-making players lock James in their equipment shed and torture him. Addressing the issue Coach Jones decides the best thing to do is to let the young man continue to attend the practices…as assistant helper. Though barely able to get a word out of the young boy Coach Jones pens him RADIO after discovering his incessant preoccupation with the apparatus. Everywhere he goes there is always a radio, his newest one being a gift from Coach Jones’ right hand man and assistant coach Honeycutt (Brent Sexton).
As the season progresses Radio begins to get more and more friendly, and talkative. In no time he is helping run practice, doing a little practicing on his own, and talking up a storm to his new best friend, Coach Jones. But Mama Kennedy is a little skeptical and she keeps a weary eye on Coach Jones at first, only to soften her glance in time. Meanwhile the football team isn't performing as well as they ought to and some parents, including Frank (Chris Mulkey), father of the team's star player, begin to raise concerns about Radio’s presence around the football team. To worsen matters Coach Jones is receiving quite a guilt trip from his lonely wife who feels as if Coach Jones might be mixing up his priorities and leaving his family, particularly his seventeen year old daughter Mary Helen (Sarah Drew) out of the picture.
As Coach Jones struggles to keep afloat while staying loyal to his team, his new friend, and his family, he fights the local school board and sometimes even Hannah High's principal Daniels (Alfre Woodard) who question Radio's stability in a school environment. As football season ends Coach Jones and Honeycutt find a job for Radio working as a helper for the basketball team. But that's not all that Radio does for the school… he begins to act as hall monitor, secretary, janitor, and even student under the watchful eye of Coach Jones.
All seems well until Radio's mother dies and Frank returns to stir the pot. With some serious issues to address, Coach Jones prepares to face the town meeting where he will make the biggest decision of his life that will ultimately affect everyone in Hannah, from Radio, to his family, to the football team, to the town… Meanwhile Radio continues to spread his love and cheer faces wherever he goes, awaiting his fate.
RADIO is a heart-warming, dramatic tale that will move you through the broad scale of the emotional spectrum. From laughs to tears Cuba Gooding Jr. marvels audiences with his brilliant performance as Radio. Body language, speech patterns, ticks; Cuba takes everything into consideration and lays it all out on the line for his role as the beloved 'mascot' of Hannah High. Ed Harris rings true as the genteel man whose haunting past provokes his eternal kindness to Radio. All in all the film realistically portrays the trials and tribulations, the cornerstones and the obstacles of one man's plight to fight his way into the social light. All Radio wanted was to be loved, and in return he loved and touched people’s hearts more deeply than they ever thought possible. Radio is a true delight and a great family film that offers palatable content for child and adult alike.
Cuba Gooding Jr. plays James Kennedy (Radio), the mentally handicapped boy with more love than he could hold and a heart that kept on giving even when people refused to give it back.
Ed Harris plays Coach Jones, Hannah High's beloved football coach who takes Radio under his wing upon his good conscience and a bad childhood memory.
Alfre Woodard plays Principal Daniels, Hannah's African American female principal who stands firmly by her morals and whose fierce loyalty proves to be both a hindrance and a godsend for Radio.
Brent Sexton plays Honeycutt, Coach Jones' assistant football coach and right hand man.
Sarah Drew plays Mary Helen, Coach Jones' teenage daughter who is growing up before his eyes which are averted to more important things like football and Radio.
Chris Mulkey plays Frank, the hard-pressed father of super athlete Johnny, who does his all to up and out Radio from Hannah High activities.