• Publication date: December 1, 2010

The World Gave Him Hell; He Gave Them Hope Radio: A Golden Heart That Inspired an Entire Town

James 'Radio' Kennedy (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) was born with the odds against him. He came from a loving family, though his mental disability made it difficult for him to socialize with others. Still, he did not hide himself away from the world. Each day he would push a shopping cart around the neighborhood searching for goods, all the while carrying his trusty transistor radio that earned him his nickname.

James 'Radio' Kennedy (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) was born with the odds against him. He came from a loving family, though his mental disability made it difficult for him to socialize with others. Still, he did not hide himself away from the world. Each day he would push a shopping cart around the neighborhood searching for goods, all the while carrying his trusty transistor radio that earned him his nickname.

One day a stroke of luck comes to him in an unexpected way, though not of a material nature. While passing the local high school football field some kids taunt Radio, and eventually lock him inside a storage shed. Kennedy sits within it terrified as the boys pummel the shed with footballs. Luckily, Coach Jones (Ed Harris) witnesses this and frees Radio. Later on, the boys are punished for their behavior.

Jones takes a liking to Radio, and eventually finds a way to integrate him into the football team's activities. At each game he is on the bench, serving as an inspiration to the players. The Coach assumes the role of both a father figure and teacher, even letting Radio attend his high school classes alongside officially registered students.

There always has to be a naysayer however, and in this case it is Johnny (Riley Smith), a typical jock who hates Radio merely because he is different and (perhaps) steals some of the player's time in spotlight. Johnny rallies his father, town big shot and banker Frank (Chris Mulkey) to rid the team of James, claiming that his presence is a distraction for other players. Frank's opinion holds some weight, since he is the head of the town's booster club, who supplies a weighty sum of money to the team. Radio also faces opposition from high school administrators, unsure if his presence is acceptable on their campus or if he should be allowed to attend Coach Jones' classes at all.

Thankfully Radio continues to overcome these petty obstacles placed in front of him. Similarly inspiring, Coach Jones continues to volunteer his days and nights to his new friend, taking away from precious family time to do so. His wife and daughter understand the importance of their father's work however, and eventually ´┐Ż Radio becomes a part of the family in his own right.

Radio's soundtrack features plenty of recognizable 70s tunes by artists like Stevie Wonder, The Isley Brothers, India Arie, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. The picture was a commercial success, earning over $52 million internationally. It is based upon the real life story of James Robert Kennedy.

Showing On: MAX

Year: 2003

Duration: 109 minutes

Genre: Drama, Sport

Starring:

Cuba Gooding Jr.

Ed Harris

Debra Winger

Alfre Woodard

S. Epatha Merkerson

Riley Smith

Sarah Drew

Director: Mike Tollin

Rating: Rated PG for explicit language and thematic elements.