Friday, September 18, 2009

AD&AM Go to the Movies: He Got Game

Movie: He Got Game

Starring: Ray Allen (yes, the basketball player), Denzel Washington, Rosario Dawson (young version, but still FINE), Jim Brown (yes, the football player) "Radio" from "Do the Right Thing," Milla Jovovich

Plot: Jesus Shuttlesworth (Allen) is the top high school basketball player in the country, but with the deadline to sign with a college less than a week away, Jesus has yet to choose one. Meanwhile, everyone, his family, coach, friend, and girlfriend, has an opinion of what he should do. If that wasn't enough, Jesus's dad, Jake (Washington), who is in prison for the accidental murder of his wife (Jesus's mom) is temporarily released from jail on a "work-release" program. Turns out, the governor happens to be a big college basketball fan and wants Jesus to attend his alma mater, the fictional Big State University. Jake has a week to persuade his son to attend Big State, if he does, he will reduce Jake's sentence substantially.

Reaction: I saw this movie in the theater when it first came out, but watching it some 10 years later, gives me a different perspective on it. The movie deals with three main themes, basketball, celebrity, and the relationship between a father and son. Though the movie revolves around basketball, there's not a lot of it in the movie, save for a pickup game, and the climactic scene between Jake and Jesus. Every kid dreams of one day making it big in sports, and Jesus is on the verge, but that glamooruous life doesn't look as appealing. Everybody wants something from Jesus, even if it's just to rub elbows with him, and it's hard for Jesus to weed out who's really there for him, and who just wants things from him. Denzel is terrific as Jake, but it was hard for me to get past the fact that it was Ray Allen the basketball player, acting, even though the basketball scenes are that much better because he's an actual professional basketball player. The subplot of Jake courting a prostitue (Jovovich) is also unnecessary.

Rating: Though the move can drag at times, the climactic basketball game scene with Jake ands Jesus, as well as Jesus's recruting visit with friends Jill and Chasey make this movie worht it alone. good times. Weird subplot and Ray Allen dock it though. "He Got Game" gets 3 quarters and a nickel, for 80 cents.


Alyson said...

Like you, I saw this movie when it came out in theaters 10 years ago. Though, I haven't seen it since and don't remember it very well.

I was researching something a year back that related to father-son tensions and the scene in this movie came up. Where Jesus and Jake play basketball. I don't recall the scene, but the book was making the case that all fathers fear that specific moment where their son becomes physically superior and the role of the dominant male in the family is in question, for the first time. The author argued that, in that moment, the full power rests in the hands of the son to either accept or reject that new role.

Not having a vivid memory of he scene and coming from a family of all girls I don't relate to that on a personal level, but it has always made me want to go back and rewatch the movie - but never had the chance.

Stan said...

Wow, no idea Ray Allen had a movie. Well, I was told about it before, but I kind of forgot and never looked it up. Seems interesting, I'll give it a try.

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