Welcome to our second on-going series of the season; This is America. America can be defined so many ways… through its people, through its ideals, through its politics, how others view us. Here in this series we are defining America through forgotten or in some case not-so-forgotten Films. These 12 films showcase the very best and sometimes the very worst of America. Light the sparklers and fire up the BBQ because we’re about to have some very interesting Podcasts.
America’s Sport isn’t Baseball. Keep on telling yourself that Mom and Dad. Keep shoveling baseball down kid’s throats. If you want honesty; your kids don’t care about baseball. They don’t care about football. They care about Basketball. We are here again with the first of two Spike Lee Joints, this time taking on Basketball and many other American institutions. Not just the two institutions we typically associate with Basketball the NCAA and NBA (both of which are discussed here), but many of our famous storied American Institutions such as Prison, Families, Fame, Greed, Corruption. He Got Game has only grown more and more prescient with the critical investigation into the NCAA and their Basketball programs and corruption within. Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen) is in the final days before he must commit to playing for a college program. The number one prospect in the nation, everyone is vying for his commitment. That includes the Governor and Warden (Ned Beatty) of the Prison his father Jake (Denzel Washington) is serving time for killing Jesus’ mother. Jake is given one week to pull off the impossible; have Jesus commit to playing at the Governor’s alma matter Big State University. If he does, his sentence is reduced to time served. If not, it is back to prison to serve out the rest of his twenty five year sentence. If Jake’s task were only as easy as getting Jesus to commit to playing basketball for Big State University. The grand canyons of divides between Jesus and Jake, the ability to commit to the NBA draft, an Uncle (Bill Nunn) who’s cared for Jesus, a Girlfriend (Rosario Dawson) with designed on her and Jesus being forever-ever all push against what is ultimately Jesus’s decision and his alone. Lee understands the dynamics of players, life, agency, family, money better than anyone making possibly the best Basketball movie ever. Lee also understands the film has been built up to a one-on-one showdown between father and son. In his hands it’s an epic battle for the ages.
Year Released: 1998
Director(s): Spike Lee
Writer(s): Spike Lee
Cast: Denzel Washington, Ray Allen, Milla Jovovich, John Turturro, Rosario Dawson, Jim Brown, Joseph Lyle Taylor, Hill Harper, Zelda Harris, Ned Beatty, Bill Nunn, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Roger Guenveur Smith, Lonette McKee, Travis Best, Walter McCarty, Kim Director, John Wallace, Rick Fox, Leonard Roberts, Jennifer Esposito, Chasey Lain, Jill Kelly, Al Palagonia