Frankly it doesn't matter a double-dribble whether or not the new film Believe in Me is based on a true story; the formula is exactly the same either way. A radical new coach descends upon a repressed, conservative small town, reluctantly takes on a ragtag team of losers, and whips them into shape just in time to win the state championship, all the while dealing with personal issues and maybe a stock bad guy, a sourpuss who for whatever reason can't wait to see the team lose.
Believe in Me is not much different from Miracle, Glory Road, Coach Carter, Gridiron Gang, We Are Marshall (and probably the new Pride, which I haven't seen yet) and other recent inspirational sports dramas. In fact, I'd suggest that the gruff-but-caring coach is for the current decade what drill instructors were for the 1980s. These movies take their inspiration seriously, and present their true, formulaic stories with a kind of impenetrable bombast and without much wiggle room; the packaging suggests that, if you criticize this movie, you're really criticizing the real heroes behind the story. What Believe in Me does differently is that it keeps a low profile.