Usually, when someone in a movie theater full of high school kids says “Turn your cell phone ringers off,” it’s viewed by the audience as at best a polite suggestion, and at worst as some sort of ridiculous joke. But no cell phones interrupted last night’s advance screening of The Express: The Ernie Davis Story. Maybe it’s because the guy issuing the instruction was six and a half feet tall and 244 pounds, or maybe it’s just because he was Jason Taylor.
Taylor isn’t taking on a side job as he recovers from his recent surgery; the screening was part of the Jason Taylor Foundation’s “Big Screens-Big Dreams” program. The program is another that Taylor has had success with in Florida — he shows films designed to “inspire and motivate” young people and speaks to the group before and after the film.
Joining Taylor at the screening was the star of the film, Rob Brown, who had flown back from Los Angeles just to accommodate Taylor’s request — and this despite being an avowed fan of the New York Giants.
The movie tells the story of Ernie Davis, the Syracuse University running back who became the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Davis had been on the verge of becoming one of those unjustly forgotten heroes of American sports, and the film was made largely to prevent that from happening.
“I played college football,” said Brown, introducing the film to the crowd (almost all of whom were high school football players), “and I was surprised that I didn’t know about Ernie, seeing that a lot of his work led to me being successful as a black man on a college campus. I’m just happy the film is [coming] out now so people will know his story, much like people know Jackie Robinson’s story even though most people in the room, myself included, aren’t old enough to remember him.”
Taylor concurred. “For Ernie Davis to come in and overcome the things he had to overcome, it really set the stage for us nowadays – for me as a professional athlete and for you as high school athletes. And not just in athletics, but in life.”
There are SPOILERS for The Express — or at least the life of Ernie Davis — after the jump. If you’re excited for the movie and want to go in knowing nothing about Davis, you might want to quit now. You’ve been warned.
Filed under: Media, Week 4 | Tagged: Jason Taylor, movie reviews | 5 Comments »