Variety reports that the desperate-for-a-hit Weinstein Company is close to signing Forest Whitaker to star in Patriots, a drama to be directed by Tim Story (Barbershop, The Fantastic Four). Whitaker will play "Al Collins, basketball coach for John Ehret High in Marrero, Louisiana, who led his Patriots to the state championship a year after Katrina ravaged the school and displaced many of its students." Collins' team was made up of ten players who had attended five different schools prior to Katrina. I smell Oscars, baby! This is the first film to set a start date as a result of the WGA's deal with The Weinstein Company. Robert Eisele (writer of The Great Debaters, which also starred Whitaker) wrote the script for Patriots.

Says Story, "I've gotten caught up with the Fantastic Four films but wanted to find a smaller film with heart, that brought me back to Barbershop, and this has come together with one of the best actors out there. What Coach Collins did to give back the lives of his players is so inspiring." It does sound like an inspiring story, and with its post-Katrina setting, it's bound to be moving. But Hollywood, you listen to me and you listen good. I need you to take a year off from the inspirational sports movies set against a backdrop of racism, adversity, etc. Just one year, that's all I ask. I can't take it anymore. I like these movies. The formula works. I love Forest Whitaker. But this is enough. They're all basically the same. And Great Debaters? You count too. Simply substituting debate for basketball or football doesn't disguise you. You're one of them, too. And this is enough.

categories Oscars, Cinematical