Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam and his assassination.
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
For the scene where Jesus and Jake play for the letter of intent, the original script called for Jesus to win 15-0. However, Spike Lee encouraged the actors to play for real. The scene in the film reflects the actual game between Ray Allen and Denzel Washington. See more »
I pray you understand why I pushed you so hard! It was only to get you to that next level, Son. I mean, you's the first Shuttlesworth that's ever gonna make it out of these projects, and I was the one who who put the ball in your hand, Son! I put the ball in your crib!
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Fantastic performance by Washington in film that doesn't quite support him
I had to remind myself several times Denzel Washington was an actor and that he was playing a character named Jake Shuttlesworth--his performance is that good. I'd give him the Academy Award for Best Actor. I'm serious--he's amazing. In terms of the film, it isn't quite good enough to support his performance. (We are expected to believe there's no one looking out for Jesus [everyone in the film has an ulterior motive], and Jesus himself is too much of a saint.) Definitely worth watching, though--any Spike Lee film usually is. But I'm annoyed at Lee: he's too good a director to insert the MTV-style shots in this film. Unlike so many who have tried to cover basketball before, however, Lee knows the game. This gives (the all-white) Hoosiers a run for its money as the best basketball film of course, there isn't much competition.
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