Five years ago, I don't think you would've needed anyone other than Denzel Washington to stir up buzz for a film. These days, well, he's still got the cred but not as much of the spotlight. I never thought I would say this, but being a long-time Forest Whitaker fan, I'm happy to -- Washington's upcoming The Great Debaters is this close to being spiced up by The Last King of Scotland Oscar winner. With him on the roster, we'll have two Academy winners, the Stomp-worthy Columbus Short and according to IMDb, two of the other students might be Collins Pennie and Emil Pinnock.

The project tackles one of the accomplishments of African American poet, Mel Tolson. In the 1930's, he created a debating team at Wiley College that went on to face the much more established Harvard team. Denzel is playing Tolson, and Whitaker will play the father of one of the students who "finds himself competing with the debate coach for the loyalties of his son." While the script comes from a relatively unknown television writer, Robert Eisele, there's not only Washington in the director's chair, but Oprah Winfrey as one of the producers. The names and talent are there, but will that be enough? This is one of those films that could easily be great, or could easily become too melodramatic.
categories Cinematical