By Rich Phippen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Judaism and basketball combine in lightweight Disney drama.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Viewers will learn about Jewish history and how some teachings can be applied today to everyday life.
A number of lessons are learned including the importance of teamwork, being honest, maintaining grades alongside physical education, and helping people in need.
Positive Role Models
Lamont Carr is an excellent role model to the basketball team. The school Rabbi is a supportive figure who treats the children with respect and honesty. Other teachers are portrayed as caricatures. The school is a Jewish school with the boys all wearing kippah caps and being recounted with many religious stories that are applied to their current situation. Some portrayal of homelessness.
Violence & Scariness
Occasional hostile behavior on the basketball court. One brief altercation when a player is tripped and another is pushed in retaliation.
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Some aggressive language such as "kick some butt."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Glasses of wine are shown on a dinner table but they are not consumed.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Full-Court Miracle is a straight-to-TV average Disney sports movie that combines Judaism and basketball to present a number of positive messages. It is based on the true story of Lamont Carr. Religious stories are used as analogies to help improve a school basketball team, but also teach important lessons like helping others and being honest. There is also some portrayal of homelessness as Coach Carr (Richard T. Jones) tries to get his life back on track. Aimed at a young audience, the only instance of violence is an altercation in the first basketball scene where a player is tripped. He then reacts by squaring up to his opponent who is ejected from the game. The language is clean with "kick their butts" the only aggressive turn of phrase. During a dinner scene, wine is seen on the table but is not drunk.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
In FULL-COURT MIRACLE, 14-year-old Alex Schlotsky (Alex D. Linz) is determined to turn his Jewish basketball team's fortunes around and win the inter-school tournament. Alex manages to persuade Lamont Carr (Richard T. Jones) an African American former college basketball star, to train them after school. Eventually Coach Carr is brought in as part of the school faculty, much to the annoyance of another teacher, Mrs. Klein (Sheila McCarthy). With Alex's mother pushing for her son to become a doctor, and Mrs. Klein concerned about Coach Carr's influence on the boys, the path to tournament success isn't going to be easy.
Is It Any Good?
It's unusual to see basketball and Judaism partnered up in such a way, and while the lessons are specific to Jewish history, they are universal in nature. The movie is based on a true story about an aging African American basketball player who is roped into helping out an under-performing team from a Jewish school in Philadelphia. The low-budget nature of the movie is abundantly clear, particularly in the stylized montage sequences and the special effects during the big finish.
Fortunately, Jones is convincing as Coach Carr, the player-turned-teacher, and Linz proves equally capable, despite his young years. Remarkably similar to 2005's Coach Carter -- but for kids -- Full-Court Miracle is a harmless, if forgettable tale of plucky underdogs and tenacious spirit with a side helping of ancient Jewish history.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how religion is portrayed in Full-Court Miracle. Why is it important for people of all different kinds of religion to be portrayed on screen? How were religious teachings related to basketball in the movie? Did it make a difference to the outcome?
The importance of teamwork is evident in the movie. What does Coach Carr do to get the team playing well? Does that translate to other aspects of life outside of sport? What other character strengths are seen in the movie? How can I use media to teach my kid teamwork?
Was Alex's mother right to worry about sport affecting her son's career choices? Should he have been allowed to pursue a career as a basketball player despite the odds being against him? Should he have focused more on becoming a doctor?
- On DVD or streaming: November 21, 2003
- Cast: Alex D. Linz, Richard T. Jones, R.H. Thomson
- Director: Stuart Gillard
- Studio: Disney Channel Original Movies
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Friendship, High School
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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