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The wonderful world of sports films pt. 2

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So everyone enjoyed the baseball thread. But here's the secret - basketball films are also good, too !

"I Love You Guys"

...so said Gene Hackman in the greatest sports film ever all the time in the milky way (well, at least in my opinion), Hoosiers. Now, y'see, there's a slight problem with the modern basketball films for the ghetto-culture impaired pasty white boys like me...sooner or later, shizzles, nizzles, pimps & hoz start flying around and I feel like a little lamb lost. But Hoosiers, the remarkable story of a highschool team from Hicksville, IN which wins the state title is something all the unathletic pale brothers can relate to. There is no "pimp talk", the movie is set in the 50s, there are no raping athletes, there are no raunchy cheerleaders, there is no narcotic abuse - it's the tale of basketball as God intended it to be (the last part of this sentence sounds like a part from the KKK speech...God, it's difficult to be European and cater to the PC americans, people are really more laid back here and would understand me without such daft disclaimers...oh well). Gene Hackman excels as the stern coach who got reprimanded earlier for being too stern, but the show-stealer is Dennis Hopper who plays the town drunk who is also a very knowledgable basketball nut. The bloke who plays Jimmy Chitwood gave up acting long ago and is now a semi-pro golfer from what I read, but just look the boy play...I mean, he could have cut it in the pros. Really. And the final scenes ? Hair-raising. The epilogue, in which you see a kid shooting hoops in an empty gym with the camera zooming slowly at the championship team photo which is hanging on the wall (man, I surprise myself sometimes with the lengths of my sentences) brings tears to your eyes. "I love you guys". *sniff*

For the superbly politically correct of you who thought that the above post was a diminishing of the negro culture, I'd like to announce I'm as much racist as mother Theresa was. Hence, here's the lowdown on a couple of ghetto-culture hoops films I really liked. He Got Game is in my opinion masterful. This one has pimp talk, raunchy cheerleaders, narcotic abuse, abortions et al - but it portrays them in not so gleamingly positive life. Director Spike Lee tried to scratch the surface of the modern basketball establishment and, for my account, succeeded. Plus points for a terrific performance by Ray Allen (of Seattle Sonics), and minus points for the mere appearance of Rick Fox, the biggest douchebag to ever play in the NBA. It really hammers the point home though.

Blue Chips is another attempt to show the audience how sorry and corrupt the world of basketball really is when you remove all the glamour. Nick Nolte is a veteran coach of college basketball who, after his first losing season in xx years, decides to "close his eyes" and let his university play dirty during recruitment. A rather good film in my opinion, with pretty decent performance thrown in by Shaquille O'Neil, which goes progressively moralistic along the way...it does end satisfactory though. Above the Rim is another one of those, and another fine film. A story about the promising highschool basketball player (what, again ?) and his way of life in the rough neighbourhoods...okay performance by the late Tupac Shakur (for the record, I'm pretty sure he's still alive, but hey). And then there's Hoop Dreams, a fascinating documentary about two youths growing up in Chicago and having dreams of NBA stardom.

So enough with all the doom and gloom. There's more to this genre than just somber films about the shady things happening behind this great sport. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh is a hilarious late 70s comedy about the ailing basketball team which folds, only to get back on its feet again by recruiting a bunch of no-hopers who all have the astrological sign of pisces...per advice of the local Mystic Meg ! Dr. J stars in this silly fare, which should greenlight a rental if you ever come across it in your video stores. Celtic Pride is another comedy with basketball motives, this time about two New England Celtics diehards (Dan Aykroyd and Daniel Stern, whose characters are appropriately stereotype named "O'Hara" and "Flaherty") who kidnap Utah Jazz's star player in order to prevent them from winning the NBA finals. Eddie is a comedy of a passionate Knicks fan (Whoopi Goldberg) who gets to coach her favourite team for one season, trying to block the evil owners to move it to Texas. Goldberg is fun as usual, but REAL fun are NBA pros Dwayne Schintzius, Greg Ostertag and John "Spider" Salley. And Olden Polynice has one HELLA funny line, but again, big minus for the Douchebag Fox being in it. Then, we have White Men Can't Jump, a fine comedy about two streetball hustlers played by Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes, and The Air up There, with Kevin Bacon playing a scout who goes to Africa to discover new talents.

And yes, I intentionally ignored (this time for real!) Space Jam and Like Mike. And I also probably forgot a pile of other hoops films, but as usual, that's open to other discussion.

Personal top 3 :

1. Hoosiers
2. He Got Game
3. Hoop Dreams

Honourable mention : Blue Chips


PS. The terms such as "ghetto" and all the gentle poking at the "pasty white boy" image are all used in good fun. If anyone, however, objects to the usage of words in this post, I will be more than happy to remove them and/or replace them with something they would find more appropriate. Thanks for reading.
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So you're telling me nobody likes basketball ? Aw, man !



Registered User
I haven't even heard of the three movies you mentioned, however after reading your synopsis for each of them I am tempted to go out and find them, if they are available over here in the UK. The only basketball movies I recall watching are White Men Can't Jump and Teenwolf.



Originally Posted by DeMoN
I haven't even heard of the three movies you mentioned, however after reading your synopsis for each of them I am tempted to go out and find them, if they are available over here in the UK. The only basketball movies I recall watching are White Men Can't Jump and Teenwolf.
No worries, next sports films topic will be about footie , both versions of it

Hoosiers should be seen though.



Put me in your pocket...
I'm not really a basketball fan and haven't seen any of the movies you posted Milos. Sorry.

But...one movie that that I loved that had basketball as part of the story was Finding Forrester (2000). Does that count?



It counts in a way, yes.

You should really see Hoosiers though. You might learn to like basketball after that film, because it presents the game pure and clean as it once was...and it's very emotional. Gene Hackman and Hopper are excellent as well.



Originally Posted by Mairosu
And yes, I intentionally ignored (this time for real!) Space Jam and Like Mike. And I also probably forgot a pile of other hoops films, but as usual, that's open to other discussion.
you either forgot or ignored that movie with the basketball-playing dog. i'm pretty sure it exists and i didnt just make it up. shame on you.



Out of all that lot I only recall seeing 'Celtic Pride'. Having watched it recently.

Wasn't all that impressed.


I'm sure I've seen more basketball films once upon a time (WhiteMenCantJump/SpaceJam apart), but they are clogged up somewhere in the resesses of my brain so I doubt they were all that impressive. Come to mention it neither was SpaceJam.

I'll be sure to track down the others mentioned.


Now the next topic football......... That's another matter.
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Originally Posted by linespalsy
you either forgot or ignored that movie with the basketball-playing dog. i'm pretty sure it exists and i didnt just make it up. shame on you.
Air Bud.

Ugh.



Shake well before opening.
i think most sports movies suck. Hoosiers was good, remember the titans, the replacements was mildly entertaining but most sport movies arent good at all. Any given sunday? the only good scene was Al Pacino's speech at the end and the rest was just football players showering. But space jam will always remain close to my heart, any movie that can incorporate bill murhay and newman from seinfield in the same movie deserves lots and lots of free sex.



Originally Posted by FIVEDOUBLE6321
i think most sports movies suck. Hoosiers was good, remember the titans, the replacements was mildly entertaining but most sport movies arent good at all. Any given sunday? the only good scene was Al Pacino's speech at the end and the rest was just football players showering. But space jam will always remain close to my heart, any movie that can incorporate bill murhay and newman from seinfield in the same movie deserves lots and lots of free sex.
Remember the Titans was godawful. Worst case of Hollywood sugarcoating ever.

Thank you, Disney.