6.9/10
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112 user 47 critic

He Got Game (1998)

R | | Drama, Sport | 1 May 1998 (USA)
A basketball player's father must try to convince him to go to a college so he can get a shorter sentence.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dakota Burns
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Lala Bonilla
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Coleman 'Booger' Sykes
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Warden Wyatt
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Spivey
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Crudup
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Uncle Bubba
Michele Shay ...
Aunt Sally
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Big Time Willie
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Coach Billy Sunday
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Martha Shuttlesworth
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Storyline

Tells the story of Jesus Shuttlesworth, the most sought after high school basketball prospect in the nation. Jesus and his dream to make it to the big ranks in professional basketball are overshadowed by his father, Jake, who is spending his life in prison for killing Jesus' mother. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A father's freedom depends on his son's choice. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, strong sexuality, some drug content and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 May 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tudo em Jogo  »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,610,663 (USA) (1 May 1998)

Gross:

$21,554,585 (USA) (24 July 1998)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ray Allen and Spike Lee have had conversations about having a de facto sequel to this film, with Allen saying he would envision Jesus Shuttlesworth nearing the end of a successful pro career (much like Allen himself). As part of his expression of interest in such a project, when Miami Heat players were allowed to wear special jerseys with nicknames or initials as part of an NBA promotion, Allen's jersey said "J. Shuttlesworth" on the back--an image Spike Lee immediately and happily posted to Instagram. See more »

Goofs

At first while D'Andre is touching Lala's neck, he's not wearing any ring - next scene he's wearing a silver ring on his ring finger. See more »

Quotes

Big Time Willie: Do you know how to spell pussy?
Coleman 'Booger' Sykes: I know! P-U...
Big Time Willie: ...H-I-V.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kyle XY: Kyle Got Game (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Politics of the Sneaker Pimps
Written by Chuck D. (as Chuck D) and Gary G-Wiz
Performed by Public Enemy
Produced by Gary G-Wiz
Public Enemy appears courtesy of Def Jam Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Flawed but always interesting
13 July 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Jesus Shuttlesworth is the number one hope for college basketball and has offers from colleges and sports agents ringing non-stop. His father is in jail for the manslaughter of his wife but is allowed out by the Governor for 4 days with a promise of further leniency if he can convince his son to go to Big State University. However Jesus has never forgiven him and this pressure, on top of everything else, is the last thing he needs.

I'm never too sure what I'm going to take away from this film each time I watch it, as it does tend to try and cover a lot of ground. Is the film about father/son relationship? Is it about the commercialisation of school sports? Or pressure on young athletes? It's hard to be sure and I'm not sure that Lee is totally sure either. As such it often leaves me searching for an adequate way to summarise what I just watched. Regardless I do feel that the film manages to cover a lot of bases well. The stuff about the sports system is well worked without ramming down your throat – the exaggeration (or is it?) of the characters and scenarios is good and makes for good satire of sorts.

The central relationship between Jake and Jesus is also worked well through several key scenes throughout the film. It leaves questions open during the film and at the end, but I guess there aren't always answers for everything and that's the way it is. The dynamic between the two is good though and it makes for an interesting plot – even though it does often feel like a subplot behind the basketball stuff. Other bits of the film don't fare as well. The two romantic strands are not as good as they should be – certainly Jake's scenes with Dakota are less than inspiring.

The cast are all pretty good. Allen does OK but occasionally looks out of his depth with the talented cast. The array of basketball players and associates all add colour whether as themselves or playing characters. Washington carries the majority of the film and shows his ability in a difficult role – he became the heart of the film for me even though I'm sure the intention was for that to be Jesus. Dawson plays well despite being eye candy for the majority, she does have better scenes near the end of the film. The support cast have a few Lee regulars including an amusing Turturro, a convincing Palagonia and a blink and you'll miss her Jennifer Esposito.

Overall this is not a perfect film as it overstretches itself a little and doesn't manage to deal with everything as well as it could have done. Ironically the overstretching is also a plus point as, every time I watch it, it gives me something else to concentrate on. Not Lee's finest work but a good film about his other passion with plenty of other stuff thrown in behind it.


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