One of the special joys of being a movie aficionado, is seeing movies I might otherwise skip because I have received a free pass. This is one of those instances. I really enjoyed "Pride." In my opinion, Terrence Howard is a terrific actor, or at least he has been in the movies I have seen; although I felt his pain more acutely in "Crash" than I did in "Hustle and Flow."

This is based on the real-life tale of a fellow named Jim Ellis who was a failed competitive swimmer. Not failed because of his abilities, but because of the cruel racism we cringe to watch (indicative of the time, 1972/73) and the response of the people who should have been on his side. At his wit's end, he finally lands a job with the Philadelphia Department of Recreation clearing out a defunct community center prior to its demolition.

He immediately antagonizes the live-in janitor/caretaker, played by Bernie Mac ("Ocean's" franchise and "Kings of Comedy") but discovers an abandoned swimming pool in the all but abandoned facility. As he sorts, stacks, scrubs and sweats, he also cleans up the pool. After observing the ragtag gang of teenage boys who play "pretend" basketball (the hoops have been removed by the PDR in anticipation of closing the center), he lures them in to swim in the pool.

Naturally they resist any attempt on his part to exert any authority or accept his expertise about swimming, but bit by bit, he wins them over. As his gang improves, he finally lands an opportunity to compete against his old nemesis, a coach played with disconcerting believability by Tom Arnold ("True Lies" and "Happy Endings"). Naturally, his team scorns the "fag" swimming trunks he expects them to wear and they view the entire competition as a lark. Once they have been soundly trounced and humiliated, Jim Ellis starts his real work. As we all know, getting there is half the fun.

As a side note, Jim Ellis is personally responsible for an impressive number of youngsters obtaining college scholarships for swimming and continues his excellent and inspiring work for the Philadelphia Department of Recreation.

Yup, I liked it.