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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 7.41%
Average: 5.56%
Pretty Bad: 3.7%
Total Crap: 7.41%

3 reviews, 36 user ratings

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He Got Game
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by PyThomas

"Spike's best joint since Do The Right Thing."
5 stars

Spike Lee probably doesn't care for an Oscar. But with He Got Game, he's made a film that should at least be considered for the big prize.

Ray Allen, Milwaukee Buck, plays the lead character Jesus Shuttlesworth. He led his high school basketball team to championship victory, and that's got all the big-shot college recruiters gathering around his Coney Island neighborhood. The Governor of New York has taken notice of this hoop prodigy as well, and has enlisted Jesus' father, Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel Washington), to persuade his son to sign with the governor's alma mater, Big State University. Jake, in prison for accidentally killing his wife, gets an unofficial furlough to take care of business.

It's not going to be an easy task. Jesus has all but disowned his father for what he did to mom, and he and his family are up to their necks in agents and sweet deals. Jesus' uncle test-drives a luxury car, Jesus' girlfriend humps an agent to give him the upper hand, and the pressure to decide comes from all sides. Against all this, Jake knows he has a chance to crack the hard wall that Jesus built against him, since he was the one that first showed his little boy how to play B-ball.

The music is an interesting blend of classical Aaron Copland and ballsy Public Enemy rap. The story is compelling, finely knitting the pressure of being the #1 college recruiting prize with the tense drama of a dysfunctional family trying to heal itself, and culminating in a one-on-one father vs. son matchup. A side plot involving Jake and a prostitute (Milla Jovovich) doesn't really add to the story and seems to take up space. Still, He Got Game is one hoop-dreams film that hits home with a vengeance.

Spike deserves an Oscar for this... whether he'll accept it is another issue.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 08/17/98 09:01:47
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User Comments

8/25/20 morris campbell not bad 4 stars
8/25/09 Jeff Wilder Entertaining and emotionally affecting look at the humanity behind the sport. 4 stars
11/26/08 killer mindblowing 5 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner Amazing Storyline. 5 stars
5/19/08 jointz People who gave this 1-star were clearly smoking crack like the ones in Big Time's speech 5 stars
6/20/07 fools♫gold Of course I consider myself a man. The dreamlike quality truly gone right. 100% 5 stars
4/01/06 Tanya Denzel was great, Spike always makes you think 5 stars
3/23/06 Seanboy A Lee Joint, thru and thru, Denzel is astonishing here 5 stars
10/07/05 jamie-lee I love the show 5 stars
10/07/05 Ryan Im sorry bout the previous comment cause ive always been such a girl. I nailed my mom 2 5 stars
2/05/05 axe Spike's got mad love for the game, no doubt of it's beauty. 4 stars
8/06/04 Anthony G Great movie 5 stars
1/17/04 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) Like most Spike Lee films, it's really insightful & emotionally involving. 5 stars
7/17/03 Hey Wat NOw? Good Job Spike, My FAvourite Film, Denzel shoulda won a oscar for dat, da music woz tight 5 stars
12/30/02 Femme_Fataleaa Pretty damn fantastic! Go Denzel! He's got GAME. 5 stars
8/19/01 Edwin Menguin Great looking film, Ray Allen's acting the only slight drawback, Denzel=Spot On 5 stars
7/29/01 JesseL Why does a great talent like Denzel keep teaming with a hack like Spike Lee? 1 stars
4/13/01 jamie-lee bad 2 stars
8/04/00 Jake I want those black guys. 1 stars
4/24/00 Ryan too annoying... ulgy guys too 1 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Absolutely brilliant! Can Spike put a foot wrong??? 5 stars
6/15/99 Daddy Rich One of the best films I have ever seen. A great story and movie. This is what's real. 5 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson Monopoly, now there's game. 3 stars
2/24/99 Scott One of the best films I saw that year 5 stars
2/19/99 Piz great potential but gives in to predictability and Lee's reverse racism. 3 stars
2/03/99 Michelle Me Belle This has to be the second crappiest movie of all time! Pussy-assed characters. 1 stars
12/15/98 Binky A decent movie. Spike's coming back. 5 stars
12/09/98 Shadow Raider Awesome movie. I love that song. Great story and plot. Behold! 5 stars
10/18/98 Kwyjibo Is Spike getting back to making great movies? Seems to be. 5 stars
10/15/98 Bluntman Awesome biblical metophors give this movie raw power 5 stars
10/10/98 Maegs Made me realize the tremendous pressures being heaped on these boys. Awesome. 5 stars
9/24/98 Milhouse Faqw Another classic from Do The Right Thing Man. 5 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Ray Allen is a horsey's patoot. But he get's laid more than me. Not bad. 4 stars
8/23/98 Mister Whoopee It was no Do The Right Thing. M-m-m-m-m-MOO-KIE! 2 stars
8/23/98 Superfly Could've been better is Ray Allen wasn't such a bad actor. 3 stars
8/19/98 sean I agree with Tom ... except the ending sucked. Most overlooked movie this year. 5 stars
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  01-May-1998 (R)
  DVD: 02-Sep-2003



Directed by
  Spike Lee

Written by
  Spike Lee

  Denzel Washington
  Ray Allen
  Milla Jovovich
  Rosario Dawson
  Hill Harper
  Zelda Harris

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