It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Alot of college basketball coaches seem caught in a Catch-22. If they don't win, they get fired. To win, they need great players. To recruit great players, they may have to offer them illegal inducements. If they get caught doing that, they get fired. It's a vicious circle.
Pete Bell, the coach played by Nick Nolte in William Friedkin's new film "Blue Chips," has so far remained entirely honest. But he's just had his first losing season, after a career that has brought his teams two national titles. So maybe it's only a matter of time until he unleashes the rabid alums who, as "friends of the program," shower cash and cars on likely prospects, and new tractors and homes on their parents.
The movie is told almost entirely from Nolte's point of view, and he makes an immensely likable character right from the top, where he viciously chews out his losing team and stalks from the room - only to return, chew them out some more, and walk out again - only to come back a third time with afterthoughts.
He has never cheated on the recruiting rules and he doesn't want to start now. But the walls are closing in on him. He's after some hot high school prospects who are fairly frank about their requirements. "The way I see it," says one towering prospect from French Lick, Ind. (Larry Bird's hometown), "I'm a white, blue chip prospect and I think that should be worth about $30,000. In one of those athletic bags." Plus a new tractor for his dad's farm. A black inner-city kid from Chicago has a mom (Alfre Woodard) who would like a decent job, and a home with a lawn.