Imitation isn’t always the sincerest form of flattery.
A segment in “Movie 43,” which opened this week, shows a team made up of African Americans lamenting playing an all-white team.
The sketch, called “Victory’s Glory,” appears to be a parody of the 2006 Disney film “Glory Road” which told the story of the 1966 Texas Western College Miners team that made history when their all African American starting lineup defeated Kentucky’s all white starting lineup. The all-African American team in "Movie 43" wears orange jerseys, just like Texas Western did.
The win by Texas Western, now UTEP, paved the way for more African Americans to be recruited to play basketball and get an education at colleges in the South.
The similarities between “Glory Road” and the “Movie 43” sketch were not lost on ’66 team member Togo Railey. He couldn’t even finish the five minute sketch that’s been posted online, calling it filth. (Editor's Note: Warning, the sketch has strong vulgar language. It can be seen here.)
“What a bunch of garbage,” Railey said of the sketch.
The sketch features a rousing pep talk by Terrence Howard that includes cursing and talk of the extreme size of his players' genitalia. "Movie 43" is made up of several different sketches as three people search for the most banned film on the Internet.
"I don't know what 'Movie 43' is but I'm proud of it," Howard said just before at the start of a clip posted on the website Directors Live.
Railey doesn’t consider himself a movie person by any stretch but it’s clear to him that the sketch was a takeoff on “Glory Road.”
“White boys (from the other team) come into the locker room," Railey said of the "Movie 43" sketch. "Evidently that's supposed to be me with the horn-rimmed glasses. It's just ridiculous. I don't think Disney would buy this one and put it on. Everything about it probably tries to be a rendition of what we went through."
The Texas Western players and their coach, the late Don Haskins, were under contract with Warner Bros. for 20 years to have a film made about the team, Railey said.
"We were on contract for with Warner Bros. for 20 years. They wanted to do a movie 20-30 years ago," Railey said. "Haskins fortunately had the forethought to make sure he could approve the script. . In those days, movies in the '70s and early '80s were all 'Superfly' and sex and violence and drugs and if you didn’t tell it that way, you weren’t going to make money. And he just would not approve it because that's not the image he wanted of his team or the university. It took them 20 years to get away from their 20 year contract. Finally, thank the Lord, somebody came up with the idea to do 'Glory Road' and I think most of that has to do with a Kentucky player. Pat Riley was the one who got Jerry Bruckheimer to do it. They were good friends."
Even though "Glory Road" is closer to the real story than the "Movie 43" sketch, it is by no means 100 percent accurate, according to Railey.
"'Glory Road' was about 80 percent Hollywood," Railey said. "There was never any animosity between the white and black players on our team. And when we sat down and talked with screenwriter, he couldn't believe there wasn't any animosity because of the time it happened. We were always very competitive. All our animosity was toward our good coach (Haskins)."
Railey thinks the story of the '66 team is so compelling it will keep being told in cinema. In fact, there's already been a foreign version of it made.
"They did a movie in Japan about Don Haskins and this team," Railey said. "It was a TV program over there. It was funny seeing it in Japanese as opposed to English and the storyline was the same with Japanese players. It was funny to see that."
Although he couldn't remember the name of the Japanese film, Railey said it wasn't the first time their story has been copied and doesn't think it'll be the last either.
Watch "Glory Road" trailers here.