|Directed by||Michael Tollin|
|Written by||Mike Rich|
|Music by||James Horner|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$52.6 million|
Radio is a 2003 American semi-biographical sports drama film directed by Mike Tollin, and inspired by the 1996 Sports Illustrated article "Someone to Lean On" by Gary Smith. The article and the movie are based on the true story of T. L. Hanna High School football coach Harold Jones (Ed Harris) and a mentally handicapped young man, James Robert "Radio" Kennedy (Cuba Gooding Jr.). The film co-stars Debra Winger and Alfre Woodard. It was filmed primarily in Walterboro, South Carolina because its buildings and downtown core still fit the look of the era the film was trying to depict.
In the 1970s, James Robert "Radio" Kennedy, a young, 23 year old mentally-disabled man, lives alone with his mother who, as a nurse, spends much of the day at work. Radio spends much of his day roaming the town and pushing a shopping cart, which he uses to collect anything interesting he finds. Radio often pauses to observe the local high school football team in their training sessions, led by Coach Harold Jones. During one such session, the football falls out of bounds, allowing Radio to collect it and haul it away in his cart. The team retaliates the following day by tying Radio's hands and feet and locking him in the gear shed. Coach Jones frees Radio and punishes the team. Jones takes it upon himself to assist in Radio's care, and gives him his nickname due to his penchant for listening to the radio. Radio begins assisting Coach Jones on the football team, and inspires the team before each match as a mascot-type figure. Radio's increased attention from Jones is faced with resistance from the football team's parents, who see Radio as a distraction from their own sons' successes.
Upon the end of the football season, Jones involves Radio with several activities within the high school, and winds up neglecting his daughter Mary Helen, who is a member of the high school's cheerleading squad. At a Christmas mass, Radio receives several gifts from the townspeople, and Mary Helen confides to her father that while she does not blame him for neglecting her, she cannot understand the reason for his interest in Radio. The following day, Radio distributes the gifts around town. He soon encounters a suspicious police officer, and his impaired ability to communicate leads to his arrest on the charge of possessing stolen property. However, the other officers recognize Radio and he is released. Following the holidays, Radio begins taking classes in the high school to complete his formal education. One day, Radio is tricked by one of the basketball team players to enter the girls' locker room. Radio is reluctant to tell anyone who set him up, but Coach Jones determines the player's identity regardless and punishes him by ordering him to sit out of a decisive basketball match.
Radio's mother suddenly dies of a heart attack, and Radio finds himself living alone until his absent older brother Walter finally returns to care for him. That same evening, Jones reveals to Mary Helen that his attachment to Radio and need to assist him stems from a childhood incident in which Jones, as a child making a living off delivering packages, did not help a mentally-disabled boy his own age crying behind barbed wire. Following the death of Radio's mother, pressure from the school board to have Radio put in a specialized institution strengthens. The association between Radio and Coach Jones is further blamed for the team's inability to win. In a meeting with the townspeople, Jones speaks of Radio being a blessing for the community by showing how people should treat one another, and announces his resignation as head coach so that he may spend more time with his family. At Radio's high school graduation, he receives an honorary diploma and a letterman jacket. Clips are shown of the real-life Radio leading the football team well into his fifties.
The film's lead character, Radio, is based on James Robert "Radio" Kennedy, who was born October 14, 1946 in Anderson, South Carolina. His nickname, Radio, was given to him by townspeople because Kennedy grew up fascinated by radios and because of the radio he carried everywhere he went. He was known to ask students before football games, "We gonna get that quarterback?", and say "We gonna win tonight!". ReelSports provided the football and basketball coordination for the film.
On review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 36% approval rating with the consensus reading: "The story is heavy on syrupy uplift and turns Radio into a saint/cuddly pet". The film holds a score of 38 out of 100 on Metacritic. The film grossed $52.3 million with a budget of approximately $30 million. Cuba Gooding Jr. earned a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actor for his performance in the film but also an NAACP Image Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture.
|Black Reel Awards||Best Actor||Cuba Gooding Jr.||Nominated|
|CAMIE Awards||Theatrical release||Todd Garner||Won|
|Cuba Gooding Jr.||Won|
|S. Epatha Merkerson||Won|
|ESPY Award||Best Sports Movie||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Actor||Cuba Gooding Jr.||Won|
|Supporting Actress||Alfre Woodard||Won|
|Golden Raspberry Award||Worst Actor||Cuba Gooding Jr.||Nominated|
The soundtrack to Radio was released on October 21, 2003.
|1.||"Eyes Of The Heart (Radio's Song)"||India.Arie||4:44|
|2.||"We Can Work It Out"||Stevie Wonder||3:18|
|3.||"That Lady - Pt. 1"||The Isley Brothers||3:15|
|4.||"I'll Be Around"||The Spinners||3:14|
|5.||"If You Don't Know Me By Now"||Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes||3:29|
|6.||"Sha La La (Make Me Happy)"||Al Green||2:59|
|7.||"We're An American Band"||Grand Funk Railroad||3:28|
|8.||"China Grove"||The Doobie Brothers||3:17|
|9.||"Wake Up Everybody (Part 1)"||Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes||3:45|
|10.||"The Rubberband Man"||The Spinners||3:36|
|11.||"Be Thankful for What You Got"||William DeVaughn||3:28|
|12.||"Going In Circles"||The Friends of Distinction||4:11|
|13.||"Radio's Day"||James Horner featuring vocals by India.Arie||4:21|
|14.||"Gift of the Ball"||James Horner||1:47|
|15.||"Learning The Ropes"||James Horner||1:55|
|16.||"Being Left Behind"||James Horner||2:42|
|18.||"Never So Alone"||James Horner featuring vocals by India.Arie||7:14|
|19.||"Night Game"||James Horner||2:41|