He Got Game

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Overview

Denzel Washington and writer-director Spike Lee team for the third time with this contemporary basketball drama focusing on a promising athlete, the son of a convict-father. Jake Shuttlesworth Denzel Washington has been in prison for six years when tough prison-warden Wyatt Ned Beatty tells him that he's getting a temporary parole with the promise of a commuted sentence. However, there's a trade-off -- Jake must talk his son, Jesus Shuttlesworth NBA star Ray Allen of the Milwaukee Bucks, the top-ranked ...
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Overview

Denzel Washington and writer-director Spike Lee team for the third time with this contemporary basketball drama focusing on a promising athlete, the son of a convict-father. Jake Shuttlesworth Denzel Washington has been in prison for six years when tough prison-warden Wyatt Ned Beatty tells him that he's getting a temporary parole with the promise of a commuted sentence. However, there's a trade-off -- Jake must talk his son, Jesus Shuttlesworth NBA star Ray Allen of the Milwaukee Bucks, the top-ranked high-school basketball player in the country, into signing with the governor's alma mater, Big State. A flashback makes it clear that Jesus' mother Lonette McKee was accidentally killed by Jake during a violent family fight. After Jake went to prison, the resentful Jesus was left alone to raise his sister Mary Zelda Harris. Now several colleges are offering Jesus scholarships, and montages satirize the manner in which young athletes are wooed by educators and coaches across the country. However, Jake will soon be back behind bars if he can't get Jesus to sign with Big State within the week. Meanwhile, the greed of other family members begins to surface. John Turturro is seen in a cameo as Coach Billy Sunday, and several real-life coaches can also be spotted in this movie. Music by Aaron Copland 1900-1990 with songs by Public Enemy.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
After laughable big-screen forays by Shaquille O'Neal and Dennis Rodman, it may come as a surprise that there are professional basketball players who can actually act. One such diamond in the rough is Ray Allen, who came out of nowhere to be the heart and soul of He Got Game, Spike Lee's first film about his favorite sport. Allen's flawless performance as a Brooklyn high-school prodigy at the center of a maelstrom of attention and expectations is just one of the astonishing things about Lee's triumphant film. Another is Denzel Washington, whose Jake Shuttlesworth lands in the unenviable position of trying to sweet-talk his estranged son, Jesus (Allen), who blames Jake for the death of his mother. The gifted actor knows just how to walk the thin line between menace and sympathy in portraying the flawed convict who nearly broke his son's spirit trying to perfect the young boy's game. At its core, Lee's film is a poetic homage to hoops (check out the loving opening credits montage) and an examination of the complexity of family relations. But it's sharpest -- and indeed quite funny -- when it dissects the interwoven web of coaches, agents, women, and tenuous acquaintances who are just chomping at the bit to exploit these star players. Jesus' opportunities come so fast and furious that it takes intense will power to avoid the kind of slip-ups that could cost him his eligibility, and quite possibly, a promising NBA career. As ever, Lee's film is enhanced by a strong soundtrack, especially Public Enemy's memorable update of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/3/1999
  • UPC: 786936066937
  • Original Release: 1998
  • Rating:

  • Source: Walt Disney Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Denzel Washington Jake Shuttlesworth
Ray Allen Jesus Shuttlesworth
Milla Jovovich Dakota Burns
Rosario Dawson Lala Bonilla
Hill Harper Coleman (Bogger) Sykes
Zelda Harris Mary Shuttlesworth
Jim Brown Spivey
Joseph Lyle Taylor Crudup
Ned Beatty Warden Wyatt
Bill Nunn Uncle Bubba
Michele Shay Aunt Sally
Thomas Jefferson Byrd Sweetness
Lonette McKee Martha Shuttlesworth
John Turturro Coach Billy Sunday
Jennifer Esposito
Kim Director Lynn
Roger Guenveur Smith Big Time Willie
Technical Credits
Spike Lee Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Randall Balsmeyer Special Effects Supervisor
Barry Alexander Brown Editor
Allan Byer Sound/Sound Designer
Carolyn Cartwright Set Decoration/Design
Aisha Coley Casting
Mike Ellis Asst. Director
Sandra Hernandez Costumes/Costume Designer
Jon Kilik Producer
Mathew Price Sound/Sound Designer
Public Enemy Songwriter
Malik Hassan Sayeed Cinematographer
David Stein Art Director
Alex Steyermark Musical Direction/Supervision
Wynn P. Thomas Production Designer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I'm not a big Spike Lee fan so it surprised me when I watched th

    I'm not a big Spike Lee fan so it surprised me when I watched this movie and actually was able to place it in the category of my favorites. As a basketball player I try and give all basketball movies a chance and this definitely exceeded my expectations, Good movie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    he got game to be classic

    you havet seen a movie until you have seen a spike lee movie and he goity game is a great movie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Game, that's real!

    I really enjoyed this movie, and I'm surprised no one has commented on it yet. If you haven't seen it, go rent it or buy it even. This is my favorite Spike Lee joint, considering he isn't anywhere close to one of my favorite directors. Denzel delivers a terrific performance as a convicted murderer who is given a second chance at freedom. Ray Allen, who is a player in the NBA, also does a good job, considering he isn't an actor. The story is very captivating and the direction is awesome. I love this movie, thinking about it makes me want to watch it again. We see first hand the pressures that a star high school basketball player faces as well as what it would be like to a convicted felon. Enjoy!

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews