Denzel Washingon’s newest flick, “The Great Debaters”, is a “based on a true story” piece about a college debate team from a black college in the segregated 1930′s who ended up beating Harvard’s student debate team. Sounds inspirational and sure to make me cry, except that it never happened. Well, the debate team from Texas’ Wiley College existed and so did Melvin Tolson, the debate team captain that Denzel’s playing. But the team that they actually went up against was from Southern Cali. Oops. Denzel, who also directed “The Great Debaters”, says “Harvard just sounded better, to be quite honest.” Well, honesty counts in my book. And it does sound better. Who wouldn’t want to kick a Harvard kid’s ass? I’ve known some Harvard students in my time, and the ones I knew used to scream “urchin alert” whenever a homeless person from Harvard Square would dare to panhandle at their dorm. Harvard let Denzel film on their campus for the fictional ending to the script. They knew better than to piss off his producer, a woman named Oprah Winfrey. Which is why I’m winding this post up because I know that I will end up on a milk carton if I say anything else negative about this movie. She’s scary, and going to rule the world someday.
Photos: Bauer-Griffin Online