It will forever be the model Indiana basketball movie. Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) ruffles feathers as Hickory’s new basketball coach teaching the basics of the game. The small farm town’s best player, Jimmy Chitwood, holds out playing but finally joins the team so long as Dale stays, and the seven-man unit flows toward its championship goals. Hoosiers set the plan for the classic motivational speech: if you play hard, you’re winners, regardless of the scoreboard.
Nick Nolte stars Blue Chips giving off his best Bobby Knight impersonation, throwing water coolers and spitting angry. His average team has finished with a losing season, the supposed consequence of having a clean program. To get his reputation, dignity, and libido back, the ball coach does some illegal recruiting and lands some NBA-like talent, such as Orlando Magic teammates Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway. William Friedkin’s film remains particularly prescient about the sleazy underbelly of collegiate boosters and the perpetual temptations players and coaches have to navigate every day.
He Got Game
This Spike Lee Joint wraps every temptation and affliction for a #1 high school basketball prospect into the last week of his college commitment. The inspired choice to use Ray Allen as Coney Island great Jesus Shuttlesworth works its best close to the film’s climax during a one-on-one session with his overbearing father, Jake (Denzel Washington).
Love and Basketball
All is fair in love and basketball” is perhaps the only trite moment spoken in Gina Prince-Blythewood’s directorial debut. This typical courtship between Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) starts and ends on the asphalt, where feelings and flirtation are translated through their one-on-one matchups. Love and Basketball don’t accentuate the big game or final shot. It’s more concerned with the lessons gathered long after the buzzer sounds
White Men Can’t Jump
Despite the fact that both Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes are well under six feet, their confidence and trash-talking bravura more than make-up for their height challenge. The pair of Venice Beach hustlers start as foes and realize the dollar gains to be made off “chumps,” the harshest street ball diss, who stereotype skin color and must pay for it later.