Football, Reviews, Sports

‘The U Part 2’ compares Golden era to Butch Davis tenure

The_U_Part_2.0.0

Courtesy ESPN Films

“Casablanca.” Great movie. “The Godfather.” Thrilling. “Pulp Fiction.” A wild ride.

Then there’s “The U Part 2.” OK, maybe that’s a bit much, but I had the biggest smile on my face as the ending credits rolled.

I’ll take all the great experiences of my life – getting accepted to the University of Miami, my driver’s license, my senior prom, SportsDesk, WVUM – up against the absolute excitement I had watching this movie.

The highly anticipated sequel to 2009’s “The U” premiered on ESPN Saturday, directed by award-winning filmmaker and UM alum Billy Corben. Going into the viewing, I knew the basic subject matter of the film would revolve around the second rise and fall of the Hurricanes football program, beginning with the exodus of Dennis Erickson to the Seattle Seahawks and the ushering in of the Butch Davis era.

I really was taken aback by the similarities between the beginnings of Davis’s tenure and current head coach Al Golden’s era. The banner that flew over the Orange Bowl with Davis said, “National Champs to National Chumps.” Al Golden’s was more of a simple, “Fire Al Golden.” The difference was Davis built a team that would become what many call the greatest college team ever: the 2001 National Champions.

Al Golden and his coaching staff have been said to be the wrong pairing with as talented a team as Miami has had on his watch.

The one really heartbreaking moment was watching the Canes pour onto the field after they had thought they’d won the 2003 Fiesta Bowl and National Championship over Ohio State.

The film music was upbeat, players were happy in interviews, and then the pass interference flag is thrown. Ohio State wins, and from there, the movie really takes a depressing turn, reflecting the fog that evolved into the dark cloud over the program once the Nevin Shapiro connections were revealed in 2011.

Corben did a fantastic job interviewing several players and staffers in that dark and dismal late 2000s era, specifically former student manager and equipment manager Sean Allen. Allen also worked with Shapiro’s sports agency, Axcess Sports, in the mid 2000s, and said that while he drove a beautiful Mercedes-Benz, wore a Rolex watch, and dined out at Miami’s finest culinary spots, he felt empty and miserable.

What I was surprised about is the glimmer of hope the ending sequences gave. “The U Part 2” offers introspection on the program’s darker days as opposed to its predecessor, as never seen before, but also implies that Coach Davis faced the same scandals coming in that Coach Golden had, and if history has taught us anything, it’s that there may be a silver lining after all.

It’s an easy four stars for me, in my first go-around as The Miami Hurricane’s film critic. I could watch it on a loop nonstop, and once again Billy Corben kicks the field goal that Florida State could never do in those years.

One more note: The very last shot of the film before the credits, for me, is both a reflection of Corben’s brilliance as a filmmaker, and maybe a little partisanship as well. You’ll have to watch “The U Part 2” to find out why.

December 14, 2014

Reporters

Neil Dwyer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Boston College star Ky Bowman came down with a 102-degree fever on Saturday night. Jordan Chatman an ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Sunday: ▪ New UM defensive coordinator Blake Baker has asked UM ...

Emese Hof and No. 20 Miami think they can play with anyone, and it shows. Hof scored 18 of her 25 po ...

New University of Miami baseball head coach Gino DiMare wanted to start strong. He got perfection. T ...

Former University of Miami star running back Mark Walton was arrested late Friday on a charge of mis ...

UM alumna Alina Mayo Azze, who has covered a myriad of topics during her 37-year career, has been a ...

Happiness and well-being scholar Tal Ben-Shahar is UM’s newest Distinguished Presidential Scholar. ...

The University of Miami will host the first symposium to explore LGBTQ human rights across the Ameri ...

UM experts react to a new ban that prohibits people in Key West from using certain types of sunscree ...

A matchmaker extraordinaire, Ricardo Cepeda, the manager of the UM Zebrafish Facility, is passionate ...

The No. 20 Miami women's basketball team stormed back from a 14-point deficit to pick up the bi ...

Brian Van Belle struck out five over six shutout innings to help the Canes sweep Rutgers on opening ...

The Hurricanes fell in Chestnut Hill, 64-57. ...

The sophomore first baseman slugged his second homer of the weekend to lead the Canes to a series wi ...

Junior Renate Grimstad led the way for Miami and is tied for 18th at one-over-par, while sophomore K ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.