A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A dedicated and inspiring coach brings about positive changes in the lives of teens and the community as a whole.
Positive Role Models
Louis Mulkey was a dedicated and inspiring high school basketball coach who found ways to motivate and bring out the best of the teens he worked with, both on and off the basketball court. AJ Green, a player for Coach Mulkey, overcomes dyslexia and the tragic loss of his brother and aunt to a car accident to go on to become a professional football player, something he directly attributes to Mulkey's influence.
Louis Mulkey was a White basketball coach who coached a predominantly African American team at a South Carolina High School who helped to lead the team to the State Championship. Had this been a fiction movie, it's a story that would be problematic for those wary of "White savior" narratives in movies, but as a documentary, the testimonials from former players (many of whom, inspired by Mulkey, went on to be coaches themselves) go a long way to dispel this idea, and one of the biggest takeaways from these testimonials is that Coach Mulkey was a one-of-a-kind coach and person who made a tremendous difference in the lives of those he coached, and for the community as a whole.
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Violence & Scariness
Some graphic archival footage of the fire that took the life of Coach Mulkey, who also worked as a captain for the fire department. Yells of "Mayday!" from the firemen stuck inside the burning building, and Mulkey's last words before he perished in the fire.
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Infrequent profanity: "goddamn," "s--t," "hell." Middle finger gesture in a photograph.
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Products & Purchases
Former players of Coach Mulkey eat at a Tastee Freez fast food restaurant as they reminisce about the times Mulkey would take them there to see how they were doing both on and off the basketball court.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Beer drinking in a photograph. Talk of drug dealing, and getting arrested for marijuana possession.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Green Wave is a 2020 sports documentary about a dedicated high school basketball coach who inspired his team both on and off the court. The coach, Louis Mulkey, tragically perished in a fire (he also worked as a captain for the Charleston, South Carolina Fire Department), and the documentary shows archival footage of the fire, along with audio from Mulkey and others who died that day as they yell "Mayday!" and pass along their last words before dying. Infrequent profanity: "goddamn," "s--t," "hell." Middle finger gesture in a photograph. Talk of dealing drugs and getting arrested. Overall, this documentary is a testament to how positive role models can change the lives of those they inspire, and help teens and kids to become the best versions of themselves. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is an inspiring story about an inspiring high school basketball coach who tragically died far too soon. The Green Wave is a low-budget sports documentary that reveals the profound and far-reaching effects a positive role model can have on the lives of youths. Louis Mulkey, the subject of this documentary, was a captain in the Charleston, South Carolina Fire Department, a basketball coach for Summerville High School, and a man who cared about bringing out the best in those he coached, and not only on the basketball court. The documentary is filled with the testimonials of former players whose lives were touched by Coach Mulkey, and there's so much heartfelt emotion in these stories, the sincerity of this project usually transcends the movie's shortcomings.
Probably the biggest shortcoming is an issue all-too-prevalent in low-budget sports documentaries like these: an overreliance on "rousing" orchestral background music on a steady and infinite loop. It's a mystery as to why sports documentary filmmakers feel like they need to have generic and bombastic stringed overtures playing behind interviews that don't need that extra bit of emotional oomph to drive the points home. There's also a nagging sense that some context is left out of this, or merely hinted at. Still, it's an earnest tribute to a man who clearly made a positive difference in the lives of those around him.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.